Shopper marketing magic

Much is being written about shopper marketing, and it is time to apply the RetailSmart scalpel to a few myths.

Shopper marketing is not much more than good old trade marketing, albeit now with a fair mix of consumer behaviour thrown in. It won’t redefine retail marketing, but it will play an increasingly important role. (Shopper marketing budgets are said to be growing at over 20% per annum, whereas marketing budgets are flat or low single figures.)

It is still marketing, whichever way you look at it, and consumers are amazingly resistant to marketing.

They have found ways to avoid traditional efforts, and there is no reason to believe that it will be any different just because this is the ‘last yard’. An ad is still an ad, and placing it on a computerised shopping trolley does not make the consumer like it any more.

WalMart is commonly accepted to be the first serious practitioners, but there is a danger in simply accepting their principles and practices without careful consideration. They have the scale (with concomitant range and assortment) to experiment and to get a set of results that are not necessarily applicable to a smaller retailer.

I am not diminishing shopper marketing. (My personal qualifications in Consumer Behaviour show my predilection for this discipline and it so important that I consider my own organisation to be one of the leading proponents of shopper marketing practice.) The widely accepted ‘fact’ that 70% of purchases being made at the point-of-sale is now discredited and a recent study has arrived at a more realistic 39%. But even then I suspect that might contain large variations.

But shopper marketing is not a panacea and my advice would be to run far and run hard from any organisation that claims it (shopper marketing) will transform your business.

There are no magic bullets - for anything; just he grind of trial and error, and ocassionally a bit of luck.

I have found a great study by Deloitte, which is uploaded at if you want to grab it from there.