Shopper Marketing Marches On

Big business marketing never rests, never stops, always grows.

The latest Advertising Age reports on the ongoing expansion and refinement of what’s called “shopper marketing,” the effort to study, analyze, and reshape people’s in-store behaviors.

Currently an $18-billion-a-year branch of corporate marketing in the United States, “shopper marketing” is growing by more than 20 percent a year, Ad Age reports.

Since it’s one of the newest of marketing’s tentacles, it is still far from maturity:

The problem, according to Jon Kramer, CMO at Alliance Sales & Marketing, is that retailers and manufacturers don’t exactly have shopper marketing down to a science yet. “It’s the wild, wild West right now in terms of how you define shopper insights and how you turn those into action,” he said.

Andy Murray, worldwide CEO, Saatchi X, said that now is the time for retailers and manufacturers to be testing and learning. They won’t be done, he said, until they can mirror experiences like those on Amazon, which suggests complimentary purchases for every item put in the shopping cart.

Orwell’s Big Brother would be jealous of some of the new “shopper marketing” techniques.

Take a look at this video clip of the work done by the “ShopperGauge” spy camera:

click image to go to ShopperGauge website

Ever think those springloaded gizmos that push supermarket and drug store items to the front of the shelf are there just to keep the shelves “fronted”?  If so, you were wrong:  “Product takeaway from the shelf or display is recorded by digital ‘pushers.'”


Cameras could be monitoring the time it takes to you browse the aisle and put that box of Mac ‘N Cheese in your cart. The purchase itself might have been driven by one of Kraft’s “mom cues” designed to tug your heartstrings in the store. Or your motivation may have been an idea from its iFood Assistant that you downloaded in the store. Researchers might later examine your purchase data and household information and pair it with economic models to determine that the store is only getting 10% of your package-dinner dollar — and look for ways to build that up.

And, of course, what exists is never good enough:

Much of the work being done to measure a consumer’s mood or emotional state has been focused on the shelf, based upon the shopper-marketing old mantra that some 70% of purchase decisions are made in store. But Mr. Hoyt argues that shopper marketing must start in the home, with digital entreaties that reach consumers while they’re making out shopping lists. It’s insulation for marketers from “the wavering hand,” as consumers eye lower-priced or sexier merchandise. But, he said, it has to continue all the way to the point of purchase.

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