What does it take to be ‘Shopper-Centric?’

This weeks blog is bought to you by our guest blogger Lisa Rees-Allen, Director of Consulting at Kantar Retail. Here at April5 Agency, we love working with Lisa and her team.  Their knowledge enables us to frame campaigns by using the latest research and insights.


Fact: 60- 80% of shoppers are decided BEFORE the shelf       

Shopper Marketing has been on the rise for the past few years, with leading FMCG companies increasing their marketing spend at the ‘first moment of truth’ to try and influence the sale; to influence the 70% of decisions that are said to be made there (note to reader –the actual statistic is more like 60- 80% of shoppers are decided BEFORE the shelf this clearly deserves another blog all to itself).

There is now a plethora of people focusing on the shopper, with whole departments set up and some companies now having ‘shopper’ represented on their operating boards. However, there are three issues that we often find, namely:


  1. The monies have invariably come from the traditional marketing pot and not the burgeoning trading budget. There has been little change in the conversation with the retailer over promotions, something a concentration on the shopper should afford. It is after all unassailable common ground between them both, that they can agree on and that both want to influence.
  2. This switch of monies has often led to the compensatory behaviour of having consumer messages and not shopper messages at the point-of-sale. Why? Well marketing often only agrees to the switch if their ad now lives at the point-of-sale. It builds equity after all, doesn’t it?
  3. Just as in the big switchover in titles from Market Research to Insight, that happened within the past decade but did not instantly make everyone more insightful, this current trend is not making everyone more shopper centric… yet.


So what needs to be done? We believe that you do need to embrace ‘shopper’ but by becoming truly shopper-centric. Becoming shopper-centric is a mindset, not just the rejigging of budgets. It is not the relabelling of sales promotion or customer marketing departments. Becoming shopper-centric requires a well thought-out strategy within a true context to change behaviour via the superb execution of a big idea, wherever it makes sense.

Importantly, shopper-centricity recognises that the shopper and consumer are different. Even if they are the same person they are motivated by different drivers and needs. In the same way that brand teams understand their consumer, we must have an intimate understanding of who the shopper is, their missions, where they shop, what they buy and why they do what they do, when they do it.

To help our clients understand what they need to become truly ‘shopper centric’ Kantar Retail has developed seven core competencies which we are incorporating into our brand activation campaigns. These are: