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Picking through ideas with Saatchi & Saatchi on shopper behavior: Part I

Caution! Consumers and shoppers are not the same, warns Saatchi & Saatchi

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By Kacey Culliney+

19-Jun-2014
Last updated on 22-Jun-2014 at 06:20 GMT

Saatchi & Saatchi X VP of shopper psychology: 'The objective of consumer advertising is to get in the shopper’s consideration set. The objective of shopper marketing is to get into the kart.'
Saatchi & Saatchi X VP of shopper psychology: 'The objective of consumer advertising is to get in the shopper’s consideration set. The objective of shopper marketing is to get into the kart.'

Manufacturers must understand the difference between consumers and shoppers, tailoring marketing accordingly to secure purchases, says Saatchi & Saatchi X’s VP of shopper psychology.

The path to purchase of foods has evolved significantly over the past few years as online, mobile and social have provided consumers (and shoppers) with new platforms for product discovery and shopping. And in a fiercely competitive snacks sector, grabbing consumers’ attention and motivating purchase is more important than ever.

Dr Christopher Gray, vice president of shopper psychology at Saatchi & Saatchi X - a shopper marketing agency; part of Saatchi & Saatchi - said it was crucial to develop effective shopper marketing campaigns.

“Brands need to remember there is a very competitive environment out there when it comes to attracting a shopper, motivating their behavior and getting that purchase,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.

“So, it’s important as a first step to be very deliberate at how you’re handling your shopper communications and the retail experience.”

However, he said brands needed to understand that consumer and shopper mindsets were two very different things and therefore needed different communications.

“The objective of consumer advertising is to get in the shopper’s consideration set. The objective of shopper marketing is to get into the cart.”

When consumers shift into shopper mode, their needs are different, says Gray

Consumers ‘shift’ into shopper mode – that shift is significant… 

“A consumer is someone using products and they have a more passive set of needs. That’s where a commercial can come into play because it can get their attention at a moment of consumption and remind them of the brand or create a memory,” Gray explained.

However, consumers shifted into shopper mode when a need or opportunity arose – perhaps they ran out of chips at home, for example, he said. “Now, the consumer needs to be more active about how they’re thinking about the snacks category. They need to start asking questions like ‘what do I need?’, ‘where am I going to get this?’, ‘how am I going to evaluate the product?’ and ‘am I going to buy what I bought last time?’”

In shopper mode, people were much more active consumers of information, he explained. And so, industry needed to provide information differently to shoppers; in a way that would not only get their attention, but motivate them and connect them with products to secure a purchase, he said.

Gray said understanding the shopper was an added layer to understanding the consumer.

Shopper insights – marketing is behavioral-based 

Dr Christopher Gray, vice president of shopper psychology at Saatchi & Saatchi: 'For me as a psychologist, I look at shopper marketing as a behavioral science because our goal and the objectives we’re trying to accomplish are typically behavioral-based.'

When a consumer shifted into being a shopper, insights became crucial, he said. “For me as a psychologist, I look at shopper marketing as a behavioral science because our goal and the objectives we’re trying to accomplish are typically behavioral-based.”

It was about emotional and functional needs, aspirations and objectives, he said.

“We’ve got to understand what her or his trip is all about, what they’re looking for, how they’re evaluating products, the kinds of information they need, and there’s a whole wide range of information that could be influencing purchases.”

All of that seemed mundane, he said, but was critical in understanding purchasing behavior. “There’s a tremendous amount of activity happening both at a cognitive level, but also at an ‘outside of awareness’ level,” he explained.

‘One of the biggest mistakes I see brands make…’

Asked if industry had a grasp on the difference between a consumer and shopper, he said there was an increasing understanding but it remained an area of improvement.

Understanding shoppers is about emotional and functional needs, aspirations and objectives, Gray says

“One of the biggest mistakes I see brands make is simply taking their consumer tagline and putting it on a sign in-store or putting it on a package. Like I said, there are different types of information shoppers need. And so, understanding when we have a consumer message – what that looks like in a shopper environment – is critical. Now, there should be a thread – they should be connected – but how it’s delivered and the message itself might need a little nuance to make it more engaging from a shopper perspective,” he said.

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2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Scope of Improvement

Triggering of Shopper to Consumer depends upon product type. I have been working on Kinderjoy Brand for more than 5 years, Found Shopper (Their Moms) & Consumer (Their Kids), You can relate your communication to each other but can't isolate message to any specific. This is quite right that Shopper is the king in today's market with his persuasive needs which turns him into consumer.

Good to discuss

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Posted by Himanshu Lohia
22 July 2014 | 13h27

The Shopper and the Consumer can be a long way apart

This is entirely accurate and the subject of much detailed discussion. Whilst it is a complex area and should not be over simplified a couple of straight forward examples might help to illustrate the point. These cannot be claimed as original but consider… Dog food, the dog is the consumer and the owner the shopper. Unless the dog refuses to eat what has been purchased they have limited opportunity to influence what is bought. A similar situation exists with Baby food. The shopper and the consumer are a long way removed. The shopper is the person with the money and the ability to complete the transaction, a vital element I would suggest. As the article points out "understanding the shopper is added layer to understanding the consumer". So when I call into a supermarket late afternoon/early evening on a Friday (which can be a really busy time) I am the shopper; when I am sat at home later in the evening with my friends and family I am the consumer. My 'need state' is entirely different, it is therefore fundamental that in my path to purchase or actually at the point of purchase you appeal to me as a shopper if I am to buy your product. Shoppers react to experiences (both positive and negative), when brands engage with shoppers feelings and they are inspired, emotional connections are made and sales increase. Whilst this is increasingly better understood/believed and more examples appear to show that is the case, we see there is still a lot of room for improvement with opportunities to increase the impact of activations and delivery. Insight led solutions, particularly those that include measurement of 'shopper' effectiveness, proven elements of success.

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Posted by Chris Hayward
16 July 2014 | 19h33

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