Are shoppers leaving their shopping lists at home when they go shopping? The latest findings from the POPAI 2012 Shopper Engagement Study seem to be suggesting that. Their latest research involving interviews and shopper eye tracking discovered that the in-store purchase decision rate has reached an all-time high of 76%, and that nearly 1 in 6 brand purchases are made when a display with that brand on it is present instore. They conclude that product and brand managers need to be using POP marketing to maintain their sales and marketshare.
What’s Happening with Today’s Consumer
Have you tried product resizing, bundling, coupons, volume discounts, and loyalty incentives? If these haven’t shown a good return, will creative POP display save the day for you? Can POP compensate for your product’s inherent brand and primary packaging weaknesses?
Why are shoppers making more decisions in-store? Are brands weakening? Are consumers bored with the major brands products? Are people buying more commodity type products these days? Are they having difficulty visualizing price and value when they’re at home writing their shopping list? Are manufacturer’s product-sizing strategies making price comparison more difficult? Or is in-store marketing and advertising that much better now?
Big retailers such as Loblaw, Sobey’s or Longos are engaged in severe pricing strategies because consumers are price conscious. Prices change so frequently that shoppers feel they can arrive at the stores anytime and find a bargain. Major brands and house brands do battle on the same shelves. Shoppers are shopping more frequently since more stores are available close to their neighbourhoods. They often aren’t shopping for huge amounts of groceries (in this instance) and can shop spontaneously without a list. Even if they do have a list, there is often one brand trying to outcompete another on price, but they won’t know what they’re purchase until they get to the retail store.
Some shoppers have smartphones and they’re able to check prices in other retail stores at that time. That just increases the instability of the consumers shopping habits forcing stores to do more to keep them at their store. That’s where POP comes in.
Packaged Granola Bars and Tea
A good case in point are two products I buy frequently, green tea and granola bars. I never know what the price of either of these products will be. The green tea product can differ $1.37 from visit to visit and the granola bars might differ by $1.67 per package from week to week. How can a consumer plan a shopping list knowing that prices vary so unpredictably? The vascillating price forces consumers to make decisions in the store. Another important factor is frequent stockouts. I must admit, stock outs are the worst.
The flat economy and consumer’s squeezed pocketbook is another key reason why shoppers are making purchase decisions right in the brand battleground. They have to find the best deals and assess brand’s frequently changing value propositions, in-store coupons, and absorb in-store pop display messages. The fact that companies are so creative and competitive now forces shoppers to work harder at shopping daily. Less money means they aren’t making big purchases, and instead they visit the local market when they need to. We’re moving away from formal shopping as it was defined in the 50’s and 60’s. Price competition is training consumers to expect the lowest prices and to be surprised by retailers every time they enter their stores.
Major surveys seemed not to ask consumers whether they were bored by shopping and products, or didn’t like it at all. The key to intelligent marketing today is to first understand the customer’s pain and understand more about how shoppers decide instore — part of shopper marketing.
If brands are unable to differentiate themselves because of competing brands that copy or erode their brand value proposition, then pricing strategies will increase. With pricing strategies comes reliance on product resizing to confuse the consumer. The goal — to encourage them to give up on value comparisons. So if you’ve gone down that road, your POP packaging strategies need to be top notch to deal with the low price nightmare.
Find out more about the POPAI 2012 Shopper Engagement Study.
Need expert advice on improving your POP Display sales strategy? Ravenshoe Packaging is a leading Canadian POP display design and fulfillment company offering complete end to end service.