Anything, Anywhere, Anytime: Strategic shopper marketing, the revolution in retail, shopper behavior, and route-to-purchase.
The omni-shopper of "anything, anywhere, anytime" is revolutionizing retail and how shoppers buy. In combination with the digital revolution, producers and retailers alike are facing new and harsh competition. To meet these market challenges companies are refocusing their marketing efforts. Building great brands for consumers no longer suffices for success. Converting shoppers into buyers has become a key element for driving sales and market share. The shopper and their route-to-purchase has become a focal point when developing marketing strategies. In the more complex omni-channel environment, shopper marketing has become a strategic concern for companies.
In this new omni-channel reality of shoppers buying “anything, anywhere, anytime,” companies need to integrate their shopper-facing functions, such as marketing, sales, and logistics. To be successful, they need to connect their route-to-purchase with their route-to-market.
The key drivers behind this change are digital and technological development, consumer and shopper habits, and socio-political changes, fueled by a consumer-driven economy.
Shopper marketing has traditionally been associated with research to understand shopper behavior, combined with creative activation at the point of purchase. Due to its increasing association with other commercial departments for converting shoppers into buyers in a coherent and shopper-oriented manner, shopper marketing has become of strategic importance to companies. In its essence, shopper marketing needs to connect the shopper with the product or service, and ensure that the shopper can encounter the product or service “anyhow, anywhere.” That this encounter happens is the basis for generating revenues, a key success indicator for any profit-driven organization. Successful companies therefore need to develop shopper-oriented strategies in order to connect the route-to-purchase to the route-to-market.
While brand strategies can have a strong global focus, the shopper, their needs, and the different touchpoints are mainly local. Developing the route-to-purchase to direct the shopper toward the company’s products or services is therefore a local challenge. The route-to-purchase is transforming the understanding of the shopper journey into a strategy on how to optimize the conversion of shoppers into buyers. Without a consumer there is no shopper. Therefore consumer and shopper strategies need to be aligned and the difference in how consumers and shoppers connect with brands needs to be understood. When defining the route-to-purchase, both the process of how the shopper interacts with the brand and the drivers of conversion need to be analyzed and understood.
The starting point of any shopper journey must be based on the consumption needs and the potential solutions for the expected consumption occasion. Consumption worlds describe the occasions for which solutions are sought and the motivations driving consumption. Understanding the potential solutions in terms of products or services for the given occasion or situation, combined with the key motivations, is the starting point for analyzing the shopper journey and its touchpoints.
While the shopper journey describes how the shopper connects with the product or service, the route-to-purchase is about how to manage this journey. Important steps include understanding consumer needs and attitudes, such as involvement, level of planning, and shopping missions. Based on this, the different touchpoints and how to activate these can be prioritized, as a basis for managing the route-to-purchase.
The route-to-market-strategy defines the most effective and efficient way to fulfil shopper expectations at the point of purchase, online or offline. The point of purchase is the intersection between the route-to-purchase and the route-to-market. Ensuring shoppers encounter and purchase products and services is essential to securing sales, revenues, and ultimately profits, for any company. The key to any route-to-market strategy is understanding the points of purchase and their role and importance in fulfilling shopper expectations and needs. Route-to-market strategy must therefore be centered around how to activate and manage these points of purchase in the most profitable manner, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. Managing the route-to-market includes key elements such as the management of different channels (e.g., digital, traditional, and modern), the optimum sales force configuration, distribution setup, and finally organizational structure, within the new challenges of omni-channel shopper behavior and omni-channel fulfilment.
This is a short summary of the book Shopper Marketing: Market Strategies by our senior partner Georg Krentzel, based on successful Globalpraxis interventions.
The book is available in Spanish at the following links, and the English version will be available very soon.