Much instore investment is wasted.

BLOGOswin van den Boer

Since different data authorities started telling that most purchase decisions are made instore, brands have rushed to spend more and more on instore shopper communication and activation. Unfortunately, much instore investment is wasted. 

There are typically three key don'ts for all brands.

DON’T 1. Too many messages

You love your brand. We know. We are sure its great. But very rarely are shoppers interested in hearing your full brand story. Depending on the category you have minutes, maybe seconds to get a message across. And often, the attention the shopper gives you is subconscious. This over-communication can be found everywhere. Next time you buy a packet of anything, just count how many messages are on the packaging, and in the vicinity of the shelf. Shoppers are surrounded by messages, and when faced with messaging overload, they typically just zone out.

DON’T 2. Using the consumer message

Unfortunately the practice of taking the key brand visual, sticking it on a piece of cardboard and then adding the tagline from the campaign is still very common. The consumer message was designed to get consumers to want to consume the brand. The shopper message needs to get the shopper to buy the product. It’s a different target (consumers vs shoppers), a different marketing objective and a different environment. We are not saying ignore the core brand message, just that it might not be the best way to get shoppers to buy.

DON’T 3. Putting the message in the wrong place

Too often the location of messages is dictated by retailers. Shelf signage goes in front of the brand for a very high percentage of occasions. Yet often the target shopper goes nowhere near your brand! The only shoppers you can guarantee to go to that part of the fixture are your current shoppers who already planned to buy it. That means that pretty much the only objective you can meet there is to increase weight of purchase. It is a poor location for penetration and frequency. It can’t be the best location for many campaigns, yet that is where the shopper activation material ends up.

If you want to make your instore shopper activation more EFFECTIVE, there are four key do’s you can take:

DO 1. Know your target shopper for this specific activity

All marketing communication is about focus and targeting, and shopper activation is no exception. But we’re not talking about your target consumer, we’re not even talking about your generic target shopper. We’re talking about the shopper you want to act on this activation. If you’re hoping to drive trial, then it is the people you want to try it – those are your target shoppers.

DO 2. Understand how much time you have to engage with your instore shopper activation.

Based on your understanding of the target shopper and their current behavior, you can get a sense of how long you have to communicate. Yes, of course, if your shopper activation is brilliantly arresting, then you may be able to stop the shopper in their tracks and get you a little more time. But that is unlikely. If your target shopper spends less than two minutes in the store, and less than 10 seconds in your category, that’s the time you have, in all likelihood.

DO 3. Place your instore materials where those shoppers are likely to be.

If you know your target shopper, you can work out where the best place might be to engage them with this message. Why?, because they reckon that’s where shoppers will be most receptive to the message.

DO 4. Target your instore message on the key barriers to purchase, or the key reason to buy now.

So we can’t tell our whole brand story, so what do we need to communicate? Typically there are three key considerations:

a. What does the target shopper already know? If the target shopper already knows about your heritage, or your green credentials, or your secret recipe, it may be that this can be left out of your instore plan. It is likely that simply seeing your brand will bring much of this to the front of the shopper’s mind

b. What communication is already there? Consider the category communication in the store, and consider your packaging. The aisle may have signage which is communicating to shoppers: how can your messaging build on this? And don’t forget packaging – one of the most powerful tools for shopper communication. Packaging has stacks of information, so consider how your messaging might complement this.

c. What is critical to turn the shopper into a buyer? What is the key reason they haven’t bought the brand before? What is the reason they aren’t behaving in the way that you want them to behave. If you want them to buy more volume, then why should they do this? If you want them to switch from a competitor brand, why on earth haven’t they done so before? These should be the focus of your shopper activation.

Getting shopper activation right blends art and science. Its not easy to predict what will work and what will not. But by avoiding these common errors, and following the key steps above, your activation will be much more effective. If you want more help making your instore shopper activation effective, get in touch to see how nu:amsterdam can help.