Supermarket News reported on the latest Shopper Marketing Summit, which pointed U.S. retailers to look to the growth strategies of their European counterparts, and signalled that to drive success retailers need to get closer to shoppers and focus on what matters to them.

Understanding shoppers, at every stage of their journey and what ultimately leads them to buy is fundamental to any shopper marketing strategy. So, it’s easy to see why the discipline is hailed by many as one of the most important developments in recent times, and is subsequently increasingly being adopted as a key capability by leading businesses.

However, despite being well established in some quarters, for many, shopper marketing is a concept still in its infancy and there is a lack of agreement on its definition. Only by truly understanding and defining shopper marketing, can we best use it to support retail and brand growth strategies.

There are a multitude of views on what shopper marketing actually is. And these are often borne out of, and constrained by, the background of those implementing it – those in the business of retail media seem more likely to define it solely within the realms of point of purchase in-store, while colleagues in trade marketing appear more likely to define shopper marketing in category management terms.

We’ve taken a holistic stand on a definition: Shopper Marketing involves the shopper per se; incorporating the entire physical and emotional journey (not just in-store or online), the opportunities we have to influence them to buy in-home, on-the-move or in-store and ultimately how we inspire and motivate shoppers to act.

While every shopper marketing campaign will be different, there are a number of areas which should usually be considered in the aim to influence sales, drive growth and form the basis of a successful shopper campaign strategy:

Visibility: given that most communication environments are very cluttered

Differentiation: creating stand-out and a relevant point of difference

Engagement: encouraging dwell time; more time spent at a fixture increases likelihood to buy

Opportunity maximisation: working out where, when and how shoppers are most open to suggestion

Helping: making decisions easy – confused shoppers don’t act. This is crucial

Enjoyment: in particular in the form of surprise

Inspiration: critical to promoting desire

Channel maximisation: retail media is like any other media and should be used depending on a combination of relevancy and reach (coverage, frequency and dwell time)

The most successful shopper marketing campaigns are built on a foundation of meaningful insight along with compelling brand strategy and communications, blended with retailer insights – by which we mean an appreciation of a retailers performance, pressures, business and marketing priorities. Without these three elements; shopper insight, brand focus and retailer understanding, it’s not possible to maximise shopper marketing.

If you’re interested in how shopper marketing could work to drive your retail growth strategy get in touch with The Market Creative today.