Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Makes Shoppers Buy?

According to Brandweek.com, Point of Purchase Advertising International, a global retail marketing association, launched a study last week to gauge the effectiveness of shopper marketing techniques in major retail outlets.

The study, dubbed Marketing at Retail Initiative (MARI), will leverage retail research across the supermarket, drug and convenience store and mass merchandise channels. The goal is to determine which shopper marketing displays work best, and, more importantly, how and why these techniques influence consumers to buy.

Major companies and retailers participating in the research include 7-Eleven, Ahold, Frito-Lay North America, Pepsi-Cola North American Beverages and Walgreens. U.K.-based retail research firm SheridanGlobal Group is conducting the study.

What do you hope will be the major findings of the MARI study? Will the results directly impact your decisions moving forward? We'd like to hear your thoughts.


  1. Well, studies have been coming out for generations, and they tend to reinforce what we already know: consumers tend to be loyal to brand names or rely on established buyer habits, shoppers are planning ahead on what they purchase-- unless they get inspired by something that catches their eye-- in other words, there are no hard and fast rules. The other thing is, the more you generalize about "shoppers," as if they are a monolith, the less you can really know. The c-store buyer is very different from the grocery customer. I suspect it's why there aren't a lot of grocery chains or Wal-Mart participating.

  2. I have a couple of hypotheses that I would hope to see validated.
    One is: In categories with many options where product differentiation is not clear, e.g., cosmetics or anti-aging facial lotions, I suspect there is a high rate of "shopping without buying" (low conversion of shopper to buyer), because consumers just can't figure out what product will work best for them. I recently saw in-store signage showing 5 brands of mascara with a simple statement of what is distinctive about each one. Another brand had signage showing how several of their products work together to deliver a great result. I suspect this type of signage is effective in increasing conversion, and would like to see this evidence.