By Michael Palmer
There are a number of definitions, but in the end this is all about collaborating with retailers to advance the shopper’s in-store experience. Procter & Gamble’s CEO A. G. Lafley coined the phrase, the “First Moment of Truth” – that moment when a shopper (not a consumer – we’ll get to the difference in a minute) is at the shelf deciding what brand or product to put in his or her basket.
Why is this moment so important – two reasons. First, shoppers take very little time to make their decisions. On average they spend 2.5 seconds looking at each section, meaning they can at best only see half of what’s available on the self. Secondly and most importantly, research tells us that 70% of shoppers decide what to purchase at retail. If we believe that, and P&G surely does, marketing to shoppers is critical. But marketing to shoppers today means making their shopping experience more valuable. Better in some way – easier, less expensive, less time consuming, more problem solving.
Shoppers versus consumers. What’s the difference? A shopper is the person who is doing the buying – they can also be the consumer if they are buying for themselves, but they may be shopping for another person. Mom’s act as both most of the time. So you have to know who you are talking to. Are you talking to the shopper, the consumer or both? The message you deliver must be directed at the right audience at the right time.
Interestingly marketers are paying more attention and carving out significantly more dollars to their shopper marketing efforts. But a number of questions remain. Is this another trend or is this a real marketing strategy that can in fact generate a competitive advantage? Safeway has since 2005 begun introducing “Lifestyle” stores – they now have more that 400 of these retail outlets. These stores feature warmer lighting, more readable product labels, and they focus on engaging the shopper’s purchase interest by delivering a consistent brand message through very available communications channel. Safeway is working hard to make the shopping experience more enjoyable. This I suggest is a concept that is hear to stay. Marketers – if you are not already on this train, you will have to run to catch it as it has already left the station.
In subsequent blogs we’ll begin to delve into what we know and don’t know now about this arena and how you can either catch this train and get on board, or find ways to upgrade your seat and gain that competitive advantage that will drive your brand sales.