Understanding the Mind of the Shopper

Companies carefully study their target consumers to learn everything there is to know to tighten up marketing efforts. The goal of these marketers is to get customers inside the stores. Knowing what happens once the potential buyer enters the store can often be over looked. In fact the weakness of modern retail strategy is that its marketing efforts ignore what the shopper actually does while shopping.

There are three types of shoppers, with each group based on how long they stay in the stores, how much ground they cover, and how fast they shop.

  • “Quick” – These shoppers cover a small area in a short period of time. Tend to slow walk with a high spending speed, and are very efficient ($20 avg. expenditure).
  • “Fill-in” – They cover a medium area in a medium amount of time. Also tend to slow walk but have an average spending speed. Modest efficiency with an avg. expenditure of $50.
  • “Stock up” – Shoppers cover a large area over a long period of time. They fast walk with a low spending speed and have the lowest efficiency ($100 avg. expenditure)

It is common for people to spend around 80% of their store time simply walking around the store from one spot to the next. What is interesting is that retailers set up their stores for the convenience of the “stoke up” shopper but more than 50% of shoppers only buy one to five items in the store. The lack of knowledge about shopper thoughts/feelings presents a unique opportunity. Retailers could improve their profit margins with just a few adjustments and with a better understanding of shopper behavior.

There is a sales opportunity every minute a shopper is inside a store.  In order to maximize this time retailers should take customers through “three moments of truth,” which mirror the advertising concepts of exposures, impressions, and sales.

  1. Reach – The first moment of truth when the customer and products are in the same place or the product has “reached” the customer.
  2. Stopping and Holding – The second step comes in when the product sparks an interest in the customer and they pause to consider buying it.
  3. The Close – the all-important last step when the shopper becomes a consumer and decides to buy.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, it is important for retail managers and decision makers to understand the shopping behavior of their consumers for increased success and profitability.

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