Get strategic about your shopper!

We are in the age of the shopper!

Gone is the model that consumer goods businesses used in days gone by. No longer can we merely understand the consumer or end-user of our product and build a dazzling distribution path – the modus operandi for leading consumer goods businesses not too long ago.

(To understand the difference between a shopper and consumer, listen to this podcast by Mike Anthony and Toby Desforges)

This bygone business model did not feature the shopper. It was a business model that excluded the very person that made decisions about value creation – ie the shopper, had not been considered.

The shopper persona maintains so much control in the interactions with a brand and retailer, and yet they had not even been remotely considered in this model or equation.

To target the shopper, we need to get to grips with who it is that we are targeting. We need to gain a fundamental understanding that there is an individual who makes the decision to purchase the product. This is not the person that writes down the shopping list! It is the person that picks the item up and puts it into their cart and pays for it – be it online or offline.


Your shopper has a set of behaviours that hold the key to growth in consumption over the long term, should we successfully influence them.

If we want to capture this growth, it is important to understand that the shopper needs to be treated in a strategic manner. A parallel can be drawn to the strategic thinking around consumer marketing.

In the same way that consumer marketing does not market to everybody, the target consumers are carefully considered, with consideration to relevance and affinity to the brand.


We should treat shoppers in the same way and have the same strategic thoughts and processes determining:

– Am I marketing to every shopper?
– Who do I choose to market to?
– Where might that shopper chose to frequent?

This will create a core understanding of the who we are targeting before going about the act of creating activations to go capture and influence them.

This process of targeting is established behaviour in consumer marketing. Therefore, to elevate our thinking about how to unlock the growth through shopper centric thinking, planning and strategies, we will have to think more strategically about our shopper.

It starts with accepting that the shopper is strategically important – in the same way that the consumer is strategically important, in the same way that your retail partner is strategically important … then the process for identifying the target shopper is amazingly simple.

Once you clearly understand the target consumer, the target shopper becomes more clear.


The world’s largest global advertiser, the company that gets credit for building the best senior level marketing talent, P&G, says it stands for the first moment of truth – at the shelf, where the shopper selects its item of choice.

This does not speak to the strength of their brand promise. It’s about making a connection at the moment of conversion. It’s about shoppers choosing its brand above others is where they have to win.

That is a pretty compelling thing. That is a shopper thing!

This blog is taken from the first of our 4-part video series on 5 keys to thriving in a disruptive retail environment. Our resident expert, Toby Desforges caught up with Patrick Fitzmaurice from Caterpillar Farm Inc.

Login or sign-up to watch the full video on “Part 1: Understanding target shopper in depth” for more insight on this topic.

8 questions to ask about your shopper:
1. How do shoppers interpret and articulate the needs and desires of consumers?
2. What are the shopping missions?
3. What do shoppers do currently?
4. How much can be gained from changing this behavior?
5. What exactly is the shopper looking for?
6. What is preventing the shopper from buying what we want them to buy?
7. How urgent is the shopper’s need?
8. How does your shopper view and define the category of your brand
These are taken The Shopper Marketing Revolution, which is available for purchase from Amazon.
May 16, 2018

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