You need to pick your battles

The world of retail is growing more and more disruptive, making it increasingly important for us to define the retail spaces or channels that you use to target shoppers.

(Read this blog to gain further insight on target shoppers)

Channels can be seen as a groups of shopping environments that are similar in their characteristics. This enables you to create consistency within extreme diversity, as it groups the diverse world into manageable segments.

This segmentation enables us to prioritize one environment over another.


You need to ensure that you choose places where you can have an influence over someone’s behaviour rather than choose places where they just go to to buy stuff.

So it is important to get those definitions clear in your mind and understand the roles that those places play:
– Are these places where someone is going to change their shopping behaviour?
– Is it a place where you can engage with shoppers?
– What is it this channel is doing for you?


In short, shoppers respond to a physical environment which they can see and describe. It really comes back to the shopper behaviour: How does that shopper see that “venue to go get that product”.

(Listen to this podcast by Toby Desfores on Shopper behaviour)

A shopper has a want or a need in their life. Now they have to fulfill that need and are in “shopper-mode”. So what are they going to do? If it is a convenience-driven motivation, they will pop into the closest place that they find acceptable and make their purchase.

If it is not a convenience-driven motivation, they will add it to their shopping list and get it at a later stage.

To connect to the shopper in a consistent, meaningful manner, it is important to:
– Think about what types of shopping motivations are driving the shopper
– How do you live within a retail or channel choice
– How you might manifest this in the best way.


Fundamentally you need to have deep insight into what that shopper wants and needs to have. Now you can make choices. This highlights why the role of insights in a corporate strategy setting is so important.

You need to deeply understand the shopper, and use this understanding to make conscious decisions about where to go to capture growth – all within a world of limited resources.

Some will argue that you have to be everywhere – as omni-channel means that a shopper can purchase wherever they want! However, be warned that if you are a brand manufacturer. If you think that this approach is your path to success, you will run out of resources very quickly!

You need to pick your battles. Determine the channels which unlock the most growth for your company.

This blog is taken from the second of our 4-part video series on 5 keys to thriving in a disruptive retail environment. When 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 2: Channel definitions and roles” for more insight on this topic.

3 factors to consider when defining channels
1. Manageability
Are your new channels manageable? If the marketing team plans to increase the number of channel definitions, it will have an impact on the level of complexity the company has to manage. Can the marketing team bear this? Can other teams bear it? Does the existing organizational structure need to change? Are there sufficient skilled people to support it?
2. Measurability
If performance can’t be measured, it can’t be managed. So avoid creating distinctions that can’t actually be monitored. You may have to live with the fact that service providers like Nielsen may be unable to “split data” in a market.
3. Understanding
If the members of the marketing team are the only people who understand your channel definitions, the rest of the organization cannot support the goals they set. It’s important to clearly communicate which environments are included in a channel and which are not, with a strong rationale for change, and this should be explained to everyone systematically.
For more insight, head over to our course on defining channels.

May 29, 2018

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