Unchain My Cart! Why Shackle Shopper Marketing?

Shopper marketing should be confined to the store (after all, isn’t it just another name for in-store marketing?), while consumer marketing should encompass everywhere else. This latest weigh-in on the hotly contested shopper marketing-versus-consumer marketing front came from Crosby Renwick, managing director of strategy and research for CBX Strategic Branding, in his session at this month’s GlobalShop conference, Shopper Marketing: A Revolution in Need of an Objective. Mr. Renwick believes that one of the reasons why shopper marketing has been unable to affect “revolutionary change” is because these boundaries are being violated on a regular basis. If shopper marketing is to get back on course, attention must swing back to the shopper “in the aisle.”  

Oddly enough, I've spoken with plenty of people who believe that the universally accepted definition of shopper marketing is in-store marketing--as recently as last week, someone asked me with great puzzlement, "How could it be anything else?" I've spoken with others who consider it to be any marketing that a shopper might encounter. A Google search of "shopper marketing" will easily justify either position (and a few in between). If shopper marketing once suffered from a lack of definition, it's now plagued by assumptions based on the many definitions that now exist.

Here's my take . . .

In a shopping environment driven by touch points (apps, social media, interactive advertising, stores, call centers, and websites, among others) rather than channels, shopper marketing should evolve into a process-based discipline, encompassing shoppers’ entire “path to purchase,” from awareness to purchase, no matter where each step occurs. However, instead of dismissing in-store marketing as shopper marketing 1.0, it makes sense to trot it back out as a place-based subset of shopper marketing. After all, the exploding numbers of potential consumer touch points haven’t rendered physical stores obsolete — they’ve arguably made them more important than ever. How else can we explain retailers’ new frenzy over physical formats?

So, in-store marketing has been with us ever since some bold retailer hung a shingle and put thought into how his wares were arranged, and shopper marketing is the evolution that will encompass all shopper touch points, both old and new.

Want to explore what these and other retail dynamics mean to your retail positioning? Contact me directly at carol@newmarketbuilders.com