Shopper marketing can influence customer purchases once they enter the parking lot of your retail space. Items like window cling and signage on your storefront signs at the curb, integrated display screens at fuel dispensers and shelf-talkers, menu boards, and other signage in your store can increase sales, especially if they are used cohesively. With the current COVID-19 situation, shopper marketing is more important than ever in driving consumer behavior.
Analyze your sales history
Before you create any shopper marketing or merchandising strategy, you should be intimately familiar with your sales history. Know your baseline and what percentage of sales comes from each product category. You should also know which products you sell the most of and which products drive the majority of your profit, which are not always the same. This knowledge can help you create a strategy that uses your high volume products to sell high margin items based on market basket affinity.
Once you know which products have the best profit margins, which ones drive the majority of your sales, and which ones often are sold together, you can create a shopper marketing strategy using that knowledge to increase profitability per customer. This allows you to not only bring customers driving or walking by into your store, but also influence what they purchase in a time when fewer people are window shopping or casually entering retail spaces.
Create a cohesive, integrated shopper marketing strategy
Base your shopper marketing strategy around anchor products and services that have a high likelihood of being sold. Then, you can advertise other products with high market basket affinity to drive up units per transaction and profitability. You can also look into programmatic options that use additional data points beyond your sales data to identify the best products to advertise at different times of year or times of the day. For example, for the convenience retail industry, NewsBreak’s algorithm looks at historical sales and analyzes market basket affinity, time of day, time of year, historical weather information, and more to provide insight into which products should be advertised when.
Your strategy should also be fully integrated to get the most bang out of all of your different on-site advertising options. While a robust shopper marketing strategy is undoubtedly beneficial, it also requires oversight to ensure the messaging is cohesive and the different touchpoints are working together. All of your marketing should have a cohesive look and feel that represents your brand. If it becomes too time-consuming to manage your different touchpoints, you may want to hire a point person, engage a third party agency or buy a tool that allows you to manage it through a single portal,
If you do not successfully integrate your touchpoints, not only do you risk a disjointed message that confuses the customer, but your marketing campaign will be less successful at converting browsers to purchasers and increasing market basket size.
Clutter can decrease the effectiveness of your different marketing channels as well. Many consumer-packaged goods and other vendors provide coolers, signage, and more to display their specific products in your store. Don’t simply accept everything offered to you. While these can be great free forms of shopper marketing, they can also be distracting. If there is too much to look at, most customers will simply look at nothing. That said, you should choose a few key CPG items that integrate well with your overall strategy, which can often help fund some of your marketing initiatives.
Think about the customer experience as well. The messaging and image of all of your merchandising materials should be cohesive and complementary from start to finish. That includes your external marketing materials like emails and social media, but also everything the customer sees from the moment they leave their car to the cash register. Even which items you place near the cash register can be determined by and part of an overall shopper marketing strategy.
Your on-site marketing materials should not only be used to drive sales, especially toward high-profit items, but also educate customers. Many businesses have specialty products that separate them from the competition. Make sure your customers know about what makes you unique. For example, many convenience stores started out as dairies, which now sell milk for competitive or even lower prices than grocery stores. Or you may be a locally owned business, which many customers appreciate today. Even the safety precautions you are taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be marketed to customers.
Shopper marketing is a critical part of any marketing strategy, especially during COVID-19. If you make sure your merchandising materials are cohesive and integrated, you can use them to increase profitability per customer and overall sales.
Brian Nelson is COO of NewBreak, a programmatic merchandising platform for the fuel and convenience retail industry that converts fuel-only customers to multi-product purchasers with an automated multichannel network.
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