How to Use Shopper Marketing to Influence POS Decisions

Successful marketing is about more than simply building brand awareness and nudging a customer toward buying from you instead of your competition. Shopper marketing ensures your customer actually does choose your product when it matters most — at purchase time.

How to Use Shopper Marketing to Influence POS Decisions

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Times change, and so do people, so consumers aren’t the same as they were years ago. 

They don’t proceed through a typical buyer’s journey the same way, and they have different expectations about their shopping experience, in general. 

Whether they shop online or in-store, today’s customers want to feel an emotional connection to the brands they buy from, and they’re most loyal to companies that cater to those needs.

That said, modern marketers need to understand the importance of nurturing a potential customer toward a purchase throughout every step of the process. 

Yes, part of that means making them aware of your brand and convincing them to consider purchasing the first place. 

But further influencing their behavior at the point of sale (POS) is crucial, too. 

A smart shopper marketing strategy can drastically raise the chances of your ideal customers choosing you.

Find more about this topic below.

    Shopper Marketing: What Is It and How Does It Work?

    Traditional marketing tactics focus primarily on making a potential customer aware of a brand or product, as well as on strategically guiding them toward a future purchase. 

    In contrast, shopper marketing focuses on getting through to a consumer when it truly matters most — right at the point of sale, whether that’s in-store on online.

    Think about the last time you went shopping for clothing, electronics, or even groceries. You chose a store, went to the correct aisle or department, and assessed all your choices once you got there. 

    Now, assuming all possible price points were at least comparable to one another, what made you select one brand or option over all the others?

    Unless you walked into the store with a strong preference for one brand over another, the answer likely lies in savvy shopper marketing. 

    Here’s a closer look at what shopper marketing tactics can look like in action.

    Samples

    Some products are a lot harder to convince people to impulse-buy than others — like food, to name just one example. 

    People know what they like on their dinner plates, and they become attached to the brands they’re used to. 

    But if you give someone a chance to try your product for free, you just might wind up with a new customer.

    That’s the logic behind all the delicious free samples you’ll find up for grabs at certain grocery stores. 

    Not only do free samples and a chance to “try before you buy” help take away the fear of making a regrettable purchase, but they turn trying something new into an adventure.

    Displays

    Eye-catching signage, displays, or packaging can strongly influence a shopper at purchase time, so it’s worth considering these factors when putting together your campaigns. 

    Shopping can be stressful, especially when done in person, and many people are easily overwhelmed by all the choices.

    Anything that helps differentiate one choice from the others in a positive way is often welcome. 

    Think end-cap displays that conveniently allow the customer to avoid browsing the actual aisles or gorgeous packaging that makes one product feel more appealing than all the others.

    Social Media Ads

    Highly targeted social media ads aren’t just great ways to get your customer’s attention when they’re sitting at home catching up with their friends on Facebook or Instagram. 

    Remember that today’s consumers aren’t just scrolling through social media at home anymore.

    People have their phones with them at all times these days and not just in case of an emergency. 

    They’re scrolling through their social media feeds as they browse the aisles at the store or wait in line to order their coffee. 

    Now imagine they see a geo-targeted ad for your product when they’re already primed and ready to buy. It could be just what they need to drive a purchase.

    How to Use Shopper Marketing to Influence POS Behavior

    Clever shopper marketing is all about providing the right solution in the right packaging at the right time. 

    Because if you can’t or won’t give that type of solution to your ideal customer, your competition happily will. 

    Here are some key strategies for nudging your customers in the right direction.

    1. Look at your brand from your customer’s point of view

    Sometimes even the most experienced marketers have trouble perceiving their brand and products from the consumers’ perspectives. 

    After all, marketing teams see things from right up close, far away from the realities of a customer’s actual life.

    Likewise, your customer may not know the whole story behind your brand the way a marketer would, especially if they’re brand new to it.

    One of the surest, most effective ways to influence customers to choose your product at the point of sale is to work on becoming a “top of mind” brand. 

    Many customers will choose a brand they know and trust over a brand they’ve never heard of, even if it’s more expensive, so work on building that type of connection with your target audience. 

    Make sure your customers see you as the best and understand why they should choose you.

    2. Study the shopping behavior of your target demographic

    Although members of your target demographics may have much in common, it’s essential to understand that they’re also individuals. 

    They likely come from different walks of life, have diverse core beliefs, and adhere to different shopping patterns. 

    That’s precisely why it’s crucial to do your homework on how your customers actually do browse, shop, and finalize purchasing decisions.

    Avoid generalizing when it comes to any of your target markets. 

    Always keep careful records of your own and study the numbers when it comes to the larger market out there. Then, refer back to your data when updating your marketing campaigns. 

    Many marketers also find it helpful to create shopper personas to represent each type of customer they’re looking to reach.

    3. Understand that your consumer and your shopper may be two different people

    Many marketers make the mistake of thinking consumers and shoppers are the same, but this isn’t always the case. 

    For example, while single people do primarily shop only for themselves, people with long-term partners or families are almost always shopping for others, as well.

    That said, the person who actually handles the shopping responsibilities for an entire household may not be the person who will ultimately consume the product. 

    Parents shop for children, spouses shop for each other, and so forth. 

    As you brainstorm your shopper marketing campaigns, keep this in mind to ensure you’re appealing to the right people in the desired ways.

    4. Align your shopper marketing efforts with the rest of your campaign

    Yes, getting through to your target at the moment of truth when they ultimately choose one option over the others is crucial.

    But don’t lose sight of the rest of your campaign in the process. Innovative shopper marketing strategies seamlessly align with every other marketing strategy you’ve already used along the way.

    So ensure your entire marketing campaign is focused on triggering important decisions in your favor from start to finish. 

    Collect data and encourage feedback from existing customers to get a better read on the choices that ultimately led them to buy your product. 

    Then apply everything you learn to your next marketing strategy so it can be even more effective.

    Stellar Examples of Successful Shopper Marketing in Action

    Ready to know what a successful shopper marketing strategy looks like once it’s live and generating results? 

    Check out these shining examples of how to do things right.

    Coca-Cola

    As one of the leading soft drink companies in the entire world, Coca-Cola definitely knows a thing or two about shopper marketing, and it shows. 

    Not only are they aces at brand-building, but they’re experts at influencing last-minute or impulse purchases in their favor, as well.

    Their “Share a Coke with a Friend” campaign is an ideal example, as even people who don’t usually drink or buy Coke couldn’t resist buying a can with their name or the name of a friend on it. 

    Coke eventually expanded the wildly successful campaign to include custom-designed military themes and more, each designed to appeal to a different section of their target audience.

    Target

    In 2014, in an increasingly stagnating economy, Target realized that while college students spend quite a bit of money on back-to-school supplies and similar items, they weren’t buying enough of those things at Target. 

    Realizing these young people represented their future core customer base, the discount giant decided to take action.

    Target ultimately leveraged the power of shopper marketing via their “Back to College After-Hours” shopping events. 

    They also built a unique Bullet University customized web app around students’ needs to help streamline the buying process. 

    The campaign was a huge success, driving sales from younger demographics through the roof and giving a new generation of shoppers a very positive impression of Target.

    And these are just two examples of how brands can use research and creativity to reach their target demographics better, establish customer loyalty, and fatten up their bottom lines.

    Wrap Up: Positive Shopping Experiences Result in Lifelong Customers

    These days, customer experience is everything in brand-building and marketing, both online and offline. 

    The more accessible and positive you can make the experience of learning about, buying, and using your products, the more lifelong loyal customers you’re going to have.

    Ready to jump into the online world and learn a few new tricks for absolutely delighting your customers?

    Check out our interactive checklist on how to chart a successful buyer’s journey in order to convert visitors into customers!

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