By Arundati Dandapani
As a precursor to Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC)’s upcoming webinar on shopper insights, we have asked CRIC’s CIO to share her perspective on the evolving landscape of shopper insights innovations. The event at 10:00am Eastern Time on Wednesday September 29 is open to public and free and you may register here.
Marketing research studies reveal that through this pandemic, grocery stores have been perceived to be among the “safest places” outside of people’s homes. These are consumer insights. Shopper insights, on the other hand, are insights about the key purchaser / shopper that have a direct impact on a company’s sales structure. Shopper Insights researchers use data related to distribution, retailer dynamics, promotional activity, and in-store experiences to influence their business’ sales and marketing efforts where shoppers buy (offline or online). E-commerce, at-home commerce, hybrid shopping and omni-channel commerce have all unleashed a variety of innovations in extracting shopper insights. By comparison, consumer insights are more concerned with consumer motivations and attitudes and perceptions and are more tied to factors that are subconsciously influencing shopper purchase decisions. Shopper insights and consumer insights may have intersecting functions but both work together to ensure that information and knowledge is communicated most effectively across a brand.
Shopper insights are retailer and channel focused, directing improved distribution, assortment, placement, and promotions based on how, when and what people buy or don’t buy. Shopper research is often used to elevate category management and sales teams as the guiding hand that drive the store’s retail strategy. Consumer research focuses more on when, why, and how people interact with a brand or category and how the brand is perceived, what emotions it evokes, and the need states it fulfills.
A few defining trends in shopper insights that are worth spotlighting include:
Digital acceleration came faster than shoppers (or retailers) were prepared for: The pandemic sped up e-commerce activities in life changing ways for consumers and retailers. A jump in e-commerce, however, did not spell the death-knell for physical stores, and stores like grocers and arguably cannabis retailers stood testament to the rise of hybrid shopping for essential services. Retailers adapted quickly.
The use of behavioural science techniques and applications to derive human insights: A lot of historical, transactional, point-of-sale, loyalty, CRM and so much other data about shoppers exists, but using behavioural science applications can actually extract some of the core truths that drive and predict shopper behaviour or sales in subconscious, non-obvious ways. We have truly leveraged social values that differentiate consumers based on their unspoken motivations and behaviours through this sub-discipline. These tools are often powered by some of the most scientific and human-centric design in understanding shopper behaviour.
Sustainability: Brands that endure offer the promise of green/environmental sustainability in an age where uncertainty is more than the norm. Brands that are marketed with sustainability hold higher value for shoppers than brands without a sustainability strategy. We have seen this across categories including indulgent processed foods, carbonated drinks and with cannabis. Positive consumer attitudes towards sustainability lead to an uplift in sales for brands and products.
Ongoing Innovation: Innovation can be perceived to be “expensive” but embedding innovation into the very folds and fabric of your systems and processes iteratively (and learning from successes and misses) can enable a fuller understanding of shopper behaviour and go a long way in improving brand, product, service or relationship outcomes. Importantly, embedding your research innovations in a strong ethical framework woven on principles of transparency, protection of personal data collected at any stage of the research process, and commitment to upholding consumer, participant and respondent trust in research by subscribing to the CRIC-ICC-ESOMAR Code of Conduct can go a long way in achieving gainful wins for your brand.
Hear more insights and perspectives from research professionals with unique data points and stories as they paint a well-formed picture of the future of shopper insights innovations through their innovation lenses at the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC)’s upcoming webinar “Creating Shopper Insights Innovations”. Visit this link to view the program and register for this free event: https://www.canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/registration-creating-shopper-insights-innovations/
Arundati Dandapani, CAIP, MLITT is the Chief Editor and Intelligence Officer (CIO) of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Certified Analytics and Insights Professionals of Canada (CAIP), and founder of Generation1.ca. You can reach her at Arundati@canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca, or find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.