Understanding shopper marketing and the changing landscape

As technology advances, consumer behaviours shift, and sustainability takes centre stage, it’s essential for businesses to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. In this article, we’ll delve into the changing landscape of shopper marketing, highlighting key areas such as technology, sustainability, the continued shift towards experiential shopping, path to purchase communications, and the exciting future of shopper marketing.

Technology
In today’s digital age, technology has become a catalyst for change in the shopper marketing landscape. The rise of smartphones, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence has revolutionised how consumers interact with brands. From personalised recommendations to immersive shopping experiences, technology enables businesses to create seamless connections between the online and offline worlds. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for engaging and impactful shopper marketing campaigns are endless.
Nike has been at the forefront of incorporating technology into online shopper marketing initiatives. They have utilised augmented reality (AR) in their Nike Fit app, allowing customers to accurately measure their feet for the perfect shoe size. Nike also introduced the Nike Run Club app, which tracks users’ running data and provides personalised recommendations.
Amazon US has also utilised technological advancements to improve the grocery shopping experience. The Amazon Dash Cart shopping trolley, which was introduced in 2020, allows consumers to save time whilst shopping, by skipping the line at the checkout. The Dash Cart syncs to Amazon accounts, provides onscreen receipts to track spending, adds, removes, and weights items and pays for items automatically, allowing consumers to walk straight out of the store (Amazon, 2020).

Sustainability
Sustainability has emerged as a crucial aspect of shopper marketing, with businesses integrating eco-friendly practices into their strategies. By aligning with sustainability values, brands can build trust, attract environmentally conscious consumers, and contribute to a better future. From promoting recyclable packaging to supporting ethical sourcing, incorporating sustainability into shopper marketing campaigns not only benefits the planet but also enhances brand reputation and loyalty.
A great example of a brand who has recently employed sustainable shopper marketing is Mars Wrigley Australia. The brand has completely redesigned their Mars, Snickers and Milky Way bars with an innovative, recyclable wrapper, worth $2.5 million in investment. (Smart Company, 2023).

Shift towards the experiential shopper
In a world saturated with advertisements, creating memorable shopping experiences has become paramount. The shift towards experiential shopping emphasises engaging consumers on an emotional level. Brands now focus on providing immersive, interactive, and entertaining experiences that captivate their target audience. From pop-up stores with engaging activities to virtual reality-powered try-before-you-buy experiences, experiential shopping encourages deeper connections between brands and consumers, leaving a lasting impression.
In 2011, Global homeware brand IKEA launched a compelling in-store sleepover activation campaign in the UK, hosting 100 customers in their store for one night. The brand leveraged social media to promote the concept to customers, creating a Facebook Group chat called ‘I wanna have a sleepover in IKEA,’ and randomly chose 100 winners from a total of 100,000 users in the group. The activation included a personalised sleeping experience (pillows, bed and bedding from the IKEA range), gifted goodie bags with food from the IKEA café and other IKEA sleep related accessories for guests to enjoy on the night. In 2023, the sleepover experience is still a massive success and is now being run in stores all over the world, including Australia.,   (Davidson We Grow, 2020).

Path to purchase comms
In today’s multi-channel landscape, shopper marketing is no longer just about the point of purchase. Instead, it encompasses the entire customer journey, from initial brand discovery to post-purchase engagement, and allows consumers to interact with brands across multiple touchpoints and channels before making a purchase decision. Path to purchase communications ensure that the brand’s values, tone of voice, and visual identity are maintained across different channels, whether it’s social media, email marketing, website content, or in-store signage. Effective path to purchase communications requires consistent messaging, personalised experiences, and seamless transitions between channels.
Today’s consumers expect personalised experiences tailored to their individual preferences and needs. Path to purchase communications involve leveraging customer data and insights to deliver targeted and relevant messaging. By segmenting audiences based on demographics, behaviour, and preferences, brands can create personalised campaigns that address specific pain points, showcase relevant products or services, and guide consumers through the buying process. Personalisation enhances engagement, boosts conversions, and fosters long-term customer relationship.

The future of shopper marketing
As we look ahead, the future of shopper marketing holds exciting possibilities. With advancements in technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things, brands will have even more opportunities to create immersive and personalised shopping experiences. Additionally, the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning will allow for more targeted and effective shopper marketing campaigns, ensuring maximum ROI and customer satisfaction.
The landscape of shopper marketing is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by technology, sustainability, experiential shopping, and the integration of path to purchase communications. As the future unfolds, businesses must embrace these changes and leverage innovative strategies to stay ahead of the competition. By understanding the evolving needs and preferences of consumers, brands can craft engaging, purpose-driven, and memorable experiences that forge lasting connections and drive business growth.
TMS, aka The Marketing Syndicate, is a full-service Sydney marketing agency and your go-to partner for integrated marketing solutions including strategic shopper marketing campaigns.
With our focus on combining strategy and creativity, we deliver campaigns that drive real business results for our clients. We offer a full range of marketing services, from shopper marketing, promotions, social media, trade activations through to digital marketing, to name a few, all tailored to meet your unique needs and goals.
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References:
Amazon 2020, ‘Discover a better way to shop,’ accessed 16/06/2023, https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=21289116011
Smart Company 2023, ‘Mars bars, Snickers, and other chocolate classics will soon come in paper-based packaging,’ accessed 16/06/2023, https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/retail/mars-bars-snickers-chocolate-paper-based-packaging/
Davidson We Grow 2020, ‘Sleepover at IKEA! Experiential retailing at its best,’ accessed 16/06/2023, https://davidsonbranding.com.au/sleepover-at-ikea-experiential-retailing-at-its-best/