It’s the end of another year of working with clients on all matters shopper. I am sure we all feel another year older, and perhaps a little bit wiser (all being well!). I thought I’d summarise the bigger things that have struck me this year:
The ten top secrets of making shopper research work for you
1 .Go Broad
In store behaviour and choices are the end result of the entire marketing mix. Don’t pigeon hole “Shopper” research to be only about the last yard (however key this is). The shopper decision starts with all aspects of the category marketing mix.
2. Think Customer
This is not about your brands (yet). Sorry, but Retailers don’t care about them per se. This is about what Shoppers want and how the category should deliver it – that’s all the Customer cares about. Go through every chart and take off every brand logo. Go on, do it.
3. Leverage competitiveness
There is nothing more compelling than being told you are “better” or “worse” than someone else, so put your data into context. Is Retailer A doing better than Retailer B, is your category better placed to deliver growth than category Z? For sure, your Buyer has a broader view than suppliers do….
4. Numbers matter
Sales people and Buyers are driven by the numbers: Sales and Profit. Woolly research that is hard to pin down in terms of impact will not be received well. It certainly won’t be actioned. Qual is important but can you back it with quant?
5. Add a large slice of realism
Your Buyer can’t reorganise the store. He or she is not going to delist the market leader. He is not allowed to put prices up. You won’t be welcome if you ask for things that simply are not possible, however good they might be. Also bear in mind that one seemingly small change may be enough to make a big change to performance.
6. Get your house in order first
No point in making a persuasive argument for change to your customer only to see your brand teams putting up initiatives that are going in the opposite direction. Get the business on board with the shopper agenda first, or get found out later.
7. Invest in capability
Why spend a bunch of money on the data if no one knows what to do with it. Spend some time and money on training and support as well.
8. Think long term
Far too many shopper research projects are seen as one off initiatives and rapidly disappear into the ether as time goes on. Think about a programme of research that is kept updated and you use to support continuous change. Think also about how multiple data sources can build up a picture over time, there is no silver research bullet.
9. Evaluate and learn
If you do something, take the time to see if it worked. That’s more useful than another piece of totally “new” insight. Nothing reinforces your credibility with your customer more than taking the time to offer an assessment of the impact of your plan, and the learnings or improvements that stem from this
10. And finally, keep it simple
Time and time again I am reminded that recipients of data want to know the main “so what’s” and not much more. How much more that applies to time pressed retailer buyers. The task of the shopper research user is to zero in on the 2 – 3 key practical changes that all your research findings would support.
That’s it for now (and I know its not easy). Happy Christmas and a very successful year of Shopper research in 2013!