By Aimee Chanthadavong

Results of an Australian industry study show that there has been a growth in support, resources and understanding of shopper marketing.

The 2011 POPAI/ShopAbility shopper marketing industry survey, which is the follow-up study to the first survey conducted in 2010, indicates the next step is to ‘join the dots’ in shopper marketing planning, delivery and measurement.

According to study author and ShopAbility director Norrelle Goldring, there has been a good deal of change in a short period of time as more retailers begin to understand the importance of marketing, particularly in a sensitive period of retail.

“Marketing is marketing – with shopper marketing, as with consumer marketing, when times are tough it’s precisely when you should be ramping up activity – rather than pulling it back/putting the ‘sign’ away. You’ll get better economies because media becomes more desperate for business, and if your competitors pull back on activity it gives you greater share of voice,” she said.

From 126 participants that were surveyed, the report indicates that 80 per cent of respondents believe that shopper marketing enhances the shopping experience, contributes to topline growth and assists in retailer/manufacturer collaboration. At the same time, 75 per cent believe it helps build brand equity while 60 per cent believe it helps drive innovation and product development.  Also, 50 per cent of respondents said they plan to almost double their 2010 spend in the next 12 to 18 months.

“In a retail environment where deep discounting is a law of diminishing returns as shoppers become increasingly accustomed – and immune – to sales and specials, additional shopper marketing activities are required to pique their interest and increase frequency, spend and average weight of purchase (AWOP). Unique offers can drive shoppers to a store or category they had not necessarily planned to purchase,”Goldring said.

Goldring also said that retailers will broaden their ‘touchpoints’ to reach shoppers, as the survey shows that 15 per cent of activities are mobile while 73 per cent expect a large impact of digital and mobile marketing in the future.

“There will always be a role for instore promotions and point of sale and for consumer promotions, the shopper marketing game is about seamlessly integrating prestore, instore and poststore activities and messaging to target specific shopper types with unique offers,” she said.

However, nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of those surveyed do not have a set or documented process for conducting shopper marketing activities and a low 20 per cent of shopper activity is the result of joint collaboration between retailers and manufactures.

Goldring suggests that retailers and manufacturers need to ‘join the dots’ to focus on what and how shopper marketing is measured.

“A couple of key things – talk in the same language, manufacturers should pitch retailers programs that are relevant to the retailer and their goals and based at a category level – not just brand level – rather than just a great creative idea,” she said.

 “Retailers might be more liable to co-fund the program if it talks to a number of their objectives or dovetails with broad based platforms they already have. Retailers are looking to manufacturers to provide category level shopper insights so that the creative shopper marketing ideas are grounded.”