The Business of Actionable Shopper Insights

Terrie Wendricks
Marketing Insights
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Key Takeaways
  • Make the distinction between consumer and shopper insights.

  • Understand that great insight can come from relating consumer and shopper insights.

  • Set up a shopper insights framework to ensure strategic focus and actionability.

The marriage of consumer and shopper insights

As volatility in the marketplace has become the new normal, retailers and manufacturers in the U.S. are making efforts to tighten their relationships. These companies’ efforts are becoming an integral component of their partnerships and goals to remain relevant, as a polarized and more demanding shopper base has grown increasingly aware of prices and competitive offers. In addition, a diversified, specified and more capable competition has developed in almost every trading area and category. The digital ecosystem is not only reshaping how and where shoppers buy, but also illuminating their path to purchase, irrespective of where the sales happen.

More and more, companies are seeking a roadmap of action from researchers, supported by not only consumer insights but also shopper insights as a critical foundation for their business practices.

Here are a few critical starting points in identifying the power of shopper insights versus consumer insights in our current retail landscape:

1. Make the distinction between consumer and shopper insights. It is true that in a lot of categories, the individuals doing the consuming are also doing the shopping.

Nevertheless, when it comes to collecting data as well as the ultimate uses of such research, it is important to make the distinction between consumer insights and shopper insights due to the questions being asked and the resulting actions taken. These can differ based on whether these companies are seeking intelligence to better understand consumers’ needs or shoppers’ needs at a given moment.

Indeed, market research—both qualitative and quantitative—is conducted among consumers to learn more about how, how often, when and why they use a product or service, and/or ask about the perceptions they have about brands—their attitudes, needs and problems they have that a product or service in the category can address. This provides guidance on several marketing and communications issues, and can lend insights into related concepts or new product development.

Similarly, companies are also opting to conduct more targeted research on shoppers to learn more about how, when, where, and why they shop or buy in the category. This type of research focuses around shoppers’ attitudes about the in-the-moment shopping experience—the path to purchase—to understand what fosters loyalty to the brand as shoppers are purchasing from a channel. The result of this research provides better guidance for companies on which is the best target in a particular channel or retailer, and the best messaging and tactics to use to drive traffic and sales in-store.

2. Understand that great insight can come from relating consumer and shopper insights. Actionable insights come from the intersection of understanding consumer motivations and exploring shopper behavior as it relates to the category and brands. Great shopper insights are not developed in isolation. The more input that goes into insights development, the richer and more actionable the outcome will be. It is very important to understand what inspires or is a barrier to shoppers’ actions.

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Author Bio:

Terrie Wendricks
Terrie Wendricks is vice president of shopper insights at Chicago-based marketing insights firm C+R Research and a member of the AMA’s Marketing Insights Council.

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