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The secret to retail success? Keep shoppers happy

Shopper marketers take heed: Keeping shoppers longer in store can actually do more harm than good.

Contrary to the adage that “the longer a shopper stays, the better chances of them buying something,” Tara Prabhakar, managing director for retail and shopping at TNS Asia Pacific, said that brands should focus on making shopping as quick and easy for them.

Admittedly, shopping is not something most people look forward to and often times viewed as a chore. By making it less stressful, she said that it leads to happy shoppers which has been confirmed to likely spend more in store.

Based on TNS data, shoppers that find their first item within 10 seconds end up buying around four more items. Those who find it longer, between 11 to 20 seconds, only buy around two.

Reducing shopping time by increasing spending speed is one of three principles of shopper understanding Prabhakar presented to local brands this Tuesday derived from over 30 years of research at TNS. The visit came on the heels of the merger of Kantar Retail and TNS Retailer & Shopper practice in January.

The secrets to happiness

Many brands have asked how to sell more but the most important question to ask is how to make shoppers spend more.The fact that happy shoppers spend more is one of the most under-appreciated truths in retail,” she shared with the press.

In addition to speed, she furthers that brands need to focus less on shopper profiles or “typologies” and more on what she considers as primary drivers of shopper behavior, namely their agenda, called shopping missions, and the occasion they are buying for.

Shoppers who need to stock-up, for instance, have different needs to those rushing to buy few items. In the same way, people planning for a dinner party with friends have a completely different grocery list from those who are just planning for a regular family meal.

Prabhakar also said that brands must be able to distinguish and respond between “Decided” shoppers focused on search and “Open” shoppers who are looking for information to help them make a choice at the shelf.

She said that decided shoppers is comprised by around 69% of customers who buy the same brands as they did last time. Rather than interrupt, brands should approach by helping them complete the search by proper category organization that is easy to navigate.

In contrast, open shoppers spend more time exploring the shelf and are more likely to read information and browse. To target them, TNS recommends to focus on product assortment, call-to-action messaging on packaging and point of sale.

Prabhakar shared with Marketing that local brands should pay closer attention to these three principles as the country’s retail sector undergoes “tough times” She said that retail sales in supermarkets had been mostly flat while sales in the traditional trade outlets, like sari-sari stores, fell by 3% since last year.

“The key here is differentiation. At the end, most supermarkets look roughly the same and it’s up to retailers and brands to work together make the shopping experience faster and easier for Filipino shoppers,” she said.

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