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Reach out (they’ll be there)

Shopper Marketing Pro Andy Jarvis navigates the winding shopper journey

Every grocer is keen to learn how today’s shoppers, well, shop. For Andy Jarvis, it’s all in a day’s work. As group account director at marketing agency Billington Cartmell, Jarvis heads up the shopper marketing team from the company’s London office. The agency has worked with U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons on such notable campaigns as “Let’s Grow,” a national voucher scheme through which Morrisons provides gardening tools to schools so kids can grow vegetables on the school grounds.

Jarvis’s agency has developed a set of principles to help retailers understand the stages shoppers go through every time they visit a store (and even before they hit the aisles). This concept has a memorable acronym: REACH, which stands for Relevance, Emphasis, Attraction, Choice and Hook. For instance, “hook” is about giving shoppers a simple, direct, urgent call-to-action (e.g., the hook “seasonal” is a strong message because it immediately tells the customer that the item is not only timely but available for a limited time only, which creates excitement).

Where shopper marketing really matters, though, is deep inside the aisles. Retailers, Jarvis explains, must reach out here to shoppers.

Jarvis says it’s essential for retailers to understand how people make shopping decisions and how a store might sway those decisions. As an example, he points to the loyalty program of Tesco, the British supermarket giant. Tesco has had a lot of success linking coupons to its loyalty program. “They’re finding that even if you give a lower value in loyalty card coupons–say a voucher worth £2 and you give the equivalent of £1 worth of loyalty card points–it’s still 10 times more effective to give the loyalty card points than to give the coupon,” says Jarvis.

Jarvis says it’s essential for retailers to understand how people make shopping decisions and how a store might sway those decisions. As an example, he points to the loyalty program of Tesco, the British supermarket giant. Tesco has had a lot of success linking coupons to its loyalty program. “They’re finding that even if you give a lower value in loyalty card coupons–say a voucher worth £2 and you give the equivalent of £1 worth of loyalty card points–it’s still 10 times more effective to give the loyalty card points than to give the coupon,” says Jarvis.

Where shopper marketing really matters, though, is deep inside the aisles. Retailers, Jarvis explains, must reach out here to shoppers. But they should also be aware that there are different kinds of shoppers and they won’t all respond the same way. Take the grab-and-go type, for example. This person knows what’s on their list and buys the same things week after week. You want to make sure this type of shopper finds their go-to products easily.

One way to pull that off is to make sure this shopper can easily find their “cues.” These could include well-known brand logos on packages or anything else that lets them spot the product they want quickly. Grocers too easily underestimate the importance of such cues. “If a customer is looking for the red anchor on their pack of butter and it’s obscured or moved, that can confuse and cause them to abandon that particular purchase or swap to something else,” says Jarvis. “There’s a lot of learning there in terms of not hiding brand cues.”

The shopper journey is a multi-step process, and shopper marketing is a map that helps suppliers and grocers alike along its complex trail.

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