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Retail Greatness Blog

Shopper vs. Consumer...Who Are You Focused On?

It looks like a sad reality for the future in retailing: sales volume will get more challenging to sustain due to shrinking family size and consistently rising commodity prices as a result of globalization.

And let’s not forget the impact that giants like Amazon and others will have on the future of the retailing experience.

So we need to be clear: knowing the customer profile is CRITICAL to brick-and-mortar retailing success. But knowing who they are is one thing. Understanding how they behave is another. Your customers and their families occupy two distinct personas - consumers and shoppers -  and you want your stores focused on both.

Shopper vs. Consumer...Who Are You Focused On?

Your locations can remain a big part of the shopping experience...if you’re addressing customer needs in the right way. It starts by acknowledging that you’re serving two masters: consumers AND shoppers.

Who’s a shopper? Who’s a consumer?

So what’s the difference between a consumer and shopper?

I remember reading a great quote a while back that defines the difference clearly: “When you are at the supermarket choosing which steak to buy, and how much of it you want, you are in ‘shopping mode’. When at home grilling that same steak on a sunny Sunday afternoon, beer in hand, you are in ‘consumption mode’.”

Well, there you have it.

The consumer and shopper can be the same person but think differently. Or they can be two separate people. In essence, “consumers” use the products you sell, “shoppers” acquire them.

Shoppers come to your stores to buy solutions, but they may or may not know which brand to select. This is where store merchandising execution makes all the difference.

Differences in how shoppers and consumers think.

Let’s look at how the two mindsets compare.

Consumer Mode

  • “I could use that solution.”
  • “I respect what that brand is all about.”
  • “My friends all tell me I should try it.”

The consumer focuses on a need and plans to purchase. Often, this is a logical progression toward a rational decision.

Shopper Mode

  • “Where is the solution in the store?”
  • “What are the options available?”
  • “How many units do I need to buy?”

The shopper focuses on completing the buying process. Because she is committing time to do this, she has expectations that your store should support her effort with easy access to desired solutions. Decisions made by shoppers are therefore more emotional and impression-driven.

Retail execution meets shopper demands.

Retail execution is all about the shopper mode. Shoppers are on a journey with the brands you carry that often starts before they open your doors. Pre-visit decisions are usually brand driven, whether they have bought a product before or been exposed to marketing or other means. But in-store decisions are made in the moment.

How your associates execute merchandising can turn a potential sale for one brand into a sale for another. Or they may not come back because you’ve disappointed them.

Shelf visibility, display maintenance, and planogram design relative to traffic flow...all these dimensions contribute to fulfilling shopper needs. Committing to 100% retail execution performance supports those dimensions and more.

If you want to investigate the impacts of retail execution...and the benefits that come with a mobile workforce management tool, check out our other blog posts here.
Topics: retail greatness