Better Understanding of Shopper’s Journey
Helps Procter & Gamble Boost Brand Sales

By Dale Buss

Procter & Gamble has always been a branding behemoth. But only lately has the company taken shoppers as seriously as consumers, and harnessed insights into the CPG-buying process with as much energy as P&G traditionally has put into product development and advertising.

And now, as a result of better understanding the “shopper’s journey” and how that can be different for every shopper, P&G and its agency partners are scoring some big gains at retail for its brands in skin and beauty-care products and other segments. It’s part of P&G’s “shopper-back” approach toward understanding what actually appeals to shoppers and then moving backward through brand and product execution from there.

“We had a disjointed view of the brand from the point of view of shoppers and lacked those insights to drive our work,” said Vivienne Bechtold, marketing director of P&G’s global skin strategy and innovation. “The challenge was to reinvent that ‘first moment of truth’ and deliver an experience that would delight the shopper everywhere she shopped.”

P&G has been working with Arc Worldwide on overhauling its approach. And as Karuna Rawal, senior vice president and director of retail strategy for the Chicago-based marketing-services arm of Leo Burnett, put it, “For many years the way consumers were approached was, ‘Watch ads on TV and then buy.’ But now, we realize that the path to purchase is no longer that linear – it’s much more convoluted, with more starts and stops. Technology has changed it, for one thing.”

The executives presented their approach in a presentation recently in Chicago at the Shopper Marketing Summit hosted by the In-Store Marketing Institute.

Focusing on leveraging “shopper-back” efforts for its Olay brand, Becthold’s division worked with Arc to come up with a four-step process. First, they sought to understand shopper “personas” – detailed depictions of particular targets that show brands who they are as shoppers, what motivates them and triggers them to purchase. “Persona brings the shopper to life,” as Becthold put it.

Second, they researched the “shopper’s journey,” illustrating the step-by-step process pursued by the Olay shopper on the way to purchase or at least shopping. “It looks at her needs, motivations and barriers and helps you understand how to get beyond her barriers,” Bechtold said.

Next, P&G and Arc brought pieces from the other findings to create a “holistic shopper vision.” Among the various departments working on the brand, Becthold said, “We were all operating in silos, so the idea is that if we all have a common understanding of the shopper—and the brand group and the ‘first moment of truth’ agency and the design agency are all working off the same sheet of music – we would be more effective,” she explained.

Under this part of the process, the partners determined “shopper’s needs by the stage of the shopping journey, and articulated what is the role of the different contact points” with the shopper, such as point of purchase, and product packaging, Bechtold said.

Finally was the point of activation, how each of the previous three stages would help move the shopper along her journey to purchase.

Through putting this paradigm together, P&G and Arc learned that Olay shoppers go through different stages on their path to purchase, can have different motivations even within the same category, can use different tools for making their decisions, and have different paths to purchase. Some shoppers, for instance, want to make their shopping experience highly efficient, while others prefer to have a “discovery experience” in the store.

Some shoppers depend heavily on someone they know personally for advice in the category on their way to purchase, while others are confident in the collective advice of anonymous reviewers that they may glean online and elsewhere.

“This was a tremendously valuable approach,” Bechtold said. “Until we had these insights, we were marketing to each of these groups of shoppers in largely the same way, not understanding their differences.”

Bechtold drew an example from another P&G segment: household products, and the Gain brand. The company knew that scent was a powerful criterion for the Gain shopper. but that shoppers didn’t feel they had implicit permission in the store to screw open the lid of a detergent container and see how it smelled. Based on that insight, Gain ran a campaign called, “Love at First Sniff,” with displays at point of purchase that encouraged shoppers to open up a bottle of Gain and get a whiff of the fragrance. It boosted sales.

With a brand that is part of Bechtold’s bailiwick, Herbal Essences hair-care products, P&G tried an innovative shopper-marketing approach as well. “From our research,” said Arc’s Rawal, “we understood that the shopper in this category has a tremendous number of choices and is often confused. In the store, we’re constrained from delivering all of the relevant information to her.”

So, P&G placed a “QR” – Quick Response -- code on Herbal Essences packages. Brand stewards knew that Herbal Essences consumers typically own and use mobile phones for shopping. So they were confident that, as shoppers, these women would use their smart phones to read the QR code, which would lead them to an app where they could access information about and reviews of Herbal Essences products. “It has been extremely effective, and it’s in a large number of stores right now,” Rawal said.

For Olay, P&G is harnessing the “shopper-back” insights in a variety of ways. For example, it has introduced a form of vertical “billboard” in stores that consists of a message about Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting Serum on the shrouds over the security scanning devices at the door of a drug store or other outlet. And Olay has introduced, and merchandises in the store, kits for its new battery-powered cleansing brush that include extra heads, product communications, and other items. “Everything feels very Olay,” Becthold said.

Rawal said that Arc and P&G continue to apply this research to make the $80-billion brander a better shopper-marketer. “People are consumers up to when they display an active intent to purchase,” she said. “Then they become a shopper. And they can go into a store with no intention, and see one of the displays or efforts we’re talking about, and switch into shopper mode.”

Study Analyzes Shopper Reaction to
In-Aisle Display of General Mills Cereal
By Lynne Cooke

One of the industry’s top in-store marketing questions is:  “Is the display working?”

A recent study sought to answer that question. The objective was to quantify the impact of in-aisle fixtures and displays on shopper behaviors such as engagement, conversion and purchase choices.

The study, “Measuring Display Impact, Brand Messaging, and Shopper Behavior,” was completed by CART, the Center for Advanced Retail & Technology using ShopperGauge technology. ShopperGauge incorporates RetailNEXT, the in-store shopper monitoring platform from BVI Networks, and display and fixture products from RockTenn Merchandising Displays.

The results are compelling for manufacturers wanting to understand the impact of fixtures on their products in the aisle and for retailers wanting to understand the effect of fixtures on shopper behavior, aisle traffic, conversion and purchase decisions.

Conducted at the Green Hills, N.Y. live, in-store technology lab, the study tested the impact of introducing an in-aisle cereal display for General Mills cereal products and featured dominant messaging around “Whole Grain Goodness.” The eight-foot “Smart Showcase” display was visible from both ends of the aisle and prominently framed the General Mills cereal set, visually separating it from other products in the cereal category.

The study sought to validate that shoppers do indeed care about choosing healthy cereals and that messaging and displaying the products within this context could impact purchase decisions and convert more shoppers to buyers. The expectation was increased conversion and sales for the entire category and that shoppers would increase purchases of the featured brand even more significantly because of the appeal of the “Whole Grain Goodness” message.

The results revealed some surprising insights which give the manufacturer and retailer additional leverage for making business improvements and enhancing the shopper experience in the category. Cereal aisle shopper traffic (21% of total store traffic) averaged 23 seconds in the aisle. Fifteen percent of the aisle traffic stopped at the display, and 47% of those shoppers purchased a General Mills brand product.

During the test period, Green Hills shoppers spent 17% more on General Mills products than before. The number of shoppers who stopped and engaged with the General Mills brands increased by 200%, and overall shopper conversion increased 8%.

According to officials, the study summarizes key findings for manufacturers in areas including shopper purchase intention, conversion of brand-loyal shoppers, conversion of uncertain shoppers, and the impact of targeted messaging on transactions.

APRIL 2011

Market Watch
Digital Ad Solution Enables Brands, Retailers to Drive Sales

By Rose Anthony

MaxPoint, a leading digital retail advertising platform, and SymphonyIRI Group are partnering to deliver a first-of-its-kind digital advertising solution to brands and retailers  that seek to drive in-store purchases and measure actual sales lifts. 

This solution combines rich point-of-sale (POS) data, geographic precision, and advanced data mining techniques to allow digital advertisers using MaxPoint’s neighborhood-level solution find their most qualified audience and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns through SymphonyIRI’s independent post-campaign return-on-investment (ROI) analysis. For the first time, this enables brands and retailers to measure the link between digital advertising and actual incremental product sales in retail locations.

“The agreement is a significant step forward. It is the first time marketers can generate in-store demand using digital advertising for specific retail locations, measure their campaign’s impact and give marketers the confidence to continually optimize and grow their digital ad spend,” said Joe Epperson, CEO of MaxPoint. “Furthermore, this solution leverages MaxPoint’s easy-to-use platform to provide store level targeting on a national scale.”

SymphonyIRI Group is widely known as a leading innovative partner that helps clients transform insights into impact at every level of their organization—across sales, marketing, merchandising, category and brand management, as well as shopper marketing—to achieve high performance and growth.

“As digital media captures an increasingly larger share of consumers’ time and attention, retail targeted digital advertising is set to play in what was traditionally the domain of local radio and free-standing inserts (FSIs)” said Srishti Gupta, executive vice president, Emerging Media Solutions, SymphonyIRI Group. “SymphonyIRI and Maxpoint’s solution can help retailers and brands not only drive in-store sales but also measure and optimize such efforts. Understanding the return on these initiatives provides marketers the much needed tools to leverage the speed and precision of digital.”

NARMS Meeting This Month
The 16th annual meeting of the National Association for Retail Marketing Services (NARMS) is scheduled April 9-11 at the Portola Hotel and Spa in Monterey, Calif.

John Henderson of the Boston University School of Management will speak on the strategic impact of information technology, which is a critical component to the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing services industry.

More information is available at

Meal-Planning Kiosk Installed 
Rennoldson's Market in Naples, N.Y. recently added a ShoptoCook large touchscreen which allows shoppers to find recipes, look at the interactive weekly ad and find other helpful information while they are shopping.

ShoptoCook manages 900 interactive displays installed in over 350 supermarkets and independent grocers across North America. Their clients include such industry leaders as Schnucks, Spartan, Bloom, Brookshires, Price Chopper KC, Whole Foods, and Metro Canada.


Better Understanding of Shopper's Journey Helps Procter & Gamble Boost Brand Sales

Study Analyzes Shopper Reaction to In-Aisle Display of General Mills Cereal

Digital Ad Solution Enables Brands, Retailers to Drive Sales

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May 2011
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