Wonder why you go to the supermarket for a quart of milk and leave with $30 worth of other stuff? It’s no accident. The secrets behind sneaky merchandising are found.” So read the teaser for CNBC’s airing of “Supermarkets Inc., Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine.”
But are supermarkets really better today at influencing consumers to buy products than in the past?
Look no further than the declining share of dollars they capture to see that traditional supermarkets as a class have ceded their market position. In 2001, Walmart became the largest food seller. More recently, other big-box, club, dollar, and convenience stores have dramatically grown their portion of food purchases.
However, supermarkets can and do grow their influence by better harnessing pre-store and in-store marketing opportunities.
Why pre-store? IRI asserts 80%+ of shoppers now decide before the store which CPG products they’ll buy. 70% of shoppers research grocery products online, according to research cited by marketing agency G2. And a recent report from the GMA/Booz showed how digital, which provides more agility for retail marketers, has eclipsed FSIs in influencing shoppers before their trips.
Why in-store? Manufacturers and retailers agree in-store marketing provides higher ROI than online, print, TV and all other media, according to research from the GMA and Deloitte. But in-store activities need to be measured. ICC/Decision Services found that more than 3 in 10 of in-store sampling programs didn’t meet simple execution guidelines.
Retailers can find greater opportunities to influence purchases by (1) greater participation and experimentation with more pre-store marketing and (2) NOT just participation, but better measurement and optimization of in-store marketing.