Capturing Consumer Attention, Engagement: IMS 2014

“What draws shoppers in? What captures attention?”

These were the questions posed by Richard Winter, president of Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), during his presentation, “Fresh Shopper Behavior Insights to Strengthen Your Shopper Marketing Strategy,” during this year’s Store Brands Decisions Innovation & Marketing Summit held Feb. 26-28 in Chicago.

Winter presented findings from POPAI’s recent Shopper Engagement 2013 study of the mass merchandising channel, in which a group of shoppers across 26 major U.S. metro markets were enlisted to wear eye-tracking glasses in-store to chart their path to purchase.

On average, Winter noted, shoppers in mass retailers enter the store planning to purchase seven items and spend $41, with an extra $15 allotted for impulse purchases. This compared to the $50 shoppers planned to spend per trip according to POPAI’s Engagement 2012 study of the grocery channel.


In terms of media use pre-trip, the study found that 21 percent of consumers find deals and promotions from retailer circulars, followed by newspapers (18 percent), coupons (14 percent), electronic sources (9 percent) and television (2 percent).

Winter further categorized the types of consumer decisions made pre-trip in terms of category and brand, noting that 18 percent of shoppers’ purchases are “specifically” planned, constituting a known category and brand; 17 percent are “generally planned,” a planned category but unknown brand; 3 percent fall into the “substitute” category, in which both the category and brand are planned, but the consumer makes a brand swap in-store; and “unplanned” purchases account for 62 percent, in which neither the category or brand are planned pre-trip.


The highest in-store decision rate per category, according to POPAI’s study, are party supplies and magazines, each at 100 percent, following by gift wrap and women’s jewelry at 99 percent. The fresh fruit and dolls categories are tied at 66 percent for the lowest in-store decision rate, followed by deodorant and antiperspirant at 65 percent and laundry detergent at 63 percent.

Winter further presented the study’s “Impulse Triggers” analysis, in which he discussed those factors that cause unplanned purchases. “The mass merchant shopper is more often reminded by something in-store when purchasing an impulse non-grocery product,” he said. “This is likely a result from lower rates of overall planning and calls out the need for in-store signage and display to remind the mass shopper what he/she needs.”

In terms of in-store brand substitutions, Winter added that shoppers within the mass merchandise channel appear to be price sensitive as lower price points act as an in-store prompt for product swaps. When asked what motivates the in-store substitution, 22 percent said the brand they wanted was too expensive and the substitution was less so; 18 percent said they couldn’t find the brand they wanted; and 16 percent said the brand they ended up buying was on sale.

The categories in which brand switching happens most often include dishwasher soap and garbage bags at 8 percent, and laundry detergent and household cleaners at 7 percent.

“Brand switching is highest in mass retailer categories, brand loyalty is therefore inherently lower,” Winter concluded, “suggesting that any type of in-store promotion or deal will be most effective in these specific categories.”

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