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Brand Preferences More Influential in Driving Purchase than Price, According to Latest Grocery Manufacturers Association-Booz-SheSpeaks Shopper Marketing Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly half of food and beverage category shoppers and almost 60 percent of health/beauty and household goods category shoppers purchase their preferred brand even when a less-expensive alternative is available, with many shoppers using coupons and price promotions simply to justify purchasing preferred brands. This is according to the initial findings of a shopper marketing study released today by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Booz & Company and SheSpeaks. Titled Shopper Marketing 3.0: Unleashing the Next Wave of Value, the study is based on survey data collected from 3,600 shoppers across the food and beverage, household products, and health and beauty categories and across multiple retail formats.

“This research shows us that even in a recession, more often than not, shoppers are making purchase decisions based on factors other than price,” said Brian Lynch, director of sales and sales promotion for GMA. “This key finding reinforces the notion that there is significant opportunity to influence shopper behavior by having the right messages in place along the entire path to purchase.”

The study also revealed significant differences across product categories that make specific shopper marketing tactics more effective. For example, shelf signage and end-cap displays are nearly twice as effective in driving impulse purchases in the food and beverage category. This is reflected in a much higher incidence of impulse purchases for food and beverage shoppers (73 percent of shoppers making at least one impulse purchase per trip) as compared to the household products and health and beauty categories (41 percent and 39 percent, respectively).

“This new study captures real consumer insight and behavior, giving GMA and its members a much deeper understanding of the shopping experience and what influences purchases both in and out of the store,” said Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks. “By enlisting an online community of consumers as part of this study, we uncovered significant opportunities to influence purchases throughout the buying process. For instance, we learned that more than three-quarters of shoppers conduct research, often for an hour or more, before they shop and that 41 percent of items purchased were brands that the shopper had a strong preference for before entering the store.”

“Most CPG manufacturers have not yet aligned shopper marketing initiatives with other marketing capabilities that influence shoppers along the entire path to purchase such as trade promotions, relationship marketing and brand advertising,” said Matthew Egol, partner in Booz’s Consumer, Media & Digital practice. “The lack of alignment leads to disconnected marketing messages, wasted spending, and missed opportunities to drive purchase. For shopper marketing to fulfill its potential, CPG companies must manage it as a strategic capability that is integrated throughout the marketing value chain.”

The report also cites the need to identify shopper marketing effectiveness measures that will help companies focus resources on the most successful shopper marketing tactics. While there is no silver bullet for addressing the measurement gap, models are emerging, with leading companies studying the incremental profit impact from shopper marketing programs and building dashboard metrics that gauge shopper marketing's sustained impact on brand equity.

An executive summary of Shopper Marketing 3.0: Unleashing the Next Wave of Value is available online at www.gmaonline.org/publications. The complete report will be available in December 2009.