A blog series on Shopper Marketing.

By Cyndi Pyburn 

I was grocery shopping last week in my typical ‘auto-pilot’ mode oblivious to everything but what was on my shopping list.  Mission:  get in, get out.  Motoring along, I completed my shop in less than 15 minutes – yay!  I was waiting in line to check out my $200 or so worth of groceries – the seamingly shortest line was near the frozen goods aisle.  As I waited,  I noticed that a small attempt to call out the ice-cream section was made with decorative, somewhat antiquated pink flags, I guess reminiscent of the old fashioned ice-cream parlour.  At best, it was a feeble attempt.  However, given that my check-out line wasn’t moving too quickly, I did notice and I thought, I’ll zip over and pick up some ice-cream and waffle cones.  Problem:  Where do they sell the cones?  Unfortunately, nowhere near the freezer section.  Talk about a lost opportunity.

Summer is a short, fun-filled season and ice-cream is symbolic of the lazy, hazy days of summer.  Especially since we here in Toronto have had an epically hot summer, it would be nice to easily buy this ‘dynamic duo’ and enjoy an ice-cream cone out on the back deck or by the pool.  If only manufacturers and retailers could put themselves in the consumers shoes.  The solution really is so simple …. end-cap display, corrugated in-aisle cone display …. perhaps a few coupons to get a discount on my ice-cream with waffle cone purchase?   Seriously, while I really wasn’t looking for a deal, I am looking to make my life easier and maximize my time.  I certainly wasn’t about to run all over a grocery store looking for ice-cream cones.  

Shopper marketing is an insights-driven marketing and merchandising initiative to satisfy the needs of targeted shoppers by enhancing the shopping experience and improving business results (and brand equity) for both retailers and manufacturers.  Time pressed consumers are not going to search patiently in a grocery store for a particular product …. they’ll buy a substitute or simply move on.  

In the end, I skipped the ice-cream purchase altogether and left the grocery store feeling disappointed.  How can something so simple be lost on so many?