Navigating the Shopper Universe through Big Data

Taking on the challenge of understanding the motivations behind why shoppers buy what they buy, and how they buy it, could pay off in manifold ways. “There are lifestyle tensions that impact shopping behavior for each shopper segment, but these tensions often extend beyond the store: time stress, finan­cial pressure, and information overload,” explains John Esse- gian, executive vice-president at TNS Global. “Retailers can increase their market share with each segment by understanding and addressing these important lifestyle tensions.”

TNS Shopper Universe is a large syndicated database that maps competition for Grocery, Mass/Supercenter, Club, Convenience, Dollar Store, Drug, Natural/Organic, Pet, and Home Improvement retailers. It shows how shoppers perceive the marketplace, shopper segmentation for targeting, and occa­sion-based need segmentation detailing what’s most motivat­ing to shoppers on each trip. The database provides retailers and manufacturers with a comprehensive understanding of this broad marketplace, and the key drivers of choice for shoppers.

“Shoppers’ functional needs are generally well met,” Essegian says. “Yet, opportunities exist to engage shoppers more emotionally, such as helping them simplify their lives, leveraging modern technology, and creating a more experien­tial shopping trip.” TNS identifies nine occasion-based need states. Just over half of shopping trips, defined by consumer needs, are more experience-driven, whereas the rest tend to be task-focused.

1. Experience-Driven Needs

The experience-focused need states break down as follows: (1) Smart Fami1y Fun: These consumers want shopping to be fun, relaxing, and productive (so they can take care of family needs). They expect enjoyment to be facilitated by technology aids, a convenient and pleasant in-store experience, and good value.

Only the Best: Needs on these shopping trips are for top-tier brands, often outside the mainstream, including fresh, healthy, and natural products. (3) Rewarding Experience: This shop­ping is uplifting and inspiring, thanks to the combination of the retailer’s values, great staff, and interesting and unique prod­ucts. (4) Food Safari: Shoppers want this kind of trip to be more than just stocking up on staples; they want a little adventure and exploration. It’s a chance to try new and different products such as exotic, gourmet, organic, and healthy items.

2. Task-Driven Needs

Task-focused need states shake out as follows: (1) Weekly Gro­cery Shopping: These shoppers want every item their family needs for the week under one roof. The store needs to have a wide selection of packaged and fresh food items. This shopper looks to coupons and quality store brands to help stay on bud­get. (2) Hassle-Free Value: The shopping trip should be easy and efficient, providing good deals and incentives while cov­ering all brand needs, from premium to quality store brands. (3) Personal Care Plus: These shoppers are looking for a store with a good selection of personal care and household items that they can shop at any time of the day or night. They also want a good selection of snacks and beverages. (4) All-Around Value: These shoppers want a place for stocking up and bargain hunt­ing, with everyday low prices, great specials, and economical package sizes. Hours should be convenient, and it should be a place that kids enjoy. (5) Grab and Go: This is about fulfilling an immediate need to quickly and easily grab a snack, beverage, or fill-in item at a store located on the shopper’s normal route.

Most generalists, such as grocery, mass, and club retailers, have an incentive to align to both task-driven and experiential need states. Specialty stores tend to be more associated with experiential shopping. While each segment participates, to at least some degree, more engaged shoppers tend to have more experiential needs.

Source: Barry Berman, Joel R Evans, Patrali Chatterjee (2017), Retail Management: A Strategic Approach, Pearson; 13th edition.

1 thoughts on “Navigating the Shopper Universe through Big Data

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