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Marketing to the convenience retailer shopper

In an age where we are becoming ever reliant on services such as Deliveroo, Uber and Airbnb, convenience has never been more relevant.

Working hours continue to increase in tandem with the desire for increased work life balance, which means that we are continuing to strive to make the most of our finite hours of free time. And this includes shopping for food, cooking, eating and drinking. It is essential that brands are adapting their products and communications to shopper needs around convenience and are embracing the growing opportunity in convenience retailers such as Co-op. Understanding the way people shop when in the convenience retail environment and their mindsets is crucial if brands want to get their marketing right.

Key facts we’ve learnt about the convenience shopper and how to use them to market your product successfully in-store:

FACT: Shoppers only spend an average of 7 minutes in a convenience store There is only a limited window of opportunity to engage potential shoppers, it is therefore essential that brands use short copy or eye-catching imagery to grab attention. Always think about what will make shoppers stop and take notice by aligning to their specific mission, and highlight the product specific USP. e.g. “dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes”. Brands need to inspire shoppers and make it easy for them to shop, helping them to decide on your brand in just a few seconds.

With limited shelf space, and shoppers being increasing overwhelmed by choice, it is essential that brands fully work the space available and are merchandised with maximum shopper ease in mind. Brands often think shoppers are looking for ‘added value’, whilst this is true it is essential that brands appreciate their primary need is simplicity and ease so added value cannot be at the detriment of this.

FACT: Top up shops now account for 7 out of 10 shopping trips Brands need to adapt their communications to a ‘top-up’ shopper mindset if they are to resonate. Remember what works in one grocery retailer may not necessarily be right for the convenience store format and usage. This means understanding that shoppers are there with a specific item or meal idea in mind or knowing they are looking for something to add to what they already have at home. For example, highlighting that this sauce goes well with chicken.

FACT: It’s all about impulse and short-term purchasing; meal planning in advance is decreasing as shoppers continue to shop with a ‘meal for tonight’ mentality and are often influence in-store, buying on impulse.

The nature of a convenience store makes it easy for shoppers to pop in for inspiration there and then. To get cut through in this mission. Brands should ensure they inspire in-store with ideas shoppers may not already be thinking of, e.g. ‘This wine pairs perfectly with this pasta dish’ to encourage additional purchase in store. Think complementary products for a specific occasion or ingredients for a full meal. Cross-category engagement continues to offer success for brands are they look to drive shoppers around the store and find new customers in the process. These mechanics not only make effective use of budget by recruiting from outside the category in a complementary way they also help to inspire shoppers and take advantage of their impulsive nature. It is again about providing the full solution for a shopper, for example spirit x pairs perfectly with mixer y and garnish z, proving the shopper with the ease and inspiration they desire.

Encouraging shoppers to stop and think about your product is another way to drive impulse purchase. For example, combining ‘Have you tried?’ type messaging with clever media selection that prompts throughout the shop.

FACT: Shoppers typically come in with specific missions in mind, e.g. ‘meal for tonight’ or ‘a treat for the weekend’ and want brands and products which are relevant to their mission

Ensure you communicate to your target audience with USPs that will resonate with their current lifestyle and the specific shopper mission. The first step for any brand should be to fully understand the shopper mission being targeted and how their product can play a role in that mission.

It is vital that brands are mindful that product relevance is important to shoppers, so should adapt their story or brand message accordingly whilst staying true to the brand positioning. Brands who communicate with this purpose are seeing the most success in encouraging loyalty away from price promotion. Aligning campaigns to what is going on outside of store, so thinking about seasonality, weather, events etc. Help to ensure relevance of marketing communications in a convenience market.

Key take out? For an FMCG brand to win in convenience retailers, they need to understand why they would be relevant for a shopper who is on a here and now mission, and how they play a role in making the brand choice easy for shoppers in a short space of time. couple this with a simplistic creative which is clear and defined message will engage, excite and inspire shoppers.


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