Knowing about what consumers would do before they walk into a store may be interesting, but not quite profitable in the long run.
Shoppers are not really so until they enter the store and they stop being shoppers the moment they leave. Their behavioral patterns are very different. So if you want to have some return of your investment you have to start paying attention to shopping behavior and understand shoppers better.
Did you know that the approximated average time all customers spend collectively in a typical supermarket every week is 20 million seconds (*) ? Each of which is a potential selling opportunity; that means 20 million weekly chances of selling your product.
And of those 20 million seconds, almost 80% of the shopper’s time is used for moving from one place to the other, but not for shopping… Most of that time is wasted because retailers and manufacturers don’t know what the shopper is doing during that time.
Now think about that the number of purchases by a single shopper on a usual trip is commonly one. If you compare that to the 20 million we mentioned before –all that time and just one item, the proportion is remarkably small.
The average supermarket might stock an average of 30 to 50 thousand SKUs, almost all of them passed by unnoticed. Households buy approximately 300 different items per year, and each of them might only attract 300 seconds of attention from all shoppers in a whole week –only 5 weekly minutes. Of course, those with better locations inside the store will get more of that attention than others, but anyways, customers are forced to stride through this profuse abundance of products to finally get to the precious items they really want.
Shoppers must come to the store to buy things, retailers create the stores to sell things and manufacturers create those things to be sold… So, what happened then? Sometime along the way we forgot to keep the eyes on the ball of that modern retail cycle, and we unintentionally created a gap between shoppers and the products. This gap can be a result of the interaction between retailers and manufacturers; more of the retailer’s profits come from brand promotion than from shoppers, leading to a highlight of promotional dollars at the expense of the shopper care.
This hurts retailers as well as manufacturers, and of course, their relationship with the shoppers themselves in long term bases.
Retailers have been focusing on traffic, but traffic alone doesn’t sell anything. If you want selling, you have to start focusing on traffic investing time, and for that there is no substitute for watching shoppers in the aisles of your actual stores.
Start paying special attention to the shopper’s behaviors inside your store, there are tremendous opportunities to improve sales and profits by understanding shoppers better!
(*) Source: The science of retailing . Herb Sorensen
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