top of page
  • Writer's pictureDistil Design

What is Shopper Marketing?

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

Studies show that a large percentage of purchase decisions are different from the ones initially planned. One reason for this could be that the way customers behave when they are in a "consumption mindset" is very different from the way they behave when they are in a "shopper mindset". As an example, the needs & desires that drive the consumption of a product when sitting on a couch in front of the TV, could be very different from the drivers & barriers that exisit while shopping for that very same product at the store (or while shopping).

So how does one identify the difference in the consumer & the shopper mindset?

One way would be by clearly defining what we mean by a shopper. A number of purchase decisions are made before the shopper has even reached the shelf. These decisions happen along what is called the path to purchase. This path could be broken up into three stages of planning, purchase & post-purchase. A shopper, then, could be defined as someone who becomes one, the moment the need to make a purchase arises (at the beginning of the planning phase) and not when he is at the shelf (at the end of the purchase phase). Think of the time you realised that your toothpaste was over and you had to buy one. That is the time you became the shopper of a toothpaste, and not when you eventually ended up at the toothpaste aisle trying to make a choice.

In such a scenario hence, a far more effective intervention for communication could be one which happens at the time of this realisation, than at the last mile, where it might be too late and the shopper might have made their default choice.

So why is it too late at the shelf?

Data suggest, that unlike other mediums of communication, in the retail environment brands have anywhere between 3-5 seconds to effectively communicate with the shopper. This makes sense, since in that one instant when the shopper is at the shelf, they have a ton of brands trying to speak to them all at once.

It is said that de-selection is the biggest barrier at the shelf.

As humans we aim to simplify all aspects of our lives by something called as satisficing. A term coined to denote a decision-making strategy or cognitive heuristic for searching through alternatives until an acceptable threshold is reached. In shopping, this process is called de-selection, a step before selection, which entails the disregard of a majority of choices until a select few are placed in the conideration set.

So how not to be de-selected?

One way is disruption, another is relevance. While disruption is considered a short term strategy (since its easily replaceable) relevance is considered a better one. Consider yourself in a loud and chaotic cocktail party, with people talking over each other. The moment someone in another group speaks out your name, you notice it immediately. That is called relevance.

How do I build relevance at the shelf and convert shoppers into buyers?

One way of being relevant is by evoking emotion. No environment is emotion neutral. Its either emotion positive or emotion negetive. A famous Canadian neurologist said, "Emotion leads to action, while reasons lead to conclusions".

Brands want shoppers taking action at the store, hence it is crucial to generate emotions that are relevant and positive that will eventually convert a shopper into an action-oriented buyer!

Share a brief

Why not share your brand and preferred retail format and let us come back with our recommendations. Click the button below and scroll to the bottom of the page.


Distil Design is a shopper marketing agency that specializes in creating effective campaigns for brands and retailers. Our approach is rooted in distilling complex data into actionable strategies to drive sales and build brand awareness. Our team of experts works closely with brands to create impactful campaigns at the point of purchase. With over 15 years of experience, we help brands increase sales and navigate the shopper's purchase journey. Visit us at to learn more about our services.

15 views0 comments


bottom of page