I hear more and more often about the need for shopper marketers and category managers to think about shopping missions as the underlying construct for their plans. I totally agree. Brand managers think “consumer needs” to build their thinking. Shopping mission is a kind of the shopping equivalent.

Of course, at the macro level, this can be answered a number of classic ways.

  • Main shop or top-up shop
  • Shopping for today or later
  • For me or for them
  • Stocking up vs specific item

The most useful mission definitions are, of course, usage or user based.  Because these can unlock real value. There are well-executed examples in stores of this today, e.g. the lunch mission (meal deal), or the “big night in” mission (drinks and snack). Fairly easy to execute against these ones. And online, without layout constraints, can do it even better, “kids’ tea” deals, “dinner tonight” offers. I hope you have already thought these through for your category (i.e. you know your typical usage occasions or user types)?

A key route to growth – but lacks a source of insights.To drive category and brand growth through innovation or marketing strategy its usually necessary to steal share of throat/mouth in new usage occasion or with new users. Until now it had not been possible to get any information about the full nature of any specific occasion to fuel your thinking and help your targeting, or to support your plans.

In-depth profile of each shopping mission

As part of our huge survey program we asked shoppers to identify the actual or intended use for every food and drink product they bought across dozens of categories in all the major UK multiples. From over 100,000 respondents’ data we can profile any shopping mission in terms of:

  1. Which products “play” in that mission and to what extent
  2. The shopper behaviour profile of the mission on all our usual metrics

We profile the following shopping missions in depth:

Shopping missions in-depth profile

Download a free infographic about the top 4 categories that participate in each shopping mission. Another infographics shows you how shopping missions differ by shopper demographics and shopper behaviour. If you are interested in more details how shopper behaviour differs across different missions, you can get a full report (download example).

But here is one kind of shopping mission that gets missed far too often

Indeed, manufacturers tend to steer clear of it. The true shopper trip need…

For example, the “get in and out fast as possible” mission. The “I just need a….” mission, or the “I’ve only got £20 today to spend” mission. How about “I have to look after the kids today” mission? Or “just killing time” or maybe “I’m bored and lonely” mission?  I reckon there is loads more mileage around the store in understanding some of these better. And I don’t know about you, but they’d resonate with me far more often than the “big night in”.

How to execute? Well, maybe Pampers could sponsor the “play zone” or Knorr the “cooking demo” or Pringles the “what’s on at the local cinema” screen…or Nivea the “shop with a friend” initiative…and I note we keep being told that there is too much space in the store these days!

About the author: Roger Jackson is CEO of Shopper Intelligence, with 30 years of experience in marketing and consumer goods.