Shopper behavior has changed. Should your shopper marketing strategy change, too? | Retail Dive

Shopper behavior has changed significantly this year because of the pandemic, most notably as shoppers buy more online and spend less time in stores. That means traditional in-store shopper marketing tactics may not be as effective as they once were.

The shopping journey used to be linear, with pre-shop, shop and post-shop phases. Now, however, always-on, always-connected shoppers can shop any time using digital channels, specifically their mobile device. “Shopping used to be a place you go, now it’s something you do, almost anytime, anywhere,” said Josh Kovacs, Agency Partner, Shopper Marketing, Facebook.

Brands need to reach shoppers earlier in the journey

“As a result of this shift in behavior, the shopping journey begins before the shopper enters a store or clicks on a retailer’s website,” Kovacs said. “We now live in an encompassing digital ecosystem.” In that system, shoppers can effortlessly shift between researching a product on the brand site, comparing prices on various retailer sites and watching videos on social media of influencers using the product.

With easier access to pre-store research than ever before, shoppers can make up their minds about a product without retailers even knowing or having a chance to interact. Then, when shoppers are ready to purchase, they increasingly opt for pickup or delivery. If they go into the store, they are more likely to go straight to familiar shelves, get the product, make their purchase and leave. Although shoppers began spending less time in stores because of safety concerns from the pandemic, the ability to do pre-store research and the time saved from pickup and delivery options means these shopping changes may last long after the pandemic ends.

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Less time spent shopping in stores means fewer opportunities for discovery

“In-store shopping, which used to be an activity in itself, has become more expedited because of safety concerns,” said Kovacs. With customers spending less time in stores, there may be less opportunity to discover new products in stores, and brands may have more difficulty influencing product purchases.

Brands and retailers may want to think of new ways to connect with shoppers. Reaching shoppers throughout the buying process — especially during the pre-shop period — will be important in this new omnichannel buying journey.

An effective way to address these changes is with a Facebook shopper marketing campaign. Facebook and Instagram reach shoppers throughout the shopping journey, whether for inspiration, discovery, evaluation or purchase.

Connecting with the omnichannel shopper on the Facebook platforms

With this ongoing high level of activity and engagement, brands and retailers can easily impact shopping behavior. For example, when a shopper is browsing online, a well-placed marketing message next to posts from friends and family leads to seamless discovery that can influence a shopper to explore or purchase how they want to, whether that is online or in-store.

Reimagining shopper marketing with Facebook and Instagram

Facebook shopper marketing reaches shoppers where they are, even if they’re not in a store or even in shopping mode. “The visually and engaging nature of the platform, coupled with massive reach, scale and targeting capabilities make it an ideal destination to reach consumers and shoppers,” Kovacs said.

Best of all, Kovacs added, brands and retailers can tailor the shopper marketing campaign based on their business KPIs. Brands and retailers use Facebook and Instagram to amplify the scale and reach of existing shopper campaigns by:

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The Mars Agency recently partnered with Facebook to augment the company’s shopper experiences. “By leveraging new and innovative digital solutions on the Facebook platform, we’ve been able to keep up with the digital shopper’s needs and, ultimately, help drive business results for our clients,” said Ethan Goodman, Senior Vice President, Commerce Media and Innovation at The Mars Agency.

Facebook’s shopper marketing campaigns work for companies of every size, Kovacs said. “You don’t need a big budget to have a big influence on sales.”

Brands and retailers can target their audience and quickly create the right marketing message. Because it’s digital, Facebook shopper marketing tactics give brands and retailers the flexibility and agility they need. “For example, instead of a generic sales circular, we can partner with brands and retailers to give shoppers a customized digital circular based on the types of products that appeal to them, targeted to where they live and with the products that are actually available,” Kovacs said.

“That level of customization affects sales. Three out of four online shopping journeys include at least one visit to a Facebook app1,” Kovacs said. “Facebook research found that its shopper marketing ads drove incremental sales, bigger basket sizes and even an increase in in-store visits,” he added.

Shoppers’ behaviors are changing and will continue to do so. To stay connected with shoppers, brands must find new ways to connect with them, wherever they are.

With unparalleled scale, localized targeting, personalized experiences and flexible solutions, Facebook shopper marketing campaigns are ideal for helping brands and retailers reach shoppers throughout the journey and drive purchases both online and in-store.

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1e-Commerce Path to Purchase by Verto (Facebook-commissioned study Sample: 18+ online population in the U.S. who completed an online purchase Jan – Feb 2020. Fashion: 943; Grocery & Gourmet: 562; Health & Beauty 1463 online shoppers.​

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