6 Effective Shopper Marketing Examples

In the movie Horton Hears a Who!, based on the famous book by Dr. Seuss, the people of Whoville (a town small enough to fit on a speck on a flower) have to prove their existence before their town is destroyed. After many failed attempts, they eventually use a device called a “Symphonophone” to produce a noise loud enough to let the giant figures around them know that they do, in fact, exist.

Standing out as a brand these days can feel much the same—which is why it sometimes takes a little creativity to make sure you’re reaching your potential customers. You have products you know they’ll love…now how do you capture their attention and ultimately make the sale?

This is where applying a shopper marketing strategy can be a huge amplifier for your brand. Shopper marketing allows brands and retailers to focus on the people who make purchasing decisions, moving them along the path from browsing to buying. This strategy of prioritizing the shopper can take many different forms. Shopper marketing can include both long-term programs and limited-time campaigns, and they often offer an omnichannel approach that spans the divide between brick-and-mortar retailers and ecommerce.

In this article, we’ll look at six effective shopper marketing examples, walking through how brands have worked to influence shopper behavior, secure sales, and create loyal customers.

1. Kroger’s Plus card: providing an expansive loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a mainstay of shopper marketing, and Kroger has one of the most expansive examples out there with their Plus card. They have thousands of locations across the US, including their regionally differentiated stores like Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, and many others—and the same loyalty card works across all of them.

The Plus card motivates shoppers through sales and special promotions only available when using the card. Additionally, shoppers can earn fuel points with every purchase, ensuring they use their card during checkout regardless of whether there’s an active promotion. In turn, Kroger has accumulated a wealth of shopper insights.

Kroger launched their loyalty program in 2003, and they’ve made many improvements since then. These days, the card works both in stores and on their website, and it’s paired with a mobile app that gives shoppers access to additional digital-only coupons. This opens up a whole new avenue for targeted and beacon-based marketing campaigns.

2. Hillshire Farms’ beacon campaign: reducing indecision during purchase

Shopper marketing often features a last-minute appeal to the shopper, right when they’re about to make a purchase decision. This can help the shopper move past their indecision to select your product for purchase. And that’s precisely what Hillshire Farms did with a marketing campaign for their American Craft sausage links.

Partnering with inMarket’s Mobile to Mortar network, they deployed beacons across supermarkets including Kroger, Walmart, Safeway, and Target. They then used third-party shopping apps to reach out to shoppers with customized messages at the moment they were standing next to Hillshire Farms’ products in the stores.

The campaign ended with strong results. Having received over 9 million brand impressions and more than 194,000 engagements, Hillshire Farms lifted their brand awareness by 36 percent, and they increased the purchase intent for American Craft products by 20 times.

Effective shopper marketing addresses indecision at the point of purchase, giving your customers a reason to choose your products. 

3. Sanpellegrino’s virtual sampling: delivering educational content via AR

The COVID-19 pandemic caused brands and customers alike to make drastic shifts in their behavior. With concerns about spreading the virus, as well as the fact that shoppers were staying home more than ever before, brands were unable to offer in-store samples in the manner they had been accustomed to. Additionally, people were missing many social activities, particularly around the holidays, such as going to a bar to enjoy a cocktail.

Sanpellegrino recognized the opportunity these problems presented, and they came up with a shopper marketing campaign to tap into that desire. In order to test their new cocktail mixers, they partnered with The Mars Agency to create an augmented reality experience for Sam’s Club members.

After scanning a QR code, members were taken to a web app that virtually placed a 3D recording of a bartender right in their living rooms or wherever they happened to be. The bartender then demonstrated how to mix the cocktail of the shopper’s choosing, and of course it featured the Sanpellegrino mixer.

The virtual sampling campaign resulted in an 8.5 percent return-user rate.

4. Treasure Cave’s collaboration with Frank’s RedHot: promoting like products together

Sometimes shopper marketing can mean partnering with compatible brands to promote each other’s products together.

Treasure Cave, a maker of specialty cheeses, wanted to expand their reach and get shoppers to find their blue cheese products in the dairy section of the grocery store. Working with the Hangar12 Agency, they started by gathering shopper insights to analyze their customers’ current behavior.

Based on their findings, they determined that a collaboration with Frank’s RedHot would be mutually beneficial to both brands. They additionally worked with the website SeriousEats.com to create custom recipes featuring both brands, as well as sponsored posts and banner ads to promote them. And they each modified their packaging to cross-promote the other brand, including coupons for additional savings.

As a result, they saw an increase in both base and incremental sales over the 12-week campaign.

5. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign: engaging with shoppers on a personal level

Coca-Cola has long been a household name, and they leveraged the established familiarity of their brand in their “Share a Coke” shopper marketing campaign. They made the bold decision to completely drop their logo from its usual place on their bottles and cans, replacing it with the names of consumers, along with the suggestion to share it with them.

But this campaign wasn’t limited to redesigned packaging. Not only could shoppers find the names of friends on products in store, but they could also visit an interactive website where they could virtually personalize their own bottles and cans with whatever else they might want them to say. And Coca-Cola even sent out a nationwide tour that included a traveling kiosk which made customized cans and bottles on demand.

Additionally, consumers could share on social media using the #ShareaCoke hashtag with the possibility of being featured on interactive billboards. And Coke also used their Coca-Cola Freestyle mobile app to allow users to send coupons to their friends.

Of course, Coca-Cola didn’t undertake such a massive campaign on a whim. They planned it based on meticulous shopper research, and they performed trial runs in multiple countries before bringing it to the US market. And it all paid off.

The #ShareaCoke hashtag was used 89,000 times on Twitter and 496,000 times on Instagram. Over 6 million users visited the website and made virtual bottles, sharing over 800,000 of them on Facebook. And they saw a dramatic increase in sales volume (+11 percent), revenue (+11 percent), share (+1.6 percent), and velocity (+10 percent) compared to the prior year.

6. Char-Broil’s Where to Buy implementation: tracking shopper behavior across retailers

One of the most important elements of shopper marketing is understanding how and where shoppers purchase your products. When Char-Broil realized that online purchases of their products were increasing, they wanted to gain insights into exactly where those purchases were being made, so they turned to PriceSpider’s Where to Buy solutions.

PriceSpider worked with Char-Broil to customize a Where to Buy tool that matched their branding, displayed local and online sellers together, and highlighted stock availability. After only two months of using the tool on their product pages, Char-Broil was able to gain valuable shopper insights.

For example, they learned that 77 percent of shoppers clicked through to one of Char-Broil’s trusted retailers, 23 percent bought directly from their ecommerce website, and only 1 percent asked for directions to purchase locally. They were also able to see other products shoppers bought at the same time, where they went after browsing, and much more.

Speaking about their experience with the Where to Buy tool, Char-Broil’s Ecommerce Manager Matt Weiss said, “Being able to quantify the role Char-Broil.com plays in the consumer journey has been a huge win for us internally. We’re able to understand our retailer relationships better, our product line better, and overall better understand the role we can play as a manufacturer in the direct-to-consumer space.”

Gain shopper insights for your brand

No matter what ideas you come up with for your shopper marketing strategy, you’ll need shopper insights to make it work. And in today’s omnichannel world, you’ll need to understand shopper behavior wherever they make their purchases, whether that be brick-and-mortar stores or online.

Our Where to Buy solutions deliver those insights via our live-reporting dashboard, giving you an at-a-glance overview and allowing you to delve into the details of how customers browse and buy your products both in stores and online.

Interested in learning more?
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