Book Review: Shopper Marketing

Shopper Marketing: how To Increase Purchase Decisions At Point Of Sale, edited by Marcus Stahlberg and Ville Maila

This book is in many ways a confusing one, even though all of the complexity of this book tends to at least be connected to the titular subject matter of exploring the field of shopper marketing and seeking to provide insight on how one can market to those who are already in stores in order to encourage them to buy more things than they would otherwise do. The confusing nature of this book comes from the fact that most of the people writing essays as part of this book are themselves marketers who use their own personal experiences as marketers of one form or another as the platform to proclaim their own insights to fields, and because so many of the essays seek to increase the profitability of companies without always serving the interests or needs of the shoppers themselves. There is a high degree of cynicism present in this book and its material that makes it less than ideal in terms of addressing the well-being of the shopper within the retail model, but as a book that demonstrates the perspective and point of view of those who market to shoppers, the attitude of these essays, as fragmented as the views are, seems to be at least an honest portrayal of the writers themselves.

This book is between 200 and 250 pages and is divided into three parts and 34 essays. After a preface, acknowledgements, and introduction, the first part of the book contains essays that seek to define what is shopper marketing (I), including discussions of the science of shopping (1), points of view (2), the discipline and approach (3), seven steps towards effective shopper marketing (4), bringing the shopper into category management (5), the illogic of the customer (6), the importance of home (7), mega-trends among shoppers (8), understanding the decisions of shoppers (9), shopping currencies (10), and shopper solutions (11). The second part of the book discusses strategy on how to approach shopper marketing (II), including connecting, engaging, and exciting shoppers (12), retailing for the future (13), using retail media (14), integrated communications planning (15), conversion modeling (16), in-store measurements (17), turning shopper insight into practice (18), capitalizing on unrealized shopper demand (19), building loyalty (20), overcoming common mistakes (21), and dealing with the difference of definitions (22), retail partnerships (23), collaborating to ensure marketing execution (24), and putting the shopper into one’s marketing strategy (25). The last set of essays involves execution of shopper marketing (III), with essays on increasing profitability through promotions (26), Russia’s shopping environment (27), using emotional insight (28), cause marketing (29), looking at Tesco Fresh & Easy as a case study (30), pricing strategies (31), packaging (32, 33), and maximizing ROI with package promotions (34), after which there is an index.

In reading a book like this one, the reader is cautioned that at least some of the advice in this book is contradictory, and a great many of the writers are seeking to make a place for themselves as being insightful and worthwhile observers and consultants to those who are seeking to maximize their profits as retailers or as brands within a highly competitive world. This particular book was published in 2010, so there is a lot of recent technological and cultural change over the past decade that is not discussed. And some of the writers seek to argue for regional differences such that situations in Russia, to take but one example, are viewed as being closer to the “golden age of retailing” than the much grimmer picture in Europe, the UK, and the United States where competition is much more fierce and consumers much more wary of marketing efforts. While the book itself is written with the approach of data relating to customer behavior, some of the writers wisely question the assumption that shoppers make 70% of brand choices within stores as well as the presumption that 68% of purchases are not planned in advance. Such numbers are certainly not true of my own shopping, to be sure.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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