Battle for Cart and Mind

The Battle for Cart and Mind
Consumer mode vs. Shopper Mode
By Adeel Ansari (Senior Brand Manager, Homecare GCC region – Henkel)
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This article was printed in the Slogan Magazine Pakistan but in a summarized form.
A couple of weeks back I had a chance to attend a seminar called Marketing to Women, where one of the presenters made a simple statement with profound implications. The idea that a consumer of your category (not necessarily just your brand/product) shifts modes from consumer to shopper the moment s/he enters a shopping area and with that comes a shift in mindset as well for that very person.
A statement like this is nothing new for the average marketing person, but if you think about it long and hard, it leads you to wonder why some times brands that have invested heavily to develop Top of Mind (TOM) and other image and equity measures tend to fall flat in sales. There must be something that drives their decision making beyond what they see, hear and experience outside the store front.
So while all investments on ATL and BTL may have helped you capture the mind of the consumer, getting your brand into the cart of the consumer is a slightly different battle on its own.
Thus the real battle for Cart and Mind takes place at the store front, where a consumer enters but a shopper leaves. Her experiences within the store will be defined by her shopper mode while her satisfaction on product usage outside the store will be defined through the consumer mode. 
Based on this notion, let me elaborate on this with a break-up of the two classifications for the target audience in question.

Consumer Mode
Shopper Mode

Who is our target audience
How does she shop?
Get in her mind
Get in her cart
Reason to buy
Reason to buy NOW
Emotional need
Practical Validation

Audience the first hurdle for many.
So you know from a brand perspective who your target audience is, you’ve looked at their social class, their psychographics, demographics, likes, dislikes, social needs, etc…now what? To be fair all this has just addressed one of the 5W’s and that is Who is your target audience and that in itself covers the Consumer Mode for most of us.
Now for the shopper mode you need to do a full 5W1H study of your consumer which includes other than the Who, the How, Why, where and when do they shop, along with what they shop for.
For instance, the question related to what a consumer shops for can vary because some consumers (i.e. in the shopper mode) shop for the category first and the brand second[1], while in some cases the consumer shops in tunnel vision. Now this may sound like a cliché but within the FMCG industry and more specific to homecare and personal care, the tunnel vision shopper is primarily a male, who is given a particular list of items to buy, along with brand name, size, variant, etc. and that’s exactly what he will buy – nothing more, nothing less.
Similarly studies show that top-up shopping trips, which happen mostly in traditional grocery stores and neighborhood shops have a high tendency towards brand specific sales vs. category sales – which means that the shopper has a preconceived notion of what s/he wants to buy and disregards any other brands in the category and goes for what brand he/she has in mind.
This has a very relevant implication for trade category managers and brand managers. It shows us that if you’re a category leader make sure you are present in grocery stores and lower trade at all times, secondly for the challenger brands it means focusing on gaining attention and TOM for the shopper in places where they are willing to invest more time and try new things, i.e. hypermarkets, supermarkets[2]
Task Getting in the consumer’s mind is half the battle.
Successful brands around the world have not only been able to capture the mind of the consumer through communication on ATL/BTL/Online along with consumer interactions such as sampling and trial generation but have also been able to translate that into off take at the store end.
At the store end, shoppers are willing to try new products based on a number of factors, e.g. out of stock for the main brand, packing of your brand, pricing, communication effectiveness on a particular occasion, etc.
The task for the marketer and trade marketing team is to ensure that visibility of your brand is not only flawless but packaging and other relevant touch points for the shopper are properly positioned.
You will see brands succeeding on packaging combined with great store execution – i.e. Brite washing powder changed its dark blue bi-layered poly bags to tri-layer metallic finished light blue shades of higher perceptive packaging and was seen as an instant top quality powder even though the powder inside was still the same yet previously it was considered a mid market product. They coupled this with excellent branding in-store to captivate the shopper and entice her to try this new revolutionary product.
Story and Incentive Two sides of the same coin
Shoppers are in the store to buy, but what they buy is based on what is there on offer. It is therefore important to make your brand relevant for the shopper at that point in time. This is an important step in a shopping mission such as Top Up for the month. During these shopping trips, shoppers are fixated on buying only the bare essentials to sustain them until the next pay day.
Here a story on your brand such as a twin pack offer at 20% off may be more than the required amount for the shopper, who could have survived on one pack alone but it may be enough to incentivize the purchase because the shopper feels that this offer is not going to be available next month, hence more spending this month, may save her spending in the next month. Thus justifying an emotional benefit in the consumer mode and passing it on to a practical validation in the shopper mode.
In conclusion, it is important to be able to differentiate between these two relevant modes of the same target audience for your brand in order to take advantage of all investments that help to build equity, TOM, awareness and other such measures that require validation on a sales level at the end of the day.

[1] Packaging Research needed to drive sales - | last visited 20th June 2011
[2] How to Shop Smarter – BBC Watchdogs - | last visited 20th June 2011
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