Resolution: Understand consumers’ paths to purchase

December 11, 2017By Behind the Shelf Blog, Data Analysis and Management, Resolutions

By Dave Wendland, vice president strategic relations, for the Resolutions blog series

It should be no secret that each shopper’s path to purchase is unique. Their reason for purchase, timing, and chosen outlet are likely different, yet when reviewing sales numbers, many companies make the mistake of homogenizing the data and making unsubstantiated assumptions. As long as the rate of sale is increasing, the majority of consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies seem satisfied with the result.

If this sounds strikingly familiar, then it may be an ideal opportunity to make two resolutions. First, ensure that your teams are not accepting the sales number at face value but instead digging deeply into identifying specific purchase personas and the likely paths to purchase. Second, consider how sales results could be positively influenced by placing your item in other areas in addition to the most common paths to purchase.

Investigating new ways to dissect the topline sales number more granularly will help you identify additional characteristics about shoppers and their intent. For instance, if your retailer partners offer loyalty card data it may reveal new insights regarding frequency of purchase, shopper demographics, or sales motivators (e.g., special promotion, pricing incentive, etc.). If you’re able to examine the full market basket of purchases it’s an opportunity to identify products that may be complements to your item which may potentially identify the particular need state or shopping occasion that drove the purchase.Customer in drug store

Regarding the second resolution, visualize the physical path to purchase for your item and alternative categories wherein the consumer may be looking for your item. As an example, even if your external pain relief product is typically placed alongside similar items, perhaps some of your customers are searching for it when shopping for a support or brace. What would it do for your sales if you were able to convince a traditional retailer to merchandise it both places or test this with one of your e-commerce retailers?

Thinking differently about a consumer’s individual path to purchase could hold potential new opportunities for your brand and for your sales performance.