Research which shows that nearly nine in ten consumers – 88%  – typically now plan their shop prior to physically visiting a supermarket underpins the need for FMCG manufacturers to devote more resource to understanding more accurately what motivates shopper decisions.

The research, commissioned by UK & Europe, illustrates how important it is for FMCG manufacturers to plan their marketing in a way that better influences shoppers’ purchasing decisions before they arrive in-store or click to shop online, as well as understanding what motivates them after purchase.

This, says Bridgethorne, the category management and shopper marketing specialist, may require a mind-shift for some manufacturers towards understanding and influencing how shoppers behave at each point of their purchase journey and how this fits in with promotional activity in-store.  In this age of the digital shopper and ever changing shopper behaviour, FMCG suppliers need to be concerned about the entire path to purchase (pre, during and post), in-store and outside if they are to remain competitive, relevant to shoppers and to deliver the best possible return on hard fought budgets.

“This research confirms a trend that manufacturers simply must factor into their planning,” explains Bridgethorne director, John Nevens. “Although many buying decisions are made at shelf, more and more are being made before the shopper even leaves home. With conventional forms of marketing becoming fragmented, manufacturers must work harder to get their products onto shoppers’ lists before they arrive in store or go online.”

“This,” says Nevens, “means understanding the shopper better and drilling down into insights to gain a detailed understanding of the shopper and their journey so that you can directly influence them at the point of transaction, wherever that may be.”

Shopper behaviour may have moved decidedly towards price comparisons and promotions in response to the economic environment but, Bridgethorne says, this research also shows that focusing purely on cut-price promotions in-store is not enough. Manufacturers also need to understand shoppers’ emotional attachments to brands and products.