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19 Apr 2016
posted by: Amanda

How to get to the starting line [RetailWorld article 2]


Getting maximum ROI from shoppers
Last time we talked about what success looks like when it comes to shopper execution. In this second article in the series we will cover Getting Started for shopper execution, i.e., how to make that ‘scary’ first step. We’ll cover:
⦁    How to get to the starting line
⦁    How to prioritise
⦁    How to build support within your business

Series Overview

Getting Maximum ROI from Shopper

I don’t know a single FMCG business in Australia today that isn’t under more pressure than ever before to reduce spend and yet is expected to achieve even more in terms of shopper & consumer execution.

This series of articles is designed to help you in this endeavour by showing you exactly how to get more ROI from your shopper team, insights & execution.

In this series of six articles I’ll cover:

  • Picture of success; what does successful shopper execution look like, who’s doing it well & why.
  • Step 1; getting started. Sometimes it can seem like everything needs doing at once. This article will help you prioritise the deliverables.
  • Step 2; understand why. Unless you know why your shopper execution is working well – or not - you won’t know how to increase your impact with shoppers. This article will help you get to the why factor without breaking the bank.
  • Step 3; proper planning. Prevents poor performance as has been drummed into us all. This article takes you through the 3 essential elements of any successful shopper execution plan.
  • Step 4; execute, measure & learn. You’re unlikely to get it right first time. Learn here how to measure the essentials and how to take it forward,
  • Step 5; start again. Going to the next level in your shopper execution & ROI. 

2.    Getting Started

Last time we talked about what success looks like when it comes to shopper execution. In this second article in the series we will cover Getting Started for shopper execution, i.e., how to make that ‘scary’ first step. We’ll cover:

  • How to get to the starting line
  • How to prioritise
  • How to build support within your business

1. So, how to get to the starting line

I’m quite lucky to have been able to work with most of the major FMCG payers in both Australia and the UK over the years and therefore have learned a lot about what successful shopper teams do.
Figure 1 demonstrates what I see average shopper teams doing; tenaciously focussing on their knowledge gaps. We’ll call these guys Team 1.


Figure 2 demonstrates what I see shopper teams doing that consistently gets great results; tenaciously focussing on their P2P gaps. We’ll call these guys Team 2.


Both teams have a steadfast focus on finding out why, but Team 2 takes it that step further by focussing on finding out where there’s a problem and ignoring the rest.

For example, Team 1 knows they don’t know:

  • Why shoppers browse the shelf but walk away without purchasing
  • Which type of promotion has the biggest impact on shopper pick up & why
  • Why shoppers avoid the aisle

Team 2 knows these 3 things too but they go one step further by asking whether they have a ‘problem’ in these areas or not. If they do, they jump in but if they don’t, they move on. Team 2 looks at their Conversion Funnel (Figure 3) and knows that although they don’t know why shoppers avoid the aisle, it doesn’t matter because 35% of shoppers do visit the aisle and this is good compared to the benchmark (green tick). So Team 2 will leave that knowledge gap alone because it’s not a problem. 

Figure 3: The Conversion Funnel


From the same Conversion Funnel, Team 2 knows that they only have an issue with browsers not buying and therefore the only knowledge gap that Team 2 pursues is to find out why shoppers spend time browsing but then walk away without purchasing. Team 1 goes after all 3.

Step 1 therefore is the concrete foundation for where the business needs to focus its resources.

2. How to prioritise

Prioritisation means putting a commercial ROI against all the things that you could do.

Taking each P2P gap in turn, (as it’s unlikely there’ll be just a couple as I have simplistically shown here), set a realistic target for improvement. A realistic target can be taken from the benchmark, a similar category or a category that has a similar problem. From here you can define what a realistic % conversion expectation could be.

In the above example 7.2% of shoppers are browsing but walking away empty handed. This may be twice the average. If so, it is realistic (albeit stretching) to set a browsing rejection target of 3.6% with perhaps a year one target of 6%. This would lead to a 1.2% increase in buyer conversion in year one and therefore a potential 16% increase in category growth. Getting your commercials together in this way will mean that a natural priority for shopper marketing & activation should fall out.

There’s nothing that excites a sales director more than knowing exactly where they’re going to get their growth from this year & with a 16% growth opportunity, you could be the answer to their prayers.

Prioritising is all about focus & putting a commercial ROI to the opportunity should dictate resources without subjectivity and agendas.

3. How to build support

As John McEnroe said at the Australian Open recently, 210 kph down the T solves a lot of problems and if you are presenting a 16% growth opportunity to the team, it’s unlikely that you’ll get too much resistance! However, planning for the less obvious opportunities I’d recommend the following 3 steps:

  • Invite key stakeholders & influencers to a 45-min presentation taking them on the journey from the very start. In this way when you eventually present the concrete proposal you already have buy in to an established process and don’t need to ‘sell’ them into it down the track.
  • Have no more than 5 opportunities to present and be prepared with a 5-min 1-pager on each laying out the problem, the evidence & your recommendation.
  • Most important of all, take personal responsibility. Remember, in shopper you are also a sales person and if you don’t have the enthusiasm to germinate, own & drive this idea, don’t expect others to back you.

A word of advice? Expect to win some and lose some but know that operating in this way you’ll have the best possible chance of success. At the very least….you’ll have made an excellent impression on your stakeholders for next time.

Maximum ROI for shopper activation is not elusive or magic, it is something that can be achieved through unswerving focus on a clear process. Make a start today and you’ll be getting significantly more from your in-store shopper activation in no time at all.

Good luck!