What really ends up in the basket – Needs vs. wants

by | Feb 20, 2017 | Uncategorized

Needs vs. wants: what ends up in the basket

One of the big questions brand and retail marketers want to know is…”What really ends up in the basket and why did they choose that one?

Even when considering the most careful planner, According to AC Neilson, every shopping excursion comes down to a question of needs versus wants.

In Australia, 20% of grocery shoppers do not use a shopping list, but of those that do, 88% deviate from this list when making purchases.Why? Needs vs. wants! When it comes to in-store decision making 96% of consumers buy purchases that were not intended with the average shopper spending at least 12% more than intended on trips to the supermarket. Wow what an opportunity for the savvy Brand marketer! Needs vs. wants.

What gets planned when it comes to the supermarket shop?

Planned items on the average consumer’s list tend to be the necessary items like milk, eggs, produce, pet food and medications.  The items that fulfill basic living needs and require the least amount of shopper engagement when making the decision are what tend to make the list. The list items are those items that people tend to purchase while on autopilot. Here the key marketing strategy companies rely on is brand loyalty fostered by pre-store above and below the line influencers.

The above said, in 2015 the Deloitte, American Pantry Study the report stated that “Brand loyalty has been decreasing in three out of four packaged goods categories since 2011,” The same study found that store brands are preferred for value and availability, while national brands are chosen for emotional reasons.

The fall of brand loyalty

As brand loyalty falls, at-the-shelf decisions are on the rise. This is creating a massive opportunity for Brand marketers to influence more unplanned purchases while consumers are in the store. “Items that don’t make shoppers’ lists are typically non-essentials, most often those in the non-food category. In fact, nearly all non-food categories that show significant capacity for reminder purchases come from the personal care aisle,” (Neilson 2016).

Research has indicated that indulgent and infrequent purchases have higher levels of consumer engagement, reflecting that consumers make these decisions based upon what they want. BASED ON WHAT THEY WANT!!!

These are those purchases with which the consumer has greater freedom of choice, causing them to spend more time considering their options in the aisles, in turn giving marketing strategies greater influence upon consumer decisions made at the shelf. This is the major reason why savvy Brand marketers are turning to their product packaging design to deliver them with competitive advantage at the shelf.

“Impulse buying isn’t limited to the non-food areas. Items like gum, breakfast bars and popcorn have as much likelihood to get picked up by browsing shoppers as deodorants and certain lotions” (Neilson 2016).

The “I Want” market is wide open to those Brand marketers who can see their way to using the retail shelf as a bill board for influencing the consumer to put them into the shopping trolley.

What grabs attention the quickest at the shelf?

In store studies have show that the following attention grabbers work best as purchase influencers in store.

  1. Discounted prices are the number one influence in unplanned decisions,
  2. followed by free samples and
  3. announcements made over the intercom about other special offers.
  4. And, as more people bring their smart phones to the store with them, a growing trend in mobile coupons and promotions is becoming visible.

The above said. not all on-the-spot purchases are motivated by price. Many impulse buys are triggered by visual cues that help people remember the products that they had originally forgotten to add to their lists. Over half of customers were moved to make a purchase based on the desire to try something new, whether it was from a brand that they knew and trusted, or it would simply make their lives easier.

At the end of the trip, no matter what has ended up in the basket, if the shopper really stopped to think about it, they would quickly conclude that they were definitely not alone in making the decision that got their shopping items there. Therefore the BIG Question Brand marketers must ask themselves constantly is…”How can I use the current on-shelf real-estate (including the packs already on the shelf) to deliver more sales?