Digital shopper marketing is upon us – and for brands who are still lagging in terms of aligning their shopper expertise with their larger brand experience, you’re gonna have some people struggling to learn to run before they even really learned to walk. A solid base of shopper know-how in the present will go a long way toward preparing for the immediate future of digital shopper. But let’s say you are one of those intrepid marketers already tackling the world of digital shopper headfirst. From my perspective, I’m seeing a lot of those bold marketers saying, “How am I supposed to treat digital shopper efforts relative to my other digital consumer marketing efforts?”
How does digital shopper strategy relate to general digital strategy? How does digital shopper relate to digital targeting, digital media, digital commerce? What are the differences, and where do each of these elements connect?
Very good question. In this piece, I’m gonna briefly run through some of the differences to be aware of.
- In digital shopper, we target people not just on demographics, but on shopping and purchase-related behavior, too. We use things like retailer/store data and household shopper data to inform specific segments of people to go after.
- Whereas in consumer digital, we look at much broader demographic and psychographic attributes of a person to target with a product consumption or brand message.
- In digital shopper, we reach people in spaces and places where someone is more likely to be receptive to a purchase message (“in shopping mode”), usually around a specific usage occasion or timeframe.
- Whereas in consumer digital, we reach people in spaces and places where someone is more likely to be receptive to a message that drives general brand affinity, understanding of what the product has to offer them and longer-term brand engagement.
- In digital shopper, we focus on creating motivation and driving some sort of purchase action simultaneously. We use techniques that create purchase intent: promotional offers, value-added content, cross-category product suggestions, etc.
- Whereas in consumer digital, we tend to use longer-form modes of engagement; things that don’t always require “immediate” action or to purchase.
Obviously the question is: How do I account for these differences, or even capitalize on them in my work and structure in my organization? A lot of this is going to factor in to how you shape your digital shopper team.
As you’ve seen, digital in its application on the shopper’s path to purchase requires a unique skills perspective – not an easy task. Depending on your broader digital goals, it may make sense to create a senior role and team within your organization to own this specific function and area of integration. Either way, there needs to be a close working relationship between the agency leading the brand communications, the digital specialists who are living and breathing in their area, and those who are activating digital to reach shoppers at retail.
The key takeaway is that digital shopper marketing is part of shopper marketing. It all begins with a desire to understand and influence target shoppers in the right places with the right message, and create purchase behavior around that. Digital simply provides us with more tools in our shopper marketing toolbox to deploy a more targeted and relevant shopper message.
Mary Kotyuk is a Director of Shopper Marketing Activation based out of Momentum Chicago