Chapter 1:
Shopper Insights vs. Consumer Insights

Shopper insights focus on a segment of the shopper’s journey—the path to purchase or the purchase process—while consumer insights target who will ultimately use the product or service.

The shopper and the consumer may be the same person; however, this isn’t always the case. In this case, it will be more helpful to obtain shopper behavior research that examines shopper insights and consumer insights separately.

Shopper Insights vs. Consumer Insights

Since the shopper may not be the consumer, the focus of the path to purchase will be different from who will use the product. For instance, a mother will likely buy deodorant for her teenage son. What drives the mother’s purchasing process as a shopper might be value or efficacy. While what drives the son’s usage expectations as a consumer might be brand-centric or the overt benefit.

Shopper insights can reveal why people aren’t behaving as expected, while consumer insights tend to logically explain behavior. Consumer insights will take little or no account of real-world factors like the point of sale material (the physical location where a product is purchased). For example, have you ever left a store with something different than what you intended on buying? That is a first-hand experience of how insights about a consumer won’t match up with insights about the shopper. Shopper insights will help account for the context, explaining why people aren’t behaving as expected based on just consumer insights.

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Shopper insights produce an accurate read on actual buying behavior, while consumer insights provide what consumers believe they want and do. For instance, in a two-hour focus group on mouthwash, you may hear a great deal about long-term oral health and formula. However, suppose you stand and observe in a gas station at two o’clock in the morning. In that case, you may discover that mouthwash purchases are driven more by proximity to the checkout register than any other factor.

Consumer vs. Shopper Insights Example: Packaging

Shopper insights are a form of insight into the action and decision making of people considering or buying products or services. Shopper Insight can be applied to improve equity, sales and profitability of a brand, category or store through shopper-centric changes to the retail environment and its messaging.

Like other types of insight, they can help to explain the motivations, unravel the meaning and decode the elements of shopper behavior. Importantly, insights can explain what is not happening as well as what is happening. Such insights can be a powerful aid when it comes to making smart decisions within your business.

Establish shopper behavior through Stopping Power, Shopability, and Activation.