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Into the Mind of the Shopper

June 6, 2011

How is it possible that the same shopper who will drive an extra mile for cheaper gasoline will stop along the way for a cup of gourmet coffee? Or why does the same person love shopping for some products and hate the process for others?

Peering into the mind of the shopper reveals a complex array of considerations and contradictions, but also an incredible vision of how decisions are made and how stores can best align with the many needs and wants of their customers.  The World According to Shoppers http://bit.ly/WorldAccordingtoShoppers, a study from The Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, provides exactly this tool and it’s a fascinating ride.

For instance, we learn how grocery shoppers juggle the competing goals of feeding their family, while on a budget, with limited time and a desire for personal satisfaction. It’s in balancing those goals that we get some insights into how shoppers make such seemingly contradictory decisions as scrimping for one product while indulging in another.

We also get a sense of the different need states that shoppers address on every shopping trip and how the same visit can look and feel so differently. I find it so interesting that homemakers divide neatly into two groups—those that love food shopping and those that loathe it. Likewise, there are supermarket shoppers who enjoy the food store experience and can’t wait to find something new to cook, while others are motivated by just a single aspect such as quick food or sale items.

Best of all, this study challenges a grocery store team to think about what drives their specific shoppers, and whether that force is enough to build success in a local market.

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council