BrainTrust Query: The Shopper’s Trophy, Part 2 – Creating the Crave
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from The Shopper Revolution, powered by MARS Advertising.
In order for an item to become an impulse buy, a shopper must become aware of the product and must perceive it as an opportunistic purchase. Opportunistic buys include suddenly-remembered purchases, good “deals,” something available for a limited time, or anything that is a bit unexpected but worth buying.
After those first two imperatives, it is possible that the product will land in the shopper’s cart. It may even be a slack budget expenditure. But without the third imperative, craving, it is still not a “trophy” purchase, the one she brags about to friends and family.
The quest to create craving is not new. It’s what marketers tackle every day. Grocery items considered “need-buys” could take some lessons from items considered “want-buys.”
Shoppers respond viscerally to the possibility of hedonic rewards: the aroma of the baking bread, the silky sheen of a chocolate fountain, the hiss of a soda can opening. These cues are found in nearly every airport and mall. While these are places of immediate consumption, grocery categories might adopt more of these techniques to rev up impulse.
It is the rare product that doesn’t have some sort of hedonic reward attached to it. The brands which have identified these rewards have set themselves apart. For example, strangely, family planning is far down on the “need-buy” list. Yet, there are fewer more sought after hedonics than sex. Trojan has begun to proliferate the category with fun flanker products, some of which surely help to sell the primary line. Axe deodorant knows about hedonics and has built a brand around it. Dog food is also deeply in the “need-buy” category, yet pet owners clearly delight in pleasing their pets. Why not have a surprise treat in every bag, like a cracker jack prize for Fido? It should be featured on the front of the bag.
A fast, emotional sell also relies on pictures. Shoppers react emotively and quickly to pictures. The most effective pictures elicit the emotional response of the brand benefit. For example, recently we saw a cartoon elephant close a sale for a woman shopping the tea aisle. The happy elephant made her smile and gave her a taste of how the product would make her feel at home. She bought it spontaneously.
Finally, the trophy purchase is extra-ordinary. To be a trophy, the product need be positioned as a treat and not something the shopper simply needs to buy. It is the “normal” category of mental accounting that must be transcended. It doesn’t have to be the Hope Diamond, but it should be something that (in the shopper’s mind) breaks with routine and adds to her spice of life — because the “spice of life” is the real benefit of the trophy.
Discussion Question: What drives a craving purchase in the in-store shopping experience? Overall, what conditions do you think are needed for food retailers to deliver a trophy purchase for consumers?