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How to get shoppers naked - secrets of overcoming barriers to purchase

How to get shoppers naked - secrets of overcoming barriers to purchase

By Simon Goodall, Director of Strategy, Saatchi & Saatchi X, (@ShopperX).

Thank you.  Of the thousands of offers of information that have passed your way today, you have chosen to read this. Or I should say, you have chosen to start reading this. I’ve probably lost some of you already.

But if you have got this far, I have managed to do what every journalist and blogger attempts to do, attract your attention and get you to read the first paragraph.

The role of a headline is not to explain the content of the article, but simply to overcome your first barrier to reading it (which is probably something along the lines of “I think I’ve heard it all before”).

It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that shoppers’ brains work in a similar way. Shoppers are, after all, just people making a choice from a very large number of options.

It means we need to take a new approach to creative thinking, one that starts with the reasons people aren’t buying and is single-mindedly focused on overcoming these barriers to purchase.

Here are 5 things you can do now:

1. Understand your shopper

You think you understand your consumer. But do you really understand what they have to go through before they arrive at the joyous moment of buying your product? Do you know how they feel when they buy it?

Where they go? What they buy it with? Do they even buy it themselves? Getting a deep understanding of how shoppers really think, feel and behave means looking beyond what they tell you.

When investigating why young shoppers weren’t buying a particular, trendy hair styling product, we found it was because the old fashioned hairsprays were located on the bottom shelf of the category.

What was happening was that as young shoppers approached the product category in-store, they would often find an old lady struggling to bend over to reach her favourite product. As a result our image-conscious target market just walked straight past, preferring to delay or simply go elsewhere.

2. Understand your barrier

Many brands encounter similar sounding barriers to purchase. One of the most common is ‘value’. Yet saying your product has a value barrier is like saying that fear is a barrier to skydiving. It’s evidently true, but not very helpful.

To surmount purchase barriers, you must identify precisely what the barrier is, only then can you find the insight needed to overcome it. When we faced the challenge of defending Pampers against cheaper, retail brands, the barrier was ‘value’. But the really inspiring insight into the barrier was that:

When mums feel that private label nappies provide as much care for her baby as Pampers, she chooses the lower cost option at shelf.

Once we identified this barrier, we developed the Pampers-Unicef promotion that promised to vaccinate a newborn child against tetanus for every pack that was sold. This added enormous value to the brand and demonstrated how much Pampers cared, as well as giving mums a simple, tangible way to save a baby’s life. 200 million vaccinations later, the campaign is now entering its 4th year.

3. Think beyond the store

Shopping does not begin and end in the store. Rather it is an on-going cycle of planning, execution and evaluation. In this era of paralyzing choice and economic pressure, 75% of consumers claim to only buy what is on their shopping list.

When we learned that mums stopped visiting the baby aisle once their babies stopped using nappies, it dramatically affected how we marketed products for toddlers, such as Kandoo. By using loyalty card data to target them before they reached the store, we gave them a reason to put Kandoo back on their list again.

4. Help them find their way

If shoppers don’t visit your category, you might as well forget everything else. For Fritolay in WalMart, we learnt that female shoppers hated going into the ‘forbidden zone’ of snacks. By using the healthy ingredients of dips to attract shoppers into the category, we saw snack sales soar.

5. Solve problems and enhance occasions

It takes a lot to change shoppers’ habits. Simply telling them how great you are is unlikely to cut through. Instead, seek to provide solutions to shoppers’ issues. Just yesterday, I found myself at Heathrow airport with a pretty specific shopping mission.

Having left my bag of toiletries at home, I needed to buy a complete set of travel size personal products under 100ml. Having visited five aisles and put five of my trusted brands in my basket, I noticed a Nivea travel pack and chose that instead. In an instant, years of brand loyalty were destroyed with a simple yet inspiring solution to my problem.

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