The term "path to purchase" refers to the journey or sequence of steps that a consumer takes from initial awareness of a product or service to the final decision and action of making a purchase. It encompasses the various stages, touchpoints, and influences that shape a consumer's decision-making process throughout their shopping experience.
In-store selection plays a significant role in the "path to purchase" process, impacting consumer decisions and influencing their choices. So the way products are merchandised in-store is key.
Strategies that can Influence Shoppers:
Visibility and Initial Attraction:
Merchandising can significantly impact the initial attraction of a product. Eye-catching displays, strategic placement, and creative presentation can draw attention, making a product or fixture stand out amongst a sea of products or fixtures in a retail store.
Well-merchandised products may trigger impulse purchases. Shoppers, influenced by the immediate appeal of a display, might make quick decisions to add items to their shopping basket. Many brands spend a lot of time and money to make their product 'stand out' on shelf, take advantage of this by ensuring products are forward facing and well merchandised on shelf.
Merchandising also contributes to shaping a stores perception. A well-organised and visually appealing display can convey a sense of quality and professionalism, positively influencing a shopper's perception of the brand. Unlike a messy or cluttered up fixture that may convey a lack of attention or professionalism.
Complementary Product Pairing:
Merchandising can guide shoppers towards complementary products. Strategic placement of related items may prompt customers to make additional purchases, increasing overall spending. Think about the shopper occasion and what they may need, for example Juice and breakfast cereals go well together but are not always merchandised next to each other, when categories are not positioned correctly it increases the search time and may lead to a missed purchases.
Competitive Pricing & In-Store Promotions and Displays:
Price is a critical factor in decision-making. Clear communication of promotions or special offers through merchandising can attract budget-conscious shoppers, influencing their decision to choose a particular product. Popular formats tend to be buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) but 2for or 3for etc. are also very popular. Loyalty programs tend to work well with loyal shoppers and increase the potential of repeat visits but make sure the discount is deep otherwise shoppers tend to dismiss them.
Extra Strategies that can Influence Shoppers:
Highlight Product Functionality:
Emphasise the functional benefits of your products. Clearly communicate how they meet the needs and preferences of customers. This can be done with on-shelf signage or POS and can make products stand out in the aisle.
Provide informative materials on the shelf or nearby. This could include brochures, QR codes, or displays that educate shoppers about the unique features and benefits of your products.
Facilitate customer engagement by encouraging product interaction. Consider offering samples, demonstrations, or interactive displays that allow shoppers to experience the product firsthand.
Feedback and Reviews:
Leverage positive customer feedback and reviews. Displaying testimonials or endorsements in the aisle can build trust and influence potential customers.
It's essential to strike a balance and recognise that while merchandising can capture attention and prompt impulse decisions, other factors such as product quality, functionality, and price still play critical roles in the final decision-making process. In essence, the in-store selection process is pivotal in shaping purchasing decisions. Retailers that understand and cater to consumer preferences stand a better chance of influencing shoppers.