The way consumers respond to in-store promotional messages and media is changing, with traditional media not necessarily as effective as it once was, according to the results of a new poll that surveyed 999 shoppers shortly after completing a shopping trip.
The effectiveness of promotional messages depends on the age and gender of the shopper, the message vehicle and whether or not the message is found inside the store or outside the store, the survey revealed.
"Convenience retail has a huge opportunity, because most c-store purchases are spontaneous, optional, sometimes planned and sometimes unplanned," said Curt Johnson, senior vice president, consumer industries for Miller Zell Inc., the firm that conducted the study. "New promotional technologies will help boost the ring. But how can convenience retailers best market to the young adult male coming in for an afternoon snack now? How do they convince him to purchase just one more item?"
In the survey, more shoppers (32 percent) rated in-store signage as "very effective" than they did out-of-store advertising, including television ads, billboards and other media (27 percent). Compared to older shoppers, though, Generation Y consumers (born between 1982 and 2003) were more likely regard both indoor and outdoor advertising as "very effective."
While the recession has two-thirds of consumers making shopping lists before they go to the store, Miller Zell found shoppers are making brand decisions 60 percent of the time after entering the store. More shoppers (70 percent) say they are engaged by end-of-aisle signage than by merchandising displays (62 percent), department signage (58 percent), shelf strips (55 percent) or shelf blades (50 percent).
How well different types of messages—product information, price discounts, etc.—are received depends on the age and gender of the customer. While nearly half of the consumers said they want product-comparison information, Generations X (born between 1961 and 1981) and Gen Y place more importance on that in-store trigger. Product quality information is more important to men than women—and more important to middle-income earners than folks in other income brackets.
No surprise, price tops the list of important factors when making a purchase decision: 70 percent of the consumers said price reduction influenced a planned purchase; 47 percent said they were influenced by an everyday-low-price message.
"People aren't noticing everyday low pricing messages as much in today's shopping environment," Johnson said. "But we are cautioning our retail clients to be careful of the precedent they set. If their shoppers are trained to expect those discounts, there will be dissatisfaction on the back end when the economy gets better, and the cents-off or dollars-off or percentage-off deals go away."