Marketing to Multi-​Channel Consumers

As more products are carried in several types of stores, consumers are taking note. Instead of buying all of their products at one location, consumers are shopping in several types of stores on a weekly basis.  Recently published data from Nielsen shows that shoppers who frequent more than one type of store are often the ones who buy more of everything.

Specific product categories are more likely than others to be purchased across channels. Understanding these shopping patterns can help both manufacturers and retailers allocate marketing budgets more efficiently and increase sales.

The following list shows the percentage of consumers who purchase the products across 3 different channels (think grocery store, drug store and discount store)

  • Paper products 30%
  • Snack foods 29%
  • Carbonated beverages 24%
  • Detergents 21%

Categories that are most frequently purchased by consumers in one type of store are:

  • Disposable diapers 52%
  • Coffee 50%
  • Vitamins 48%
  • Cough/​cold medicines 47%

Writing for Nielsen, Todd Hale notes that toilet tissue is one category that has been fragmented as consumers seek the best deals and are willing to purchase large quantities to get the best price. This trend leaves grocers who have traditionally enjoyed a significant market share in the sales of some of these products in a difficult situation. Hale suggests that the now nearly ubiquitous loyalty cards can help retailers increase each consumer’s per trip expenditures. Another popular strategy has been to reward loyalty with discounts on gas purchases.

At the same time, manufacturers must use their distribution channels to get their products into the right places at the right times. To help retailers differentiate themselves, manufacturers could offer varying vendor discounts and reimbursements or even slight variations of product lines.

Marketers who work with their distribution partners and focus on consumer behavior while designing promotions will also be the ones who benefit when consumers go shopping.

[Source: Hale, Todd. Build Bigger Shopping Baskets. NielsenWire​.com. 2 Nov. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.