Provided by Andrew Arnold, senior insights director at Shopper Intelligence New Zealand.  

"Every grocery shopping trip is pretty much the same, right? You park the car, walk into the store, grab a trolley or a basket and set off to get the things you want. A certain amount of time later you pay for your purchases, pick up your bags and load them into the car. Job done. Lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat.

Except that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you’re picking up a few things for dinner on the way home. Other times it's your lunch break and you’re picking up something quick and easy. Maybe it’s a hot day and you’ve stopped off with the kids to get ice creams. Or maybe, its that mercy dash to get some carpet cleaner and man, you gotta hurry before that stain sets.

The Rise Of Mission & Occasion Based Shopping

More and more than ever before, the Kiwi shopper is heading to the supermarket for a reason other than the main grocery shop. Make no mistake, the main shop is still the biggest single reason why people go to the store but over time other reasons are becoming far more important. At Shopper Intelligence we survey the Kiwi shopper to better understand the reasons for going to the supermarket and how that varies across categories, segments, brands and retailers. And over the past couple of years, it has become apparent just how quickly the Kiwi shopper is becoming a mission-based shopper. In 2018, 6 percent more shopping trips were driven by a specific mission or occasion than compared with the prior year. We expect this trend to continue in 2019 and potentially even accelerate.

Different Missions Have Different Needs

But why does this matter? Put simply, a shopper on one type of mission has different needs than a shopper there for a different reason. Let’s use an example to illustrate. Think of the disposable nappy shopper. This person is usually price conscious, highly engaged with the category and is quite likely to be buying in bulk, and there is a tendency to gravitate towards bigger value packs. This leads to the situation where retailers often lead with the large bulk packs on promotion which act as traffic drivers, pulling in shoppers to stock up. This shopper has plenty of options. This is the kind of category where shoppers know what they need, plan to buy and promotions can make them choose where they go to the shop. Now consider the disposable nappies shopper who is racing to the store because, shock horror, they’ve run out. A whole different set of circumstances is at play here. Instead of a promotion driving them in, store proximity has probably been the determining factor. When you’re in this situation, price isn’t playing as strong a role. Instead, availability is crucial – this shopper will buy the first pack size they see because their mission is different. This isn’t a stock up mission where they have the luxury of shopping around, this is an emergency. Same category, completely different occasions with different rules of engagement.

Store Setups Need To Reflect Shopper Missions

Consider also food categories and how missions differ. The simple, humble pack of bread rolls means different things depending on the mission you’re on at the time. To shoppers on a main shop, bread rolls are what they pick up when they reach the in-store bakery or bread aisle. It could be habitual, it could be impulsive but either way, they are probably picking it up from the main location. But for the shopper who is on their way home from work with only the occasion or mission on their mind – dinner – then locating the bread rolls beside the Hot Chicken is a solution to a need, the need to find something for dinner. This shopper may well end up walking the whole store to make that logical connection between a hot chicken and bread rolls but creating a solution for a time-poor shopper with a mission in mind is more likely to result in a satisfied one. Price often gets trumped by solutions for mission-based shoppers - providing a solution like this might make them spend more but a positive experience has been the result, leaving open the possibility of repeat business. Setting up the supermarket with solutions to various missions is a growing trend internationally and is the way of the future here as well. Talk to us to find out more out how your shoppers shop, which occasions are key and how you can set them up for success."

Shopper Intelligence interviews over 100,000 shoppers in Australia and over 40,000 shoppers in New Zealand across the Supermarket, P&C and Traditional Liquor channels in order to drive strategic shopper-led commercial decisions at retailer, category, segment and brand levels. If you want to understand your shoppers better, contact Andrew Arnold, Insights Director at Shopper Intelligence New Zealand at andrew.arnold@shopperintelligence.co.nz .