If you work in any of these functions, you get asked A LOT (by colleagues, family, friends, etc.) what the difference is between the similarly named roles. We thought it might be helpful for you to have a quick link to answer their questions, and provide some context.
The most basic and simple difference between Shopper Insights and Consumer Insights is the subject of study: the ‘shopper’ or the ‘consumer’.
When you are at the supermarket choosing which steak to buy, and how much of it you want, you are in ‘shopping mode’. When at home grilling that same steak on a sunny Sunday afternoon, beer in hand, you are in ‘consumption mode’. At InfoScout, we see people throughout the path-to-purchase in both roles. Based on the questions we answer for our clients, we find ourselves well positioned to offer three of the biggest differences between these functions in the CPG industry:
“In the store” vs. “In the wild”
Shopper Insights cares about what happens in the store and anything immediately related to it. Somewhat of a ‘shopping experience’ measurement. They want to know on ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ people spend their money. Did the shopper go to several retailers in the shopping trip? Were they exposed to a circular publication before going into the store? Did they use a coupon? This knowledge allows them to work hand in hand with retailers and even other manufacturers to motivate shoppers and grow their product category.
Consumer Insights, on the other hand, is focused more on the ‘brand experience’, no matter where it happens. Regardless of where and how the person gets product, they want to know how the brand is perceived, what emotions it evokes and the need states that it fulfills. These data fuels initiatives like product innovations and changes in how the brand markets itself. These types of insights help marketers make better decisions on subjects like where to spend their advertising money and what product to launch next.
Sales Focus vs. Human Focus
Shopper Insights roles are often tied to a company’s sales structure. The practice of Shopper Marketing was born when marketers learned a few decades ago that consumers can be influenced when they are in the process of shopping through materials like flyers, signage and displays in the store.
In contrast, Consumer Insights cares about what human beings are doing as a whole. The trends and insights beyond the purchase decision. Brands teams need consumer insights that enable them to create products and messaging aligned with consumer needs.
Pushes Product vs. Pulls Product
Shopper Insights gives the team the tools for “pushing” more products into the hands of shoppers. This can be done by leveraging shopper marketing initiatives like product co-promotions and discounts. The idea is to make their products the one a shopper wants to get because it is a “better deal” (note: not necessarily because of price). A good example would be a “buy 2 get 1” chocolate bar promotion. Shopper Insights focuses on finding what delights the ‘person who buys’ and how to get them to buy more.
Consumer Insights professionals help the company figure out how the consumer thinks and what motivates them to go for a brand or product. Their goal is to compel consumers to look for the product and “pull” it from the store. Get them to want it because of an ad they saw or because a friend recommended it.
We hope that this write-up helps your friends and colleagues understand the nuances of your trade. Have any suggestions or additions to the points we’ve made? Reach out to us and we will be more than happy to include them and make it even easier for everyone to grasp what you do.