What is shopper marketing

Shopper marketing in Germany - a position assessment

Shopper marketing - a term that has become almost inflationary recently and used in very different contexts. There is no shortage of definitions in the industry as to what exactly shopper marketing means in practice, but it remains unclear. The market research and consulting company plan + impuls, which specializes in PoS, took this as an opportunity to carry out a basic study that provides a comprehensive empirical overview of the current status of shopper marketing from the perspective of consumer goods manufacturers and grocery retailers in Germany. The results of the study should serve as a basis for discussion for a uniform understanding of shopper marketing and show starting points for targeted shopper marketing.

In the course of the study, a total of around 900 marketing and sales employees from a total of almost 300 different manufacturers and trading companies were contacted. 193 people took part in the online survey, of which 157 manufacturers and 36 dealers. The plan + impuls shopper marketing survey focused on four central questions:

  1. Definition and understanding of the terms shopper marketing
  2. Relevance of the topic of shopper marketing
  3. Current situation shopper marketing and best practice companies
  4. Implementation process of shopper marketing in the company.

The answers to the question: "What do you mean by shopper marketing?" Reflect the currently very different understanding of the term in the industry. However, two main perspectives dominate: The first is subject-related, that is, the “shopper” is placed in the center of consideration and investigation (43 percent of the responses). The second central point of view is object-related, i.e. it puts shopper marketing measures in the foreground (33 percent of the mentions). Even if the main viewpoints apply to industry and trade, the two statements "Cooperation and Industry" and "Target Group Marketing" make the different shopper perspectives clear through their different evaluations. In contrast to the manufacturer, the “shopper” is his original target group for the retailer, since it is usually unimportant to him which product is bought, the main thing is that it is bought in his shop. In addition to the “shopper”, the original target group of the manufacturer is primarily the consumer, with whom he wants to ensure at the PoS that his product is bought.

Shopper Marketing - A Holistic Approach

As a supplement to the open question “What do you mean by shopper marketing?”, The term was further delimited and specified in the study by presenting various statements to the respondents for evaluation. Despite gradual deviations, the ratings point in the same direction.
Manufacturers and retailers agree that the following three points are applicable and characteristic of shopper marketing:

  • Shopper marketing is the combination of consumer and shopper know-how
  • Shopper Marketing integrates Marketing, Category Management (CM), Trade Marketing (TM) and Sales
  • Shopper marketing requires cross-departmental activities.

plan + impuls deduces from this: The requirement to link consumer and shopper know-how makes clear the need for even closer cooperation between industry and retail. The claim to the integration of marketing, CM, TM and sales as well as the demand for cross-departmental activities underlines the holistic approach of shopper marketing.

Is shopper marketing worth it?

The question of the benefits and goals as well as the long-term relevance of the shopper marketing approach did not go unanswered in the study (Fig. 3: Greatest benefit of shopper marketing). In addition to the two qualitative aspects "holistic / extended understanding of the shopper" (55 percent of the answers) and "target group approach" (35 percent of the answers), which are mentioned as very important with regard to the benefit, there are also quantitative parameters, such as “Exploitation of potential / better or more targeted use of resources” (21 percent of responses) and “more sales” (20 percent of responses). Is shopper marketing just a “fashion” or a “trend”? Is it worth the investment and persuasion that has to be done? Overall, the respondents left no doubt about its high relevance: From their point of view, shopper marketing is much more than a trend and a topic of long-term importance (79 percent). The PoS experts from plan + impuls are also convinced after evaluating the study: With this basic study, it has been possible for the first time to determine the position of shopper marketing in Germany on the basis of broad expert knowledge. Whoever implements the knowledge of the shopper across departments in the company as quickly as possible will gain a clear competitive advantage in the future.


Further information on the detailed results of the current shopper marketing study is available from plan + impuls - Society for Market Research & Advice at PoS mbH.



plan + impuls combines market research and consulting expertise around the point of sale. Based on well-founded shopper research, advice is provided in accordance with the "shopper marketing approach" in the areas of competence brand activation, category activation and channel activation. The team accompanies projects from conception to implementation in an interdisciplinary and practice-oriented manner and includes cross-departmental marketing, category management, trade marketing and sales. Its customers include well-known national and international branded goods.