In-store promotions

Date : 08 August 2012

Last updated December 2016

- Promotion reliant
- Promotional confusion
- What shoppers dislike

Promotion reliant

The food and grocery industry has dialled-up its promotional activity to help shoppers save money through the economic downturn.

One impact of this increased focus on promotions is that they are driving the trend for shopping around, as they increasingly influence where people shop for food and groceries.

Shoppers have come to expect promotions as a key part of their hunt for value. Nearly half (48%) of shoppers are using different food retail formats to take advantage of different promotions, while a third (33%) do so to save money.

Shopping around for promotions

Main reason for using multiple channels
Source: ShopperVista 2011

The awakened promotion-hunting instinct is now permeating each stage of the shopper journey, as shoppers look to make better use of them at the planning stage, while they shop and at the checkout.

Shoppers claim to be buying more on promotion – 58% claim to be buying more on promotion since the start of 2012.

Shoppers are taking advantage of the coupons and vouchers that are available, and expecting to make more use of them over the remainder of the year.

More than half (53%) have been using coupons more since the start of 2012.

Promotion reliant

Source: ShopperVista 2012

Promotional confusion

However, if the number of food and grocery promotions continues to rise, shoppers will be increasingly confused.

Shoppers are finding it difficult to cut through the in-store noise. The great majority of people are responding to the financial squeeze by trying to be more disciplined, for example by planning ahead or shopping little and often.

In these conditions, too many promotions can be a distraction, with 44% of shoppers telling us they find it difficult to compare prices in store.

Ease of finding the best value

Q: How easy is it to compare prices and find the best value products in store?
Source: ShopperVista 2012

What shoppers dislike

Despite the overall popularity of promotions, many have misgivings about the way in which they are implemented. There are a range of issues that are frustrating for shoppers, suggesting that promotions are a complex issue to get right.

With shoppers focusing more on scrutinising prices and promotions, if a product on promotion does not offer the best value per unit then this can trigger concern. This is shoppers’ biggest area of concern regarding promotions. Older shoppers are most likely to share this concern – 68% among 55+ year olds.

What do shoppers dislike about promotions?

Q: What, if anything, do you dislike about promotions on food and grocery products? (Top 5)
Source: ShopperVista  

While these occurrences may be unintentional or have a legitimate rationale, they can negatively impact brand perceptions.

Similarly, if the normal price increases shortly after a promotion, this can exaggerate disappointment.

More than four in ten (41%) of shoppers felt that promotions were not always available. Availability remains the biggest challenge to promotional effectiveness and out of stocks can impact across the supply chain.

Some shoppers feel that promotions are making shopping more difficult and are finding it hard to work out which products are eligible for a promotion.

With many shoppers adapting the shopping behaviour by planning more and sticking to a set budget, they become anxious when they find themselves spending more than they had intended due to promotions.