Shoppers drive trial, consumers drive repeat

by Eric Schroeder
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ROCKVILLE, MD. — Companies keen on increasing their sales volumes would do well to understand the differences between a “shopper” and a “consumer,” said Attila Akat, senior vice-president of private brands for Delhaize America Shared Services Group, Inc., Salisbury, N.C.

In a Feb. 24 presentation at the National Pasta Association annual meeting in Naples, Mr. Akat described a retail marketplace flush with emerging trends. The aging population, millennials, allergy-free, G.M.O.s, superfoods and individualization all are areas of interest. For Delhaize, which operates in the United States under the Food Lion, Hannaford and Bottom Dollar Food banners, the trends offer opportunities to support multiple banners with different customer propositions, Mr. Akat said.

“As marketers, you need clear branding, you need clear positioning, you really need to understand the consumer and you really need to understand the shopper,” he said, adding that a brand is “more than a label.”

“Our commitment is to build brands that can be leveraged to support our banners,” he said. Some of the company’s private brands include My Essentials, Taste of Inspirations, Nature’s Place and Healthy Accents.

One of the key challenges of building a brand is understanding the fundamental difference between someone who shops the grocery aisle and someone who actually uses a product.

“The shopper is important,” Mr. Akat said. “Why is the shopper important? Because the shopper drives trial.”

He said a “shopper” looks at price, variety, the external and the occasion. By comparison, a “consumer” drives repeat. A consumer looks for quality, taste, package experience and use occasion, he said.

“Trial is of course very important, but if you don’t generate repeat you’re in trouble,” Mr. Akat explained. “That product that you might have just launched will not have a long life cycle.

“We must take the shopper into consideration but we should definitely not forget the consumer. The consumer is a very, very important part of this equation and if you can understand the shopper and consumer to generate not only trial but also get repeat from the consumers we can really understand where they are and what we can do in the future in terms of innovations.”
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