ISSUE NO. 65 06/06/12

Coca-Cola is redirecting its attention to shopping occasions and trip missions based on its recent research that found six in 10 (57%) grocery trips are occasion-based. At the Path to Purchase Institute's shopper marketing conference recently, Andrew McMillin (vice president, shopper marketing, large stores, Coca-Cola) and Jeff Fechalos (director of shopper insights, Coca-Cola) shared the beverage company's thinking around "unlocking the occasion" along the path to purchase or at the point of purchase (POP). Because grocery shopping is focused on meal consumption, Coke needs to tie beverages in somehow. By understanding how shoppers move through the store, the brand can tailor its offerings to tie into key engagement points along the path to purchase.

Coca-Cola has three different lenses through which its marketers regard shopping behaviors in grocery stores. First there is trip mission (Why are the shoppers in the store that day?); then there is where they shop in the store (Where are shoppers spending their time in-store?) and finally how shoppers move through the store (Are shoppers browsing, focused, meandering, etc.?). Layered onto this view are the four key priorities that shoppers attend to as they shop: saving time, saving money, serving their family or serving a need for themselves.
McMillin and Fechalos shared their three-step process to bring solutions to shoppers in-store with conference attendees. As reported by CPG Matters, these steps are to:
• Integrate: The foundation and starting point for a solution is integrating the mission and the occasion along the path to purchase. This is the hardest part. There is an art and science to it.
• Implement: Coca-Cola develops solutions that have synergy with the right marketing partners; for example, a beverage with chips, cookies or crackers.
• Inspire: The goal is to bring the solution to life for the shopper. Ideally, Coca-Cola wants to inspire shoppers at the point of purchase or along the path to purchase.
"If we can put those two together — trip mission and consumption occasion — that's very powerful," said Fechalos.

Coca-Cola is one of the savviest marketers around, so getting a glimpse of the company's process is enlightening. The idea of fitting your product into the retail occasion is easier said than done of course but the various perspectives the beverage maker employs in deconstructing the occasion can be instructive. For example, having key priorities layered onto the trip mission is something that can be modified to fit your particular shoppers' needs. Look for commonalities as well as differences among your shoppers and how they shop. If you don't already have a standardized way of looking at the shopping trip specifically for your product category, it's time to develop one.

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"CPGmatters: Occasion-Based Marketing Triggers Coca-Cola's Solutions," Retail Wire, 5/23/12
Coca-Cola, path-to-purchase, shopper research

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