Shopper research helps you understand what shoppers think and believe (attitudes) and what they do prestore and instore (behaviours), so you can tailor activities and programs to suit various shopper types on differing shopping trips for different things and reasons (occasions).

It’s all about understanding how best to influence them on their shopping trip to create a sale conversion and/or other retail objective such as AWOP (average weight of purchase), frequency, traffic, spend or basket penetration.
Shopper research helps you understand which existing shopper behaviours to leverage, where and how you need to interrupt habitual behaviours, and where you need to create new behaviours.

Ways we approach it

On our Shopper & Trade Research page, you will see that we employ a wide range of methodologies from diagnostic through to specific, to meet a client brief. On our Shopper Insights page, you will see the difference between information versus insight / implication, and how different information sources combine to create insight.

One of the most important things is to establish:

Who shops What, When, Where, How, and most importantly, WHY.

5 Ws 5 Hs.jpg

This is often overlaid with or contains elements of consumer U&A, as depending on category there is crossover between consumers and shoppers and when consumer stops and shopping starts (mindset).

Methodologies will often cover both claimed and actual behaviour. Typical methodologies we employ include:

Claimed versus Actual - methodologies

We also look for opportunities to use or create new methodologies to keep things fresh. We tailor the methodology to the brief, objectives and project.
We understand channel and retailer specifics. Shopper occasions, missions and types vary by channel and the category they’re purchasing. And often by retailer within the channel. We’ve run shopper research in channels ranging from liquor to convenience to mass to grocery to consumer electronics and specialty retail.

Selected Channels Shopper Experience
The deliverable is Insight and Implication, not just information. We not only draw findings through to their commercial applications for strategy purposes, we ensure the project is set up with a commercial outcome in mind in the first instance (not ‘research for research’s sake’). The aim is to get ideas resulting from research to trial.

Importantly, we work with both retailers and manufacturers. Retailer engagement is critical, not just upfront engagement but for logistics throughout the project.

ShopAbility provides research you can see and hear: Brought to life with video and audio, not just a myriad of charts.

Types of outputs and applications

Include, but are not limited to:

  • Decision making: purchase decision hierarchies or ‘consumer decision trees’ to help you understand the role and order of price, brand, pack and other types of decisions per category. What the decision triggers are
  • Shopper segmentations:  how many of which shopper types each retailer has for a specific category
  • Missions, occasions and needs:  identifies opportunities for occasion based messaging and programs, new product and pack opportunities
  • Range and portfolio: category definition and segmentation, optimal ranging, new product and pack opportunities and assessment
  • Space and layout: Store and shelf layout preference testing, store pathway and navigation mapping
  • Visibility & display: prioritised points of influence prestore and instore, the role of each touchpoint and indications for how execution differs by touchpoint
  • Price & promotion: optimal price points and promotion mechanics.

Specific retail measures such as basket incidence, basket size, basket value, frequency, average weight of purchase and traffic may be analysed as part of a shopper research project. To find out more about how data is used in Shopper Research, visit the main Shopper Research page.

How we’re different:

  • Specialist: Shopper research specialists, not the shopper arm of a consumer research agency
  • Applicable: We’re not a purist research agency (although we have research specialists like Troy), as we come from manufacturer and  retailer sides of the fence as well. We know the types of commercial outputs required, how the research will be used and how implications need to be drawn out and sold differently to different audiences
  • Tailored: horses for courses. We design the methodology to fit the brief and objectives, including sometimes inventing new methodologies!
  • Realistic: commercial, activations and output focussed via engagement – we don’t operate in a vacuum!
  • Experienced: we have collectively and separately run hundreds of shopper research projects over the past 8 years and know what works (and what to avoid)
  • Channel experts: Understanding of grocery and non-grocery channels


Our team have individually and collectively conducted hundreds of shopper and consumer research projects across a wide range of categories.

Your key point of contact for all Shopper Research enquiries is Peter Huskins on 0412 574 793.

Read more on the Shopper Research main page and the Trade Research page.

Also read our comprehensive article, Shopper Insights Explained.