In an article recently published in Canadian Grocer's newsletter, Marc Inkol of Explorer Group, a Mississauga, Ont.-based shopper consulting company, revealed "the hidden ways people go through stores".
We thought we'd add a Québec perspective to some of Inkol's findings.
Grocery shopping is tiring. A shopping trip that covers all aisles of a large-format grocery store results in the shopper covering a half-mile. That’s a lot of walking. Given this, shoppers will typically not go back for missed items. All product sampling should be conducted in close proximity to a product’s permanent shelf location.
Shoppers typically don’t enjoy grocery shopping. It is a task-driven exercise, with shoppers following the same pattern on each trip. In many regards, shoppers function on autopilot. So getting them to change their shopping patterns is difficult.
Findings from our What Québec Wants survey of 3,000 Canadians in 2014 revealed that half of all Canadians (51.6%) say they "really enjoy grocery shopping". That number increases to 57.2% among residents of Québec. There are also significant differences among age groups between Québec and the RoC; 58% of Quebeckers between the ages of 58 and 67 say they really enjoy grocery shopping compared to 44% of Canadians of the same ages in the RoC. The differences are even more marked among younger grocery shoppers as 72% of Quebeckers 18-24 really enjoy grocery shopping compared to 50% of Canadians 18-24 in the RoC.
Sixty per cent of grocery shopping trips are quick trips lasting less than five minutes. Usually only one to three items is typically purchased at a time.
Quebeckers likely spend more time in the store. They are less likely to say they are willing to pay a little extra to save time shopping (19% in Québec compared to 28% in the RoC according to PMB 2015 survey data).
For many, grocery shopping is similar to driving to and from work; people remember leaving home and arriving at work, but not too much about what happened along the way. Retailers will notice this behaviour most when store sections or aisles are changed. Shoppers find such changes disruptive for an extended period of time because it forces a change in their shopping “routine.”
Product categories that are more difficult to navigate or shop should never be placed in the front or back six feet of an aisle. That’s because this area is a “transition zone” where a stopped shopper is likely to get bumped by another shopper entering the aisle.
Getting people to walk down aisles isn’t easy. The average aisle penetration per trip in a grocery store is only 20% to 30%.
People like “choice” as a concept but have trouble managing it as they shop. The average family shops for only 300 different items in a grocery store annually yet many supermarkets have upwards of 45,000 SKUs. Choice and variety do not cut through the clutter. That’s why many new product introductions don’t get noticed. The solution: set up “discovery zones” to highlight and promote all new items in one place.
Shoppers are more likely to shop for impulse and indulgent items in the last one-third of their shopping trip. They don’t typically purchase these items early in their trip when they’re more concerned about restocking regular items.
Findings from our What Québec Wants survey revealed that Quebeckers are significantly more likely to 'always use a list when grocery shopping' (67% of Quebeckers compared to 61% of Canadians in the RoC). This might explains why they are less likely to buy on impulse (37% of Quebeckers say they make impulse purchases when grocery shopping compared to 48% of Canadians in the RoC). It's also no surprise that Quebeckers are more likely to 'plan meals for the week' (41% of Quebeckers compared to 34% of Canadians in the RoC).