Shopper Marketing Explained With Examples 

According to Eric Meunier, a shopper marketing consultant and author of Think Shopper, shopper marketing was first conceptualized by Walmart and P&G more than 30 years ago.

Shoppers today demand phygital experiences with many visiting stores for the experience as well as to discover new products in person. To increase retail sales, brands optimize every touchpoint in the customers’ path to purchase.

In NRF’s Retail’s Big Show ‘24, big-box retailers like Walmart leverage AI and machine learning to improve shopper marketing and gain a competitive edge.

What is Shopper Marketing?

Brands and retailers have different business goals. Shopper marketing unifies brands and retailers to enhance customer awareness and drive incremental sales in stores and across digital commerce.

How Shopper Marketing Works?

Retailers have shopper-centric data that help brands to improve their sales. These shopper behavioral insights help brands to:

  • Create time-bound promotions
  • Devise online campaigns
  • Innovate new products

In the process, shopper marketers design personalized marketing campaigns by gathering shopper purchase behaviors across viewed devices. They build consumer profiles by combining anonymized purchase data from:

  • Visited websites
  • Social media apps used
  • Cross-screen behavior

Brand Marketing vs. Shopper Marketing

Brand marketing is a continuous process from the time a brand is born. The aim is to create awareness of the company and build a long-term relationship with its customers.


a flowchart showing how shopper marketing works online and offline

In contrast, shopper marketing is different from traditional promotions. It creates last-minute appeals for the shopper to make the purchase. Shopper marketers focus on attracting consumers when a need to buy a product begins or at the point of purchase.

Read more on All about Digitally Influenced Sales 

How Shopper Marketing benefit Both Brands and Retailers?

Leverage data to become the category captain in retail storesIncrease shopper engagement, store visits, and the average order size
Create brand awareness by collaborating with the retailerPromote a less performing category within a store
Stand out from competitors in the same categoryHave a competitive advantage over other retailers
Increase penetration in a new marketVenture into an alternate revenue stream
Build the brand’s equity in the retail environmentBuild the retailer’s banner equity by forging relationships with high-performing brands

Shopper Marketing As Seen In Commerce Media

Commerce media is relatively a new approach to digital advertising. It includes retail media capabilities, social commerce, and in-game purchases.

Through Retail Media Networks (RMNs), brands tap into the high-signal purchase data that retailers hold. RMNs let brands target their prospects through ads on third-party channels such as:

  • Social media networks
  • Aggregate websites
  • Connected TV platforms
  • Different media owned by retailers

Retailers earn revenue from brands by featuring them on sponsored searches, display advertisements, and promoted listings across the digital ecosystem.

chart showing retail media, a part of shopper marketing, search ad spending in the US forecast till 2027

According to eMarketer forecast in 2023, retail media ad spending will account for $11.23 billion by 2027.

Additionally, shoppable ads and live commerce are the other types of commerce media. Shoppable ads are images or videos with information that attract shoppers to add items to their cart or checkout without leaving the app or website.

Kroger’s Contextual, In-Recipe Advertising

Kroger Precision Marketing (Kroger’s RMN) uses six different ad categories to reach targeted shoppers:

  • On-Site Search
  • Onsite Ads
  • Email/Direct Communications
  • Advanced TV Advertising
  • Social Media & Influencer Advertising
  • Off-Site Advertising (display, audio, and video)

About 85% of shoppers look for online recipes while shopping or making shopping lists. Kroger partners with Allrecipes, Roku, Pinterest, and Meredith lets brands have a ‘shop by recipe’ option on the dedicated brand page.

Retailers rely on contextual marketing to push the sales of items that shoppers do not buy frequently.

Amazon’s Cross-Selling and Upselling Techniques

At the final stage of making a purchase, Amazon Personalize lets brands recommend items based on the shopping patterns of customers (Customers who viewed X item also bought Y). Amazon Personalize allows brands to:

  • Maximize brand loyalty by proactively recommending actions tailored to your individual users’ needs in real-time
  • Offers user segmentation to run effective prospecting campaigns
  • Improve the discoverability of the catalog by showing similar items to users
  • Recommend items gaining popularity at the fastest pace among users

Shopper Marketing As Seen In Physical Stores

Some common shopper marketing tactics seen in stores include:

  • Shelf talkers
  • Digital sign kits
  • Floor graphics in the aisles

Read on How to Measure Share of Shelf in Stores

Shopper Marketing Campaigns Initiated by Brands

Brands either run a common campaign with all the retailers it has partnered with or run personalized campaigns with each retailer.

Nike Partners With Retail Chains To Improve the Brand’s Reach

Though Nike’s digital sales grew 17% in 2023, the brand has established wholesale partnerships with several retailers to expand its reach to consumers. Speaking on the strategic relationship with retailers, Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said, “Our strategic wholesale partners are important to us as consumers can try on products, touch and feel before buying”.

Footlocker, Champs, Finish Line, Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, Target, Designer Shoe Warehouse, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to name a few.

Coca-Cola Runs Campaigns Targeting Retailer-Specific Shoppers

According to April Carlisle, VP of shopper marketing, “When retailers and brands collaborate unique, personalized shopper marketing campaigns can be designed aligning the values of the brand and of the retailer that resonates with a group of consumers.

Coca-Cola designs campaigns depending upon the values it shares with the retailers or based on the interests of its customers.

For Walmart’s soccer-loving shoppers, Coca-Cola ran a “Power Has No Gender” marketing campaign to promote its sports drink, Powerade. Walmart received 85 million impressions for the Powerade drink, and Coca-Cola gained an 18% sales lift.

Shopper Marketing Tactics by Retailers

Based on a survey of over 2,500 US consumers carried out by PYMNTS Intelligence research in January 2024, there is a high chance that shoppers choose retailers that have hyper-personalized offers.

In the survey, millennials and Gen Z have voted for personalized product bundles, exclusive access to new product launches, and product recommendations based on previous purchases.

Walmart Engages Customers to Spend Longer Time Shopping

Walmart is investing in generative AI technology and recommendation-driven activation in stores. Here are some of the offerings from the retailer:

  • Interactive digital screens with location-based personalized advertisements and promotions to suit the interest of customers
  • Digital kiosks for customers to browse product details and buy online when shopping in stores
  • AI digital signage to know the updates on prices, promotions, and other key product features
  • Walmart app users on iOS phones get an automatically replenished cart for items they regularly order, AI-powered enhanced search experience, virtual try-on, shop with friends, and more.

This helps retailers get shopper-centric data on peak shopping hours, measure the success of promotions as per location, and track customer buying patterns.

Aritaum Uses AR & RFID Technology In Stores

With brands like IOPE, Laneige, Innisfree, Happy Bath, and many others, Aritaum is the go-to destination for K-Beauty shopping needs.

To elevate in-store engagement, the retailer:

  • Uses digital signage for brands to create awareness about their offerings
  • Offers free skin examination and personalized product recommendations
  • Features an AR-based touchable mirror to virtually try on make-up, click a snap, share, and tag the brand on social media
  • Equips a digital skincare bar with an RFID reader table and QR code reader to get product information, user feedback, and an option to add to the wish list to buy later

Food and Beverage Demos Are Common in the CPG Category

Some customers avoid trying new products because they fear making a purchase that may be regretful. The look for demos that give hands-on guidance to use products and services or in-store food-tasting stations helps attract new shoppers and boost sales.

Sam’s Club, Trader’s Joe, Whole Foods, and Costco are some of the retailers that conduct food and beverage tasting demo programs.

Read more about the latest developments in the CPG e-commerce segment.

Omnichannel Marketing with Shopper Insights is the Way Forward

As modern shoppers exhibit dynamic shopping behavior, omnichannel marketing is evolving too. Based on Omnisend’s analysis of more than 135,000 campaigns, omnichannel marketing saw six times more sales than single-channel marketing.

chart showing ominchannel vs single channel campaigns - what works best

Personalized omnichannel campaigns involving three or more channels saw a 0.83% order rate, which is a 494% increase compared to single-channel campaigns.

Shopper marketing campaigns act as a call to action for consumers. Monitoring the product data gathered during a successful shopper marketing campaign is crucial for brands to grow into category captains and in turn create brand loyalists.

With MetricsCart, brands get access to hyperlocal data on the digital shelf ranging across:

  • Share of search
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Promotions
  • Competitor tracking

Get in touch with us to know how you can improvise your shopper marketing tactics with accurate shopper-centric data.


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