Consumer Decision Tree: How the Shopper Shops the Category

Clarifying Terms

These terms are used by Category Managers; Purchase Decision Hierarchy/Shopper Decision Tree/Consumer Decision Tree/Customer Road Map, but what do they mean?

An orange by any other name, might not be an orange after all!

What are They? 

They are all terms for understanding how the shopper shops the category. We choose to call it the ‘Shopper’s Map’ because we find that using simpler language in Category Management is more effective.

The Consumer Decision Tree?

You need to know because if you understand how a shopper shops your category, you can offer a better choice, promote with less cannibalisation, and manage availability better, by understanding how the shopper shops.

Why is it Important?

By matching how your shopper shops the category with what you offer on-shelf, you can make it easier for the shopper to buy from your category and ultimately manoeuvre them into buying more of what you would like them to buy, e.g. trading customers up.

What Example do you Have?

Fruit is traditionally thought of as oranges, bananas, strawberries, melons, and so on. Therefore the buying structure, availability structure, and supply structure is set-up accordingly.

What if the customer bought fruit more like…

Venn diagram - buying structure, availability structure, and supply structure

What Does This Mean?

Firstly we would use customer terms, rather than our own, from industry terms such as ‘top fruit’ meaning apples & pears, to customer terms like Everyday fruit’ – How would this change our approach to this category?

Secondly, we would not promote SKUs that sat in the same circle,  i.e. Not apples and pears promoted together, but instead promotions of a pear SKU (Everyday), a melon SKU (Treat), and pawpaw (Strange) – How might our promotional plan change? Thirdly, how would we restructure our people, our data, our offer in-store?

What terms do you use that we could help explain to others? Please share your view by commenting at the end of this article.


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