Know Your Shopper or Expect Your Sales to Die

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Unveiling the Secret to Sales Survival

Terry Leahy was famous for saying that (the title of this article) when he was in the boardroom with the voice of the shopper. In fact, no one could challenge what he was saying. He would continue that the customer is king and giving them, the shoppers, what they wanted was everything.

So how would you rate your understanding of your shopper, out of 10? 6. Well, let’s take a look at the shopper and then score your understanding once more.

The Shopper is Only One-third of the Answer

The shopper/the customer/the consumer, whatever you call them, is actually 3 parts; the shopper, the preparer and the eater. Let me explain. The shopper is the person who pushes the trolley or carries the basket. The preparer is the one who prepares the food (assuming it is a food product). Lastly, the eater is the one who consumes/eats the product.

Fish finger infographic showing the three types of customers, shopper, preparer and eater
Here’s a visual explanation for shopper, preparer and eater


For example, as seen in the infographic above, Mum buys the fish fingers (Shopper), Dad cooks the fish fingers (Preparer), and the kids eat the fish fingers (the Eaters). Keep in mind, that some categories have 3 parts, others have two and rarely there is just one part.

Now the reason that this is important is because each of the three has different wants. Basically, we split these ‘wants’ into 3 areas; Barriers, Needs and Drivers.

For example, a shopper’s barrier is price, a preparer’s need is clear, cooking instructions, and the eaters’ driver is that the food tastes good. Furthermore, you can take each of the barriers, needs & drivers, and place them against each of the 3 parts of the shopper.

For example, the eaters’ driver is that the fish fingers taste good but the shopper’s driver – Mum – is that they contain Omega 3. In essence, a barrier stops the shopper, preparer or eater from buying, using or eating the product. A Need is simply what they each want as a basic expectation, and a Driver is something that each of them wants in order to buy, use or eat more of the product.

Now That You Know More…

How would you now rate your understanding of the shopper, out of 10? Less than 6? That’s ok.

The challenge is to then know the 9 parts of this equation, and strive to deliver each part. For example, Dad, the Preparer can’t read the small cooking instructions and can’t find his glasses. So make the cooking instructions bigger or tell him to ask Alexa.

You can find a simple free template online if you Google ‘Identifying Customer Needs, Barriers & Drivers Using this Template.’

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