Adapting campaigns to suit the shopping mission not just store format

It’s easy to assume that by targeting your campaign to particular store formats you are reaching shoppers predominantly on ‘stock up’ or ‘top up’ missions. It’s also easy to assume that shoppers choose store formats based on shopping missions, for example one of the most common missions for convenience stores is ‘food for tonight’. However, the reality is that shoppers choose retailers and store formats that are convenient for them, therefore shopping missions are not mutually exclusive to store format.

Shopper marketers need to focus less on store format and more on shopping missions if they want shoppers to see the relevance of the brand/product to their needs.

There are 3 key factors we believe brands should consider carefully when tailoring their campaign to relevant shopping missions (in addition to the usual product, category and brand considerations):

Shopper journey and behaviour

Depending on the mission, shoppers will approach their shop in different ways. They might plan ahead for some, whilst decide in-store for others. A ‘food for tonight’ mission is much less likely to be planned vs a weekly stock up mission where shoppers might be writing a list. In this scenario, given there is less time spent in planning mode, brands should focus on influencing shoppers during the shop itself, since they are looking for inspiration closer to the point of purchase.

There is also a need to consider what other categories and products the shopper might be browsing or purchasing on the same mission and how to use that to your advantage in your campaign.


Adapting messaging based on the shopper mission is also important. We know that shoppers looking for ‘food for tonight’ are more often than not going to be time poor and perhaps shopping between work and home, yet in need of quick inspiration, so brands need to ensure that messaging really is succinct, relevant and delivers a clear call to action. Tailoring a message to make it relevant to a specific mission or occasion e.g. ‘try tonight’ can deliver strong results as it creates a mental shortcut for the shopper to know to look at that option, speeding up the decision process for shoppers to choose your brand over another.

However, brands must be mindful of being too niche with their association that it hinders usage occasion down the line. Toblerone is a great example of this – it was known for being the last minute airport present solution for years before they realised they needed to make the product a more obvious link to other occasions, such as Father’s Day, to be bought in supermarkets too.