Top Shoppers – Are they your Top Priority?


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If you are about to invest a single minute of time or dollar of your budget on someone who is not, or cannot become, one of your Top Shoppers, STOP!

The most valuable segment your brand has is the relatively small set of buyers who deliver the majority of revenue and profit. For most consumer brands, about 30 percent of consumers typically represent 70 percent of annual sales. Top Shoppers are a brand’s core. Focusing on the acquisition, development and retention of Top Shoppers will help a brand grow faster and more profitably, year after year.

How well do you know your Top Shoppers?
No savvy marketers would claim they undervalue their heavy buyers. Yet, I find it surprising how many brands cannot provide an in-depth picture of these buyers and how their brand is performing with this segment. Next-generation Shopper Marketers will clearly understand the three levels of benefits their Top Shoppers deliver to their brand: Brand Economics, Brand Insights, and Brand Health.

Brand Economics
A Top Shopper delivers a disproportionate amount of annual revenue. Using the 30/70 split makes a Top Shopper 5 ½ times more valuable than a non-Top Shopper. But Top Shoppers are typically far more important than contributing to this year’s sales. Household panel data shows they are the foundation for future sales because they stick with brands longer, and typically remain at higher purchase levels. Data also shows that Top Shoppers exhibit higher brand loyalty than medium and light buyers, filling a higher share of requirements and purchasing “on deal” far less.

Brand Insights
Top Shoppers are a breed apart. They can be very different from other brand buyers in both demographic and psychographic profiles. They use the product the more than other shoppers, they are the most familiar with the brand promise, its performance and benefits. They highly appreciate the brand and own the most valuable of all the brand’s equities. The feelings Top Shoppers have in their minds count more than the feelings held by other buyers. You can say that Top Shopper comprise the brand’s fountain of brand truth.

Brand Health
Your core of Top Shoppers provides your best indication of overall brand health. When a brand tracks and understands the value and momentum of its core of Top Shoppers, it has a powerful perspective on the health of the brand. A growing Core of Top Shoppers almost certainly indicates brand growth. A declining core indicates deterioration of brand power. Extending that analysis to include the category is even more powerful. Brands that are winning an unfair share of category Top Shoppers are sure to have a sustainable competitive position.

Aligning Marketing with Top Shopper Knowledge
Top Shoppers can provide an anchor around which to manage the integration of all marketing activities. When the question “how will this marketing project help generate and hold on to more Top Shoppers?” is enforced on all initiatives, the answers will keep all resources aligned on a singular objective that can only build brand strength. With the enhanced perspective on the importance of the Top Shoppers in mind, strategies can be refined across the marketing mix.

Primary Advertising should leverage insights about current Top Shoppers to focus their efforts on reaching new Top Shoppers.

Websites should have depth and breadth that will satisfy a potential Top Shopper’s comfort when investigating and validating their brand choice.

Social Media efforts should be geared at Top Shoppers, weighing their opinions and ideas more than non-Top Shoppers.

Promotion should benefit Top Shoppers and future Top Shoppers more than Cherry-Picking Brand Visitors.

Marketing to and from your core of Top Shoppers as a central focus is a powerful approach to accelerating shopper marketing initiatives and ultimately brand growth. Aligning all marketing with the powerful purpose of growing the brand’s absolute number of Top Shoppers, should be top priority.

Deb Rapacz
Deb Rapacz helps brands and non profit organizations build a solid core of highly-committed buyers or donors. She is a highly-rated marketing instructor at St. Xavier University and conducts research on the psychology of brand commitment and consumer engagement.


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