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2019 Shopper Marketing Trends

Last year there were more than 1,250 store closures, the demise of retailers like Toys R Us and Maplin altogether and a huge supermarket merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda.

The vegan trend exploded as shoppers shifted consumption habits, health became an all-year-round concern and environmental impact was put under the spotlight.

The retail landscape and shopping behaviour is changing more rapidly than ever, impacting how brands and retailers communicate with shoppers to influence them to buy.

As we head into 2019, we’ve taken a look at what we believe to be the key trends for shopper marketing for the year ahead...


Creating shopping experiences

With an ever-convenient online shopping option, retailers are having to work much harder to tempt us into stores. Those that win in this environment are liking to win by tapping into shopper's desires for experience-led shopping.

Department stores have been at the forefront of experience led shopping for years, but shoppers expect more still to be tempted into a store. It’s about individuals being able to do more than just complete a transaction – be it pop-up champagne bars, manicure stations, personalisation desks, theatre or immersive experiences. It’s about creating a destination for shoppers to keep them excited to shop your products.

Examples in relation to this include:

John Lewis & Partners’ recently launched ‘experience desks’, H&M DJ nights, Asda retailtainment, Ben & Jerry’s Big Night In…

Conscious consumerism

Brits are starting to shop more consciously – whether it’s what they eat, how they consume products (be it food, clothes or electricals), and even what brands and retailers they buy from.

Shoppers are more aware of what they are buying and the impact on the environment, their health and others. They will continue to make more informed decisions and pressure retailers and brands to be more transparent about what goes into their products and how they conduct business.

Examples in relation to this include:

Plant-based eating, reducing plastic waste and consumption, environmentally friendly product ingredients and packaging from household goods like Fairy to tea like PG Tips, portion control snacks like goodnessknows…

Integrated retailer & brand campaigns

Retailers are building on their emotive brand campaigns to better integrated product & brand advertising in a bid to win customers and drive sales. The collaborative marketing style has benefits for the brand who get a sense of retailer endorsement in the shoppers’ eyes, whilst the brand plays a big role in attracting shoppers.

Following the successes of John Lewis & Partners, M&S and Currys over Christmas, who all seamlessly integrated hero brands and products they sell as part of their overall brand campaign, we expect to see more of this in 2019 as retailers realise the importance of an integrated and joint brand and retailer marketing approach.

Examples in relation to this include:

brand-led product advertising from John Lewis & Partners as a follow up to the Elton John ad,  Petits Filous & Amazon Pantry ‘Play Free’ campaign…

Shopping anytime, anywhere

Consideration for purchase no longer only happens consciously when you are on the shopping mission. Nor does it only happen in a physical store or at a desktop computer in the home.  We’re shopping on-the-go more than ever and often on unplanned shopping missions.

Shopping is happening anytime, anywhere, with many undecided on what brand to buy at the start of a journey. Brands and retailers need to ensure they are influencing at the right moment to persuade shoppers to buy their product. At the same time impulse shopping is on the rise, particularly with the ‘I want it now’ mentality when shopping. All this is giving rise to the inclusion of digital & mobile, OOH, and proximity media as part of a shopper campaign. 

Examples in relation to this include:

Yazoo mobile marketing campaign reaching parents while waiting to pick up their kids from school, shoppable ads on Instagram, SodaSteam’s proximity campaign to Boots…


It’s no secret that our lives are as busy as ever while we try to juggle multiple things in order to experience more and avoid FOMO. We’re looking for retailers and brands to make things as easy as possible for us, whether that me pre-selected meal ingredients via recipe boxes or through subscription options for razors. 

We’re also shifting away from a do-it-yourself culture, to a do-it-for-me one when it comes to shopping for things that require assembly, ongoing maintenance or even a level of knowledge to use. We want ease and expertise.

Examples in relation to this include:

Rise of recipe boxes like HelloFresh, Dollar Shave Club razor subscription, service integration with products from Halfords, monthly beauty boxes like Birchbox…

Tech-assisted shopping

We’re always going to want things to be easier and shopping is no different. Shoppers are demanding and retailers want to provide easier and more convenient shopping solutions to keep customers and get them coming back.

Mobile has been a big enabler here already, but mobile payments are now becoming more widespread. And other tech is playing a big role too, from trials of digital shelf signage to voice assisted shopping, chatbots, VR and AR, we only expect to see more brands and retailers testing and rolling out new ways to sell, market and allow shoppers to buy. 

Examples in relation to this include:

voice activated shopping through Alexa, digital shelf edge label trials by Morrisons, Co-op’s trial of mobile payments in store, Amazon Go, Sainsbury’s Scan & go, Tesco Scan as you shop…

Differentiation in the face of competition

With an increasing level of competition in the market, be it more brands, own-label products as a threat to brands or the strength of the discounters posing a threat to retailers, there is a need for differentiation to give shoppers a reason to choose one over the other.

For brands, differentiation could be through brand experience or the activation itself but it has to remain relevant to shoppers and their needs.

For retailers, it’s a focus on the points of difference of service, quality and branded goods. Many will seize the opportunity to partner with supplier brands to help them achieve that differentiation.

Examples in relation to this include:

the adidas x Very Here to Create experiential campaign, P&G beach clean up campaign at Tesco, Curry’s PC World’s staff expertise in Christmas campaign…


If you want to discuss how any of these trends might impact your brand or retailer shopper marketing activity in 2019, get in touch.


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