The secrets of attracting and engaging more shoppers in-store when it matters… 

How do all the topics on this page come together to create a store…

Stand out in-store and make more meaningful connections with shoppers…

How to get your next new product onto the radars of more shoppers more often … 

Understand your competitive position from a shopper perspective…

Attract attention and engage shoppers much more effectively…

Discover what shoppers want from adjacencies and product group associations…

Add the shopper to your next category management strategy… 

What happens when real shoppers come face to face with your product on shelf?…

Proven formula for optiminsing in-store stand out and retaining more margin…

Find out how to make your products more desirable to shoppers in-store…

Identify how shopper needs and missions vary at a retail channel level… 

Shopper Research

  • Shelf Analysis
  • What happens when real shoppers come face to face with your product on shelf?…

  • Promotions Research
  • Proven formula for optimising in-store stand out and retaining more margin…

  • Product Research
  • Find out how to make your products more desirable to shoppers in-store…

  • Packaging Research
  • The secrets of attracting and engaging more shoppers in-store when it matters…

  • NPD Insight
  • How to get your next new product onto the radars of more shoppers more often …

  • Department Solutions
  • Discover what shoppers want from adjacencies and product group associations…

  • Channel Solutions
  • Identify how shopper needs and missions vary at a retail channel level…

  • Brand Research
  • Understand your competitive position from a shopper perspective…

Shopper Research
Shopping Behaviour Analysis

"The information we gained from the shopper research was far more useful than even 100 focus groups. We learned what shoppers really do, not what they..."


Are you blind to what shoppers see in store?

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Shoppers can't tell you how they behave

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In-store Promotions

Big name premium brand and product demonstrators in brick and mortar locations are expected to drive traffic into the impulse buy mode. Print and online promotions target existing customers, and attempt to lure new ones. This type of advertising has been a consistent factor in marketing in the past in the United Kingdom.

Marketers may be focused on figuring out how the experience of encountering a product demonstrator in an in-store promotion event be duplicated online. Are there better ways to promote online? Will a coffee machine demo work in a huge discount store? Does it matter? Online stores rely on low overhead and, as discount stores do, rely on cheaper prices.

Do in-store promotions have to a) be limited to actual brick and mortar stores? and b) do they have to be a hands on experience? Sure, being able to touch and feel products may appeal to the consumer, but the growth in online shopping proves that convenience and price are compelling factors too.

Aha, you say. There must be clever ways to combine an in-store plan with the flexibility of the internet. Before you rush off to your tech department with a great idea they can transform into an online equivalent, let me tell you something valuable about the value of such a promotion: It may not be worth the effort. I’m Phillip Adcock and I’ve researched more than 150 psychological insights that can affect a promotion’s performance.

Here is one hint that might surprise you: every extra syllable of a price reduces the likelihood it will be remembered. A nice round number such as £9.00 is more memorable than a cutesy £20.17.

How about this? Special offers with restrictions (for example, an offer limited to two per customer) are more appealing than an offer without restrictions.

These may seem counter-intuitive, but this is how shoppers shop. Rather than focus on new and appealing ways to bridge the in-store/online or grocery store/discount store differences, your best bet is to talk to me about the best way to approach in-store attention getting. My ability to know the psychological triggers that allow consumers to see what they see when they shop, can save you from money-losing decisions.

Shoppers do not always see what is on the sales promotion you think is eye-catching. They more often than not see the complete opposite to what you think the sign said.

Quick. Here’s  a test. Comparing store promotions examples where the price on the product is £39, £34, and £44, which price had the most appeal? I bet you guessed £34.

If you did, you would be wrong.

It was the £39 price tag. It attracted 23% more shoppers. They just prefer prices that end in 9. Go figure.

Investment in consumer psychological awareness improves the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, and gives you an advantage. I encourage you to use your advertising budget wisely.

I’m Phillip Adcock, a leading authority on shopper behaviour. For further information on instore promotions and how this information can improve your business, contact me on: 07960 109 876 or email:

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Customer Insight Strategy

Suppose you have been successful in developing a customer insights strategy and discovered an actionable insight or two. What do you do with those actionable insights? More importantly, how do you know that they are actionable insights? Will they provide a growth in your business value?

Why do you need an actionable insight? Primarily to know where to start and what to focus on when drawing up a plan of action. Before going into that, we need to step back to the very first elements of the strategy. Customer insight (CI) strategy is all about understanding your customers. Regardless of who you thought your target market is or should be, your customers are those that your aim is actually hitting. Priority must be given to interpreting the data you already have, but unless you are able to interpret it properly, your effort is useless.

Simply stated, the basic element is not so much about hitting your target market, as it is about understanding who your target market is. That is, who are you attracting? If who you think you are hitting are not the ones you are actually reaching, then all the marketing in the world will not help. You’ve got to line up these two things one way or the other.

You also have to align the reality of what is happening, with what should be happening. This is where you look at the ideal plan of action, and compare it with the existing plan of action to find the gaps. Yes, you got it? Good old gap analysis to the rescue.

Concurrent with CI strategy, you need business & marketing strategies in place. Once you can identify the behaviour of your shoppers, you will be better able to bring your strategic priorities into alignment with the approach to marketing for success. Shopper feedback is a powerful form of research – if it is properly conducted.

I suppose by now you are thinking that this is going around in circles. In a way it is, somewhat like a snake eating its own tail. It is all intertwined. Oh, and there is something else I must tell you about shoppers. It is difficult to dig into the truth of that particularly mysterious labyrinth because even the shopper cannot tell you why they like what they like or buy what they buy.

Phillip Adcock is my name and shopping behaviour is my game. I’m not trying to discourage you from doing your own shopper insight analysis and building your own shopper insight strategy. I’m simply trying to let you know that there are tricks to this particular process and I can help you decipher the steps to take. You need the competitive advantage that these insights are able to provide. I can help you turn customer insights into profit. I have the experience, knowledge, effectiveness, technology, and tools that can help in this endeavour. My effective results speak for themselves.

For further information on consumer insights and how this information can improve your business, contact me on: 07960 109 876 or email:







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Experiential Shoppers and Meatballs – An Ideal Combination?

To understand your shoppers, you need to know who they are, and how they buy. In our last blog we discussed how well you know your shoppers, doing so in terms of the five modes of shopping we experience.

We know that the experiential shopper uses their senses as much as possible to experience an item. As well as looking at it, they also smell and touch it, experiencing the product as much as possible before making a final decision.

IKEA gives the experiential shopper a whole world of product to explore and experience. Shoppers wander around, getting lost in a maze of kitchen set ups, opening draws, walking over rugs and sitting in chairs. Many of these shoppers also take a visit to the in-store café, before attempting to track down any chosen flatpack furniture for a future assembly attempt. So, with recent rumours of an IKEA expansion, further exploration of experiential shoppers seemed an appropriate response.

What Do We Know

IKEA are considering a standalone restaurant. Customers would be able enjoy the classic meatballs and chips, without setting foot near a flat pack cupboard. At first there was shock. IKEA themselves have said 30% of their customers go there to eat and so there is certainly a customer base for an IKEA restaurant. However, giving these shoppers a reason NOT to go into the store seems risky.

Head of food operations, Gerd Diewald has said, “We’ve always called the meatballs ‘the best sofa-seller’”. So why are they considering it?

The simple answer is that IKEA deem it a risk work taking. They have seen a market opportunity with a new profit source; really it would be unwise of them to not at least consider the opportunities it holds.

More Than Just Meatballs

IKEA stores are already known for the experience they offer, there seems no reason as to why their restaurants couldn’t be known for that too. In fact, a standalone restaurant may be the perfect opportunity to enhance their customers’ experience. The move would give IKEA a unique chance to provide customers with a genuine, real-world experience of their products. Patrons would be sitting on an IKEA chair, at an IKEA table, eating off an IKEA plate with IKEA cutlery… you get the idea.

Sneaky? Not really. Shoppers want to try before they buy, what better way to trial possible furniture than to use it as you would at home, to sit and eat. La Cour, the Managing Director of IKEA has said, “I hope in a few years our customers will be saying, ‘IKEA is a great place to eat — and, by the way, they also sell some furniture.’”

With successful pop up shops in London and Paris an IKEA restaurant expansion could lead to a whole new way of experiential shopping, although no plans have yet been finalised.

Shoppers needs are quickly evolving, for an in-depth discussion on Shopper Modes read our previous blog here. SBXL specialise in analysing real shoppers, really shopping. To find out more contact us on 01543 258189 or email

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Less is More: The Paradox of Choice

Imagine a display with 24 types of jam on it. Various flavours and promises of quality jump at you from every direction. There is so much choice and you simply can’t decide which jam you want! So instead of making the decision, you leave the jam behind. Why?

You would think that the greater the choice, the greater the chance of a sale. 24 types of jam is far superior to 6. As with 24 jars of jam every customer will find something they want. Right?

Psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper debunked the idea that ‘more is more’ with their now famous Jam Study in 2000. While a larger display of jam certainly attracted more people, the pair found that the smaller selection actually resulted in more sales, all thanks to the paradox of choice.

The ‘Paradox of Choice,’ also called ‘Choice Overload,’ shows that greater numbers of options lead to a more daunting shopping experience. Too much choice results in too many disparate options to compare and too many variables to factor in. This simply is not the way the human brain likes to work. We like things to be simple.

In a new study, Kellogg researchers have taken a fresh look at data from many paradox of choice studies and have identified specific occasions where reducing choices for shoppers is most likely to boost sales:

  1. Complex choices: When people want to make a quick and easy choice
  2. Difficult choices: When making the right choice matters/selling complex products
  3. Incomparable choices: When you show options that are difficult to compare
  4. High effort choices: When your customers are unclear about their preferences

Beating the Paradox

So is the only option to cut back on the number of customer options? Not at all! There are many ways to simplify the choice making process without sacrificing breadth of product. The most basic, and most effective, way is logical sub-categorisation to make each product feel more manageable.

A complex choice can be simplified by catering for “Grab & Go” shoppers for example. The Food To Go area in most super-markets is a great illustration of this, offering a balance between availability and limitation of options. Alternatively, if a choice is more difficult due to a complex product, clearly marking customer needs and offering error insurance on the aisle will help simplify the process and offer peace of mind, making a sale more likely.

There are other times where all the customer needs is any way of making a comparison, however spurious. If a customer is trying to compare two incomparable products then offering hero products, for example, ‘No1 best-selling instant coffee’, ‘Voted best tasting freshly ground’ etc. will minimise the need for a choice at all. This, coincidentally, is how most in-store offers work. This strategy also works for high effort choices, ones where the customers don’t really know what they want. In this case, the customer often just needs ANY reason to buy a product, such as an award or recognised recommendation from a third party, something to separate it from the others.

A solid understanding of how your customers think and shop, and being able to provide for these needs, should be the cornerstone of any retail experience. The easier it is for your customer to buy, the easier it is for you to sell.

When we have run our own research into sub-categorisation and signposting here at SXBL, we have seen up to 45% category growth in some cases. We can help you do the same. If you want to improve category segmentation or are curious to know what makes psychologically good, shopper oriented sub-categorisation then why not get in touch?

Phillip Adcock is the founder and Managing Director of the research agency Shopping Behaviour Xplained Ltd, a shopping research organisation that uses psychological insight to explain and predict how consumers will behave. SBXL operates in seventeen countries for hundreds of clients including Mars, Tesco, and B&Q.

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