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 shopper study we conducted with SBXL uncovered valuable insights about the garden care shopper that we had previously missed when using a more..."


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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Retail Research

There are many components involved in conducting retail analysis. Any investigation into how shoppers shop and what entices them to buy, is an intricate interplay of human behaviour, and global patterns of supply and demand. Such investigations involve understanding capital markets, investor relations, and having access to the latest consumer research.

Over the past 20 years, consumer behaviour has shifted, not just in the United Kingdom, but globally. The digital world has had a major impact on consumers. It may take a little longer to wait for delivery of an item, but the range of available choices compensates for the delay. Big discount stores remove a great deal of the personalisation of a neighbourhood store, but the prices compensate for that lack.

Traditional methods of marketing may no longer make up for shortfalls in consumer appeal We may think that the ability to touch and smell products will keep consumers coming to old-style marketplaces, but is this based on reality? In a world that is increasingly fast-paced, convenience, coupled with lower price points, seems to be a bigger factor than sensory satisfaction. It is a combination that is hard to compete with.

Retailers need to make changes. According to the Econsultancy report, Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends in Retail, retailers say that they compete by focusing on differentiation through customer experience. The tools they use to engage with their customers are virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). Econsultancy’s quip sums it up, “Retailers sell products. Retail leaders sell experiences.”

IGD’s Retail Analysis notes that the shift to shopping online for food and groceries means that “bricks and mortar stores must rapidly evolve and innovate to remain relevant.” The big question is how can a store, living in a digital world bring fresh food and taste experiences to the buying public?

IGD identifies four forces of change in retail: resource resilience, altering authorities, societal shifts, and transformative technology. The bottom line, according to IGD, is that store ranges and designs must be reconsidered; staff are the differentiator, products must be unique and delivered with inspiration and engagement. Also, measures of success must be revamped.

There is information and expertise available on the various sectors involved in the development of corporate services that will keep the typical retailer ahead of the curve. While it is possible to read the reports and gain insight into your retail business and know the market share in your sector, the real key to success is in knowing the industrial and financial backdrop, as well as having extensive knowledge of the global market place and the client psychology when it comes to making a purchase.

I’m Phillip Adcock and SBXL is my company. I’m one of the world’s leading authorities on shoppers and shopping. My team and I constantly study the market place and the consumers who use it so that we always have a strong understanding of both the trends and responses. Contact us for research and consulting in the challenging and evolving world of selling merchandise. You can contact me on: 07960 109 876 or Email:

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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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Show Them You Care

We’re now halfway into the year, it’s soon to be first day of summer and Father’s Day is just around the corner. With 11 other months just like this one, it’s hard not to go into a shop without seeing competitive displays for whatever upcoming ‘season’ is next. It may be Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day, whichever the forthcoming season there’s no doubt brands start planning promotions early

Is it ever too early?

Seasonal marketing provides retailers with a supply of annual occasions to prepare for, giving an easy hook for promotions which can attract more shoppers and increase sales.

I’m sure many of you noticed the instore displays went up early for Father’s Day this month, while this isn’t unusual, can it ever be too early? Just this year Easter gifts were being sold while Mother’s Day promotions were still in full swing. With retailers really pushing their promotions, displays are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and elaborate as years go by. Some going as far as to take over entire shopping aisles to grab the shopper’s attention.

In 2014 the figures show consumers spent £467 million on Father’s Day gifts, £140 million on Father’s Day food and drink, and £52 million on Father’s Day cards and wrap. With that said, it’s not hard to understand why retailers start planning months in advance to make the most of the annual events.

‘Show dad how much you love him!’

Pictures of happy loved ones celebrating. Inbox’s flooded with promotional email offers, telling you to ‘treat dad to something special this year’. It’s the repetitive advertising we’re all so used to, nevertheless, there’s a reason they’re continually used, they work!

In such a competitive environment, it’s not enough to just promote your products, you need to offer something more. The best campaigns are the ones connect their branded product to shoppers on an emotional level.

Generally, there are 6 recognised emotions, happy, sad, afraid, surprised, angry, and disgusted. Brands use these categories to target shoppers because when we’re emotional, we’re less rational and are much more likely to buy.

But would you be surprised to hear the public are more likely to spend more money on Mother’s Day than Father’s Day?

So do we love our Mothers more, or is there something else at play? Respectively the holidays have a lot in common, both celebrate parents, both always land on a Sunday. So why are Dads short changed? Perhaps Dads just don’t have the emotional significance of Mother’s Day. Let’s think about promotional activity of the separate holidays. Offers of spa treatments, flowers and weekends away are all promoted on the lead to Mother’s Day. Alternately, practical needs such as tools, shirts and sporting goods are always popular come Father’s Day.

So what do you think? Even if it is the thought that counts, why are dads getting short changed? And is it ever too early to see an aisle takeover?

While you can’t measure affection, you can certainly evoke it. With pre-planned, creative marketing, brands have limitless opportunities to emotionally connect with shoppers. Who dares wins!

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Masterful Marketing or Misleading the Masses?

Colour, shape, size and logo are all features on packaging, an important aspect of a product which undoubtedly influences the shopper’s decision to buy. Red for example, as well as being a “danger” colour, will make things seem more exciting and urgent. In contrast, black tends to give an air of higher value.

While some packaging choices like these may be clearer to understand, the writing on the pack is often overlooked. With the typical Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) in a supermarket having around a 1 in 500 chance of being bought, for today’s brands it’s more important than ever to take advantage of any opportunity to be noticed by shoppers.

Fictitious Farming

Renowned for giving tips and advice on a range of current consumer issues, a Rip Off Britain episode, aired 31/05/17 on BBC1 (available now on BBC iPlayer), discussed the issue of packaging in store. Focusing specifically on the tactics which many shoppers feel are misleading.  Phillip Adcock, Managing Director of Shopping Behaviour Xplained made a guest appearance on the popular show, giving his thoughts on the topic.

The debate came after Tesco was criticised for using fake farm names on their packaging. Woodside, Willow and Boswell farms are just three examples of names being used on their meats for sale.

So why is produce farmed in Britain so attractive to shoppers? In the episode, Phillip Adcock suggested shoppers have positive associations with farms, believing them to be both fresher and healthier options than other produce on offer.

Factual Farming

Farmers’ Markets, as the name suggests, give local farmers the chance to sell their produce directly and gives consumers the opportunity to buy farm-fresh, locally grown food. Shoppers know items bought haven’t been sourced far away and travelled hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to be sold. Today, with more people becoming concerned with food sourcing and ‘going green’, these markets are gaining popularity among shoppers.

That said, farmers’ markets also have the reputation of being more expensive., whether they are is another discussion itself, but confirmation bias is a powerful thing. You believe it to be true, you’re told it to be true, thus you continue to assume it’s true. One thing that is undeniably true however, is that farmers’ markets are not the most convenient. They aren’t on practically every road, and are only open certain hours, on certain days.

How does this relate to the issue of misleading packaging in supermarkets?

We know people want to buy locally farmed, fresh produce. We also know shoppers are busy people, likely to have a job, a family and other daily demands. They may not have the time so they most definitely want the convenience. Supermarkets have seen this as an opportunity, offering shoppers the convenience of fresh local produce, at what is assumed to be a cheaper price. Jackpot.

To find out about the tactics that are most likely going to engage your customers, talk to us on 01543 255 259 or email

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