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

"Working with SBXL is insightful, we always find out more than we set out to!"

Global FMCG Organisation


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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FMCG Research and SBXL

If you are going to grab a soft drink or a box of tissues, chances are that you won’t bother comparison shopping. You are thirsty now or know you will be soon and you want your favourite soft drink. You just buy it. Quite simply, consumers buy out of necessity (you need shampoo) or habit or because these items are part of their everyday way of being. These low cost fast moving consumer goods have low profit margins but a huge volume of sales.

How can a retailer effectively market these fast moving items? Is it worth it because the profit margin is so low? I’m Phillip Adcock and I’d like to answer some of your questions. For now, let’s think about trends. What are the current and upcoming fast moving consumer goods?

In 2014, trends in FMCG included things organic, interactive marketing, and social media. Go natural, get your name on a bottle of Coke, share a hashtag on Facebook. That was then. What about now? According to Grocer Jobs, the 2017 trends in FMCG for the UK include healthy food, lager, licensed goods, African products, and flexitarian products.

Inside FMCG reported in January 2017 that the major food trends in the Australian grocery industry leaned toward health concerns. Wellness tonics, purple foods (the colour indicating high nutrient levels and antioxidants), coconut, Flexitarian, and Mindful meal prep were the products moving off the shelves quickly.

Here’s something I discovered, when it comes to the sale of these low profit items, 71% of shoppers who bought them on special offer would have made the purchase anyway.

Using the information gleaned from reports on the trends in fast moving consumer goods, a pattern can be seen. With the experience my team and I have in understanding the retail sector, the power of brands, the needs of the customer, and the value of testing the behaviour of shoppers, we are well situated to help in the development of an effective plan to place and promote huge amounts of fast moving items.

We know most customers will make the purchase because they need the item, with little motivation from special promotions. Sometimes it is as simple as having the item placed so that the shopper cannot avoid seeing it. Prominently placed purple food (in Australia at least) may hit the customer’s impulse button.

Some of my clients like to read more about product placement. However, while the search for data on the latest trends is intriguing, unless you understand the relationship between the shopper and these fast moving consumer goods, trend analysis won’t help your business.

This is where I can help. It is important to have expertise behind you here because more than half of consumer spending is for FMCG. I’ve spent more than 20 years studying the dynamics between retailers and paying customers. If you are interested in discussing how my market research services can help you, contact me via email or call 01543 255 259.

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Retail Marketing Research

In 2017, it makes sense to think that the right social media campaign will increase sales. There has never been a time like now to reach into the homes and hearts of consumers.

The catch is that companies need the right information so that they can tell consumers about their products and brands in an enticing manner. This typically involves the four Ps of marketing. These are product, price, place, and promotion. How do we know which choices we should make as retailers? Research. That’s the answer. Retailers need to understand shopping behaviour.

One traditional way of gaining insight into the customer experience is through a focus group or a questionnaire. Retail market research services asked customers what they liked, what triggered them to reach the point of purchase, take the big step and buy.

It seems like a reasonable way to approach the issue. To carry out effective brand advertising, you need to know what it is that appeals to the consumer. This is at the heart of marketing. With the right information and insights, retailers can implement the innovation and strategy that will drive their brands to the top. Where do you get this information? From the consumer. Right?

Yes. And no.

The concept makes sense, but to take a consumer’s word for what triggered or prompted the purchase is about as effective as throwing mud at a wall to see what sticks. Maybe it will stick, maybe some of it will stick, maybe none of it will stick. I’m sure you’re aware it can be expensive and time-consuming to set up a marketing program that misses the mark.

Even a successful business analysis, incorporating all the most recent insight into the impact of the global marketplace, online shopping, and social media can still miss the mark. What they miss is a true, deeper understanding of the process of basic human emotion found in what I call the ‘Lizard Brain’. If you recognise the power behind emotion, you will know how to market your company, your channel, your brand.

Marketers must understand the atavistic nature of shoppers. In spite of all the modern sophistication, we are still driven by the instinct for self-preservation. At our core is the need to survive. When we go shopping, our ancestral need for self-preservation waits in our lizard brain. Our cave dwelling ancestors liked high-calorie food because food was not always easy to come by. High calorie food helped us survive the lean days. In the grocery store, it’s human nature to look for high-fat, calorie-dense foods.

In a focus group, people can’t tell you these things. You miss powerful insight because this knowledge is found at the subconscious level. This is why retail market research can be such a challenge.

To learn more about effective retail marketing research, contact me on: 01543 255 259 or email

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How to Join the Dots of Multi-Channel Shopping

It’s accepted common knowledge that the internet has had a negative impact on the performance of brick and mortar stores. A new report from the University of Southampton, however, claims that this doesn’t need to be the case. The two shopping formats can co-exist, but they currently aren’t.

The report explains that the advantages of online shopping have changed what shoppers want from brick and mortar stores – it’s now more about the shopping experience than the simple need to shop. It goes on to say that such stores need to invest in an enhanced shopping experience to survive.

The report also details the rise of the convenience culture. It states that: “An evolving ‘convenience culture’ in combination with increasing levels of internet retail are together creating structural changes in the way people shop”

On the subject of Multi-channel shopping, the report reveals that, some retailers are finding it hard to keep up with this modern behaviour but that this does not suggest the ‘death of physical space’. Rather, it points towards the need for significant changes in the way physical stores operate.

“In the light of new technology trends, retailers should focus on people and not on devices. It’s about using technology to return to understanding the consumer and offering personalised service.”

It goes on to say: “Forecasts for 2019 suggest that the convenience store grocery sector will account for almost a quarter of total UK grocery sales; conversely, the once dominant ‘superstores & hypermarkets’ sector market share is set to collapse.”

The report concludes by saying that the “experiential” side of shopping heightens enjoyment and increases the amount of time and money spent in a store.

In summary, online and bricks and mortar channels are NOT the same and shouldn’t be treated as such. What’s more, the Internet supports rather than replaces bricks and mortar retail with online by providing shoppers with a more convenient means of buying the same thing again. Whereas bricks and mortar is better suited to introducing shoppers to new brands and products by way of a physical shopping ‘experience’.

The data behind the report suggests that multi-channel retail is currently far from ideal and is failing to protect physical retail outlets. It appears that too many decision makers are attempting to force this rapidly evolving shopping behaviour into their existing strategies. Instead, they should be focusing on creating a new, multi-channel shopper oriented business model.

Our ongoing study of the similarities and differences between online and traditional bricks and mortar shopping is also very revealing. It has shed new light onto the facts and fiction relating to this modern retail phenomenon of multi-channel. One thing we have discovered for sure, is that when it comes identifying today’s shopper needs, it’s no good regurgitating yesterday’s shopper research.

To find out more about multi-channel shopping and how bricks and mortar stores can co-exist, talk to our experts on 01543 255 259 or email

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What’s love got to do, got to do with it?

We all know the aim is to get more shoppers buying, but we can’t afford to ignore the challenges faced in getting them to buy again, and again.

Browse, Buy, Repeat

Shopper loyalty is hard to come by in this modern society, with so many brands fighting for shoppers’ attention, loyalty is often forced to take a back seat. Products with similar features, pricing and packaging are all thrown at shoppers who on average see two offers every second.

Emotions and rationality are important factors in the shoppers decision to purchase, the weighing of each however, varies considerably on the circumstances. A shopper may choose a certain brand because they don’t have a choice but a sale’s a sale, right? In fact, in this situation the lack of an emotional connection means there is no loyalty for the shopper to come back for more, meaning the sale could easily go to another brand next time. All the shopper had to go on was reason, the features and functionality, but without emotion, indecision is imminent and a gamble for your brand.

Undoubtedly building a relationship with customers is key to loyalty, and loyalty is linked to trust. It’s safe to say there is always an element of trust in any transaction, customer loyalty however requires a little more. We associate with brands emotionally, at a subconscious level, making sure this connection is strong should be a goal of every brand. Why? According to Gallob consumers with an emotional connection to a brand spend 46% more on that brand, compared to those they have no emotional attachment to.

Need More Convincing?

It may sound strange but the less consumers think about purchasing, the better for that brand, as long as you’ve established that customer loyalty. We all have specific products we regularly buy, almost unconsciously, price doesn’t matter and we won’t settle for anything else. Simply put, emotional loyalty can be one of the biggest barriers against competitors.

Emotional loyalty offers more though, the best examples are when a customers loyalty turns them in to ambassadors of sorts for the brand. They become a walking, talking, free advertisement for your brand.

What are your thoughts? Any studies to share with us? We’d love to have a conversation – in the comments, by tweet or email us at

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