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At last week’s 13th annual Global Electronic Marketing Conference (GEMCON), Glenn Hausfater, managing director of Partners in Loyalty Marketing Inc., offered some fascinating research results about the top shoppers who contribute so much to supermarkets’ bottom line.

Noting that conventional wisdom suggests that 80 percent of business is done by 20 percent of customers, Hausfater said that his research points to the top 10 percent of shoppers actually contributing an overwhelming percentage of sales – but that most stores don’t know that much about this upper echelon of consumers.

What has been known to this point, he said, is that they tend to be in their supermarket at least once a week, three times more often than “average shoppers,” 12 times more often than many shoppers, and generating average transactions that are as much as double the “average shopper.”

But by engaging in a unique dialogue with top shoppers, Hausfater said, new intelligence about their behavior has been created:

  • Top shoppers are very loyal, and often are long term customers, sometimes shopping at single store for two decades or longer.

  • Top shoppers love to also go to Costco – not because of price, but because they like the selection, quality and fun they find there.

  • Top shoppers tend to do their price comparisons inside the store, and not with competitors. They tend to identify deals through in store promotion pieces, and don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to mass advertising.

  • They prefer national brands…but can be pushed into trying a private label by the right kind of communication.

  • Top shoppers see loyalty marketing cards as a “plus,” but generally don’t feel that such programs make them feel special.

  • And, top shoppers tend to be focused on people, relating to store employees far more than other shoppers do. They tend to rate people higher on their list of priorities even than quality and cleanliness.

Knowing this information – and more importantly, acting on it – is a clear path to keeping top shoppers satisfied and building both sales and traffic, Hausfater said.
KC's View:
Think about this for a second…

What these top shoppers are crying out for is specialized, personalized communications that speak specifically their needs and desires. It is a simple as that. Talk to them in relevant language – make them feel special – and it serves to reinforce the intensity of the shopper-shopkeeper relationship.

But if these customers account for an enormous percentage of sales, wouldn’t it make sense to do this?

It’d be the least the supermarket could do, it seems to us.