There are as many shopper classification tools as there are shopper marketing agencies. The original VALS spectrum still brings a lot of clarity the "plan and brand" process, and most of the proprietary segmentation models agencies try and sell their clients are still heavily derivative of the original Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles psychograpics developed in the 1970's by Author Mitchell.
The folks at Henkel Consumer Goods recently annouced the results of a study that examined three years of data from multiple retail channels, covering 300 food and non-food categories commonly carried in supermarkets. This data was collected from the Information Resources, Inc. Consumer Network Panel and other sources
Their findings? Shoppers can be divided into three general categories: Shoptimzers, Mainstreeters, and Carefrees.
Shoptimizers are most likely to be influenced in their choices by pre-shopping stimuli such as circulars and coupons. They also are most likely among the three groups to regard a clear everyday low price (EDLP) strategy as an assurance of value. Once inside an EDLP shopping environment, Shoptimizers may be likely to respond to in-store cues.
Mainstreeters do far less pre-planning and rarely save coupons, so their channel choices are more likely to be influenced by location, convenience and price reputation. Once inside the store, however, this group is most likely to be sensitive to in-store promotions and offers.
Carefrees avoid EDLP channels and bypass most pre-planning and in-store promotions. Interestingly, they totally trust club stores to deliver value appropriate to their consumption patterns. Once inside a store, they tend to ignore prices and buy what they like.
Some other interesting tidbits:
• Coupon Use is almost entirely confined to Shoptimizers, who make up about 25 percent of households and 30 percent of household spending. Coupons are seldom used by Mainstreeters and virtually never by Carefrees.
• Private Label products are purchased more frequently (higher dollar-sales index) by Shoptimizers and less frequently (lower dollar-sales index) by Carefrees. Mainstreeters purchase store brands at about average levels.
• Trip Frequency varies significantly among the behavioral groups, with Shoptimizers visiting stores about four times per week, compared with two-and-a-half times per week for Mainstreeters and twice a week for Carefrees.
• Shopping Basket Size also varies among the behavioral groups, with Shoptimizers spending the smallest dollar amount on each occasion and Carefrees spending the most. Shoptimizers, however, due to their trip frequency spend the most per year, +16 percent versus Mainstream, and +32 percent versus Carefree.
• In-Store Promotions are primarily effective at influencing Mainstreeters, who make up 44 percent of households and dollar sales. In-store promotions have relatively little influence on the purchase decisions of Carefrees.