Drive-to-store: how to attract in-store highly connected consumers | Shopmium 

Drive-to-store: how to attract in-store highly connected consumers

Four out of five UK adults have a smartphone. Mobile use is changing our shopping patterns. The path to purchase has become omnichannel, with an increase in the number of touchpoints.

Mobile plays an essential role: it is used by consumers both to prepare for their shopping trip and also while they are in-store. For brands, these new dynamics create new opportunities. It means rethinking the reach & engagement experience and using specific strategies to drive consumers to store to generate sales.

An omnichannel world


The growth of omnichannel is one of the most significant trends in retail today. Consumers and Shoppers are clearly asking for omnichannel experiences. According to a study from Criteo and IMRG, half of UK consumers are frustrated by a disjointed online and in-store shopping experience.

The research highlights the importance of identifying and connecting consumers across devices and environments. Consumers have new expectations in exchange for sharing their personal data:

  • 27% of consumers believe retailers should use their information to show them relevant products and content automatically
  • 38% of consumers believe retailers should remember their preferences
  • 44% of consumers believe retailers should send them offers that are relevant to them

To deliver more integrated experiences, 72% of retailers say they are pursuing a cross-channel strategy. Brands can also capitalise on these new consumer expectations to increase their sales, win over new customers and improve their brand image. This can be achieved through targeted digital marketing activities.

The rising role of mobile


Mobile plays an important and increasing role in purchasing decisions. More and more consumers are using their mobile to do their supermarket shopping in a more intelligent way. Consumers use their smartphone to research products both before grocery shopping and in-store. The ROPO (Research Online Purchase Offline) or ROBO (Research Online Buy Offline) phenomenon is mobile-first.

According to a study from InMobi and Decision Fuel on UK Retail and the role of mobile, modern grocery buyers (mobile users who intend to purchase groceries within the next 90 days) use their mobile before grocery shopping to:

  • Research prices (for 46%)
  • Look for promotions and discounts (for 35%)
  • Investigate store locations (for 28%)
  • Research product info or availability (for 17%)
  • Research loyalty programs (for 14%)

As expected, this trend is even stronger with younger shoppers. According to the IRI UK Shoppers Insights Survey, 55% of Millennials use smartphones to get information about grocery products they would like to buy or stores to visit, researching thoroughly online before purchase.

Shoppers also use technology within the grocery store:

  • 70% of modern grocery buyers use their mobile while shopping
  • 55% of modern grocery buyers utilise mobile discounts, including mobile coupons
  • 9% of modern grocery buyers look for better prices elsewher

Finally, many consumers also read reviews, both during pre-shopping activities and while in-store. Online reviews have an important impact on purchasing decisions. According to research commissioned by Bazaarvoice, in partnership with the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), grocery is already the fifth most common use case of customer reviews after restaurants, hotels, films and TV. Bazaarvoice claims one review only can increase sales by 1%, while 50 reviews can increase sales up to 30%.

Brands are at risk of missing out on a generation of shoppers


The mobile path to purchase creates new possibilities for FMCG brands. Drive-to-store and mobile-to-store strategies encouraging consumers to visit a store and buy a product are an important lever to generate sales. These strategies include:

  • Mobile advertising: location-based mobile advertising and display formats allow the targeting of consumers with offers responding precisely to their needs. UK consumers are highly receptive to mobile ads. 91% of UK consumers recall seeing ads on mobile devices.
  • Mobile couponing: couponing campaigns are an extremely efficient way to attract consumers in-store, boost new products and increase sales. Mobile coupons create a strong buying incentive. Shoppers who use mobile coupons are more likely than the average shopper to try new products and to continue buying them.
  • Push notifications: push notifications and text messages are increasingly used by brands to engage with consumers. Thanks to geo-targeting and device data, it is possible to target only the consumers located in a specific area or at a specific time to inform them about a product and share contextualised personalised information.
  • Store locators and/or product locators: more and more brands are enabling consumers to identify a store around them selling products, and in some cases to check availability in real time. Some brands go even further, allowing to predict the availability in store over the next few days.

For FMCG brands, it is now essential to integrate these acquisition tools into their marketing strategy or potentially miss out on recruiting a whole generation of new shoppers.

Brands that leverage mobile and drive-to-store strategies


McVitie’s wanted to increase awareness and drive trial of its Thins range, highlighting its variety and new flavours. To do so, the brand launched a mobile campaign in the Shopmium App focused on recruiting new buyers. Consumers were invited to find the product in-store and purchase it (most likely for the 1st time), before receiving a partial refund allowing them to test the product for only £0.50. The campaign resulted in 75% incremental sales with 87% of new buyers and a return on investment of 149%.

Bakers Dry Dog Food had re-formulated its product and wanted to drive awareness amongst targeted dog owners while measuring the impact on sales at Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. The brand ran a mobile media campaign through Shopmium’s Shopper Network with strong call to actions (‘Shop Now’ and ‘Find Store’). The campaign resulted in a significant sales uplift with a return on investment of 160%.

Asda ran a location-based mobile ad campaign designed to generate visits to local stores over the key Christmas period. Chris Chalmers, Head of Digital Marketing at Asda, shared with Campaign: “The trial has shown us the true potential for location-based campaigns. Early results show a real lift in store visits and we can see the impact of specific promotions which is critical in the run-up to Christmas“.

Pernod Ricard used geo-targeting to promote its whisky brands in UK airports. Daniel Miller, EMEA Digital Manager of Travel Retail at Pernod Ricard told Mobile Marketing Magazine: “We were able to geo-target travellers at international terminals to increase foot traffic into duty free shops. We were exceptionally innovative on two aspects in this campaign – the audience targeting and mobile-specific creatives. Within a cluttered/busy airport space, travellers want clear instructions to stores”.


To entice highly connected consumers, brands must rethink the customer journey and take into account the role played by mobile in purchasing decisions. The use of mobile is continuously growing, both to prepare purchases in store and confirm purchases once in store. Drive-to-store strategies such as mobile advertising, mobile couponing, push notifications, or store locators are an excellent means to reach consumers on mobile engage with them and be able to measure the impact on sales in-store or online.

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