Shopping missions: Are the traditional missions dated?

Fabio Martins, David Baxter and Rebecca Gill
Ipsos, United Kingdom


Shopping missions are as old as trading itself. Since mankind started to trade items they owned for the possessions of others, there has always been an objective and an implicit need behind the intent to trade. It did not take long for enterprising humans to take advantage of this and to start to “use” the missions in order to gain an advantage in trading: they are coming here to trade their diamonds for food, how can I optimise my position in the trade. Today this is no exception. Retailers and Manufacturers alike are trying hard to uncover what motivates shoppers to visit a store so they can extract maximum value out of every shopper.

Uncovering the shoppers' missions allows one to determine the key aspects of retailing: the products desired and the budget. For example, shoppers on a typical stocking up trip are more likely to choose larger stores, which have the largest product range, and are likely to have a larger budget; on the other hand, shoppers on an emergency purchase are less likely to care about which store they choose and limit their purchase. Ultimately, the objective of the shopping mission is to build the basis for a differentiation among retailers and manufactures so as to optimise their offer amongst shoppers.