SYDNEY: Shopper marketing is gaining popularity in Australia, but many brands have struggled to build comprehensive planning and measurement tools, new figures show.

Point of Purchase Advertising International, the trade body, and ShopAbility, the consultancy, polled 126 executives from manufacturers, retailers, and agencies covering sales promotion and point-of-sale.

Overall, 55% of the organisations represented intend to increase the number of staff working on this area in the next 18 months.

A majority of companies also expect to allocate more resources to shopper marketing during this period, with expenditure similarly pegged to be almost twice that recorded over the course of 2010.

Norrelle Goldring, a director at ShopAbility, told B&T: "Whilst shopper marketing is a relatively new discipline in Australia it is gathering pace as an umbrella that can now integrate category, marketing and sales functions into seamless planning and delivery for better shopper engagement."

The benefits of shopper marketing include enhancing the customer experience, boosting revenues and encouraging partnerships between retailers and brands, mentioned by 80% of the sample.

A further 70% of the panel cited strengthening brand equity, while 60% of participants referenced improvements related to new product development.

Mobile is also seeing increasing uptake, with 15% of shopper marketing initiatives now featuring apps and equivalent tools applying across the entire path to purchase.

Less positively, 72% of interviewees believed the company they worked for did not currently possess clearly-defined, formalised procedures regarding their programmes in this area.

Equally, only 20% of shopper marketing schemes are based on direct collaboration between retails and brand owners, the study found.

Measuring return on investment constitutes another core obstacle, as 74% of contributors agreed that was a lack of appropriate metrics to gauge success.

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff