In-Store Ads More Effective than Out-of-Store

April 7, 2009

Despite the recession, more than 90% of shoppers make unplanned purchases, and 51% of those decisions take place in the shopping aisles, according to a new study from Miller Zell, writes MediaBuyerPlanner.

The Miller Zell study, “Gone in 2.3 Seconds: Capturing Shoppers with Effective In-Store Triggers,” (pdf), tracked the buying triggers of nearly 1,000 US shoppers to identify which in-store and out-of-store marketing communications get their attention and influence their purchase decisions. It found that across all age, income, gender and channels, evaluated, in-store advertising was considered more effective than out-of-store advertising in raising product awareness and communicating product benefits.

Key findings from the survey:

  • Ads in stores were given a “very effective” rating by 32% of respondents, vs. 27% who gave ads outside the store “very effective” ratings.
  • End-of-aisle signage is the type of signage that shoppers most actively engage with.? This is followed by merchandising displays, department signage, shelf strips and shelf blades:


  • Despite the fact that 65% of shoppers now make shopping lists prior to their shopping trip, they make brand decisions 60% of the time after entering the store.
  • Generation Y shoppers are more more likely to make lists, and are, in general,? more susceptible to advertising.
  • Women are more likely to grab unplanned items from end caps, where one-third of total purchases take place, while Gen Y are more inclined to make unplanned purchases at the store perimeter.
  • Gen X and Gen Y want more product comparison information
  • Overall, sale prices are more motivating to shoppers than “everyday low price” positioning – but Baby Boomers say product messages are more important (93%) than price-point messages (86%).
  • While quality ranks high, price tops the chart as an important factor to shoppers when making purchasing decisions.
  • Internet advertising appears to have minimal impact on planned or unplanned purchases in-store.

Interestingly, given the buzz surrounding in-store digital networks, digital signage has yet to reach a tipping point in terms of influencing unplanned in-store purchases, Miller Zell said. However, the survey indicates it seems to be gaining some traction in terms of planned purchases.

About the survey: Using an online survey of 999 US shoppers, Miller Zell probed consumers shortly after completing shopping trips. The survey was completed in March, 2009.


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