Book Review: Shopper Marketing

A lot of blood and sweat goes into maximizing a store’s consumer appeal. Designing a store that both attracts shoppers and makes them buy is practically an art form.

It’s a crucial art, at that. Shoppers actually choose most brands not as a result of advertising or brand awareness efforts, but at the point of purchase–the store display, studies show. If you master the point of purchase, you make the sale.

This is why spending on shopper marketing has doubled since 2004. Proctor & Gamble alone spends $500 million per year on it. Still, shopper marketing, which has taken the retail world by storm in recent years, defies easy description. It refers to the conglomeration of things that retailers need to consider in putting up a store, from design to packaging, layout to pricing, shopper behavior to creating the right sample counter.

Markus Stahlberg and Ville Maila have compiled the first book on the topic, aptly entitled Shopper Marketing: How to Increase Purchase Decisions at the Point of Sale. After 20 months of what Stahlberg calls “relentless correspondence and face-to-face meetings” with more than 300 experts around the world, the authors compiled the 35 shopper marketing essays that define the essence of the discipline.


Because Shopper Marketing is a collection of essays, it’s not a cover-to-cover read. There’s a lot in here, from shopper heat maps to case studies on corner displays. The most memorable essays revolve around:

• Where shoppers go once they’re in a store.
• How to cut through shoppers’ immunity to their surroundings.
• Incorporating the five senses into shopper experience.
• The patterns of customer behavior.
• How to offer shoppers more value with in-store media.
• What motivates customers to buy.
• How marketers sometimes make it hard for a customer to make a purchase, and how to override that.

Shopper marketing is complex and necessary—and doing it right isn’t easy. That’s why essays covered so many topics, with case studies, charts, research, tips, and analysis mixed in.


The whole book is rather heavy on the analysis and light on anecdotes. It is not light reading, but the in-depth essays are satisfying and educational. Shopper Marketing’s strongest asset was that it teaches a shopper-centric mindset, helping you understand how shoppers think and behave. This is crucial for attracting and retaining consumers in a hypercompetitive retail environment.

I would recommend Shopper Marketing to any retailer for a big-picture overview of how shoppers think. As a consumer, I also found it fascinating to learn just how much time, effort, and money goes into making people like me buy.

Disclosure: We received a free copy of Shopper Marketing.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.