Winning the Shopper Dollar this Summer

After an extended winter for most of the country, summer has finally arrived. Summer creates two major reactions for most Americans. First, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warmth and fresh air. Second, are social gatherings with friends and families at someone’s house, preferably the one with the great outdoor space. These two motivators drive a variety of trends that come to life at retailers across the country.

Expansion of the Backyard

The first trend that impacts consumers purchasing habits is the expansion of the backyard. Today, Americans view their backyard as an outdoor kitchen and great room for entertaining. Traditional items like premium grills and outdoor sofas are already a staple for many US households.  However, the patio or deck is being upgraded with fire pits, lighting, carpet, decorations, pillows and more. Retailers must stock all of the right items to deliver this ambience and win the shopper dollar. And, because time has become the number one motivator for Millennials in their decision model, retailers need to provide a simple one-stop shopping experience for these shoppers.

Eating In vs. Dining Out

Another key summer essential is entertaining at home. There are five major grilling holidays during the summer: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4th and Labor Day. However, the backyard cookout becomes a weekly or daily occasion during the 90 days of summer.  Everyone takes great pleasure in hosting friends and family as “cooking is a gift from the heart.”  Millennials and younger generations in particular obtain greater satisfaction in actually preparing a meal by hand vs. ordering food for guests. The concept of  “handmade” has more meaning to these age cohorts.  So, this shift in behavior will be a win for all grocery stores as more meals are being prepared at home.

Finally, retailers have become adept at creating various consumer occasions throughout the summer season. Often in-store retail promotions will remind shoppers about upcoming events and potentially trigger impulse purchases during the visit. Retailers are able to match the weather, the calendar and life events to elicit purchase. For instance, here are some summer promotional events that keep shoppers coming back for more:

  • Big items such as Grills and Sofas: early March to get shoppers to transition out of winter and into the mood for the outdoors.
  • Holiday Celebrations: late May – July with decorations, fireworks, etc.
  • Family fun with Outdoor Activities: early June, when the kids get out of school
    retailers focus on gear such as bikes, camping and sports equipment.
  • Sending kids to camp: June as parents buy supplies so their kids have a great camp experience: towels, bathing suits, goggles, clothing.
  • Vacation needs: late May through late August for family getaways; snacks, games, drinks, books, electronics.

During each of these promotions retailers will leverage in-store signage, displays and communication elements. Their goal is to create an immersive shopping experience that always features new products and family fun.

Retailers will succeed this summer by driving purchase against both  consumer trends and promotional programming. Tapping into changing consumer habits and the desire to maximize experiences with their friends and families. Every purchase is always proceeded by an emotional trigger and successful retailers are experts at delivering against consumers thoughts and desires.

Erik D. Rosentrauch

President and CEO at FUEL Partnerships
Erik learned the art of marketing by leading some of the world’s largest retail consumer brands in Tostitos®, Craftsman® and Ruffles®.For the past seven years FUEL Partnerships, a retail marketing agency founded and led by Erik, has driven CPG Brands growth at the largest retailers such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Sam’s Club and more.

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