The Shopper and information availability - by Mike Charette (J&J Global Customer Development VP)

Today we bring you a short and yet powerful exclusive-to.ShopperX article on how relevant is for FMCG companies to understand their shoppers and their path to purchase. But not just that, Mike Charette, Global Customer Development VicePresident for Johnson & Johnson, holds a long-succesful career managing Wal Mart business around the world and knows the benefits of investing in research, but also keeping updated on new trends and consumer/shopper behaviors.

According to Charette, "understanding the shopper, their path to purchase and how to influence it is critical to our success as suppliers. Shoppers have an overwhelming variety of online sources of not only price information, but product information from both formal and informal sources. According to TNS the average number of information sources used by shoppers doubled between 2010 and 11, including developing markets.

What was once a one-way message from manufacturers to consumers is now a many-way conversation. Word of mouth is essential, as trusted family and friends recommendations are increasingly important.  No product is too small for its own journey. Even seemingly mundane products like soap can be massively influenced by online comments."


He highlights the great example of Unilever’s Lifebuoy brand. In the first year after launching their website focused on how hand washing can prevent sickness in children, their Lifebuoy soap website they received 500,000 unique visitors. It’s now the #1 most-visited site at Unilever, with the lowest bounce rate and has now grown to 3 million online supporters as they spread the message of hand washing to schools, hospitals and communities in developing markets. All this for a soap brand sold in developing markets!