Case Study

Assessing the Physical and Digital Shopper Journey to Inform Retail Strategies


Our client, a major food company, sought to understand the physical and digital shopper journeys of the shelf-stable and refrigerated salsa, Mexican sauce, and guacamole categories among the General Population, as well as Hispanic shoppers. They approached C+R Research for help in implementing a path-to-purchase study that ultimately allowed them to develop long- and short-term strategies and tactics to improve the performance of these categories.


Need to understand shoppers’ path-to-purchase to inform retail strategies  

The goal of this research was to help our client gain an understanding of the path-to-purchase for the shelf-stable and refrigerated salsa, Mexican sauce, and guacamole categories among Gen Pop and Hispanic shoppers. Our client planned to use the insights from this program of research to improve the shopper experience and elevate their portfolio of brands.  


A robust program of research, including ethnographies, in-the-moment shopping missions and shop-alongs, as well as interactive journey mapping workshops

Tapping into C+R’s extensive, multi-faceted offerings, we were able to implement a comprehensive research design including:

  • Digital ethnographies – designed to get to know shoppers in each category. Specifically, understanding their behaviors along the path-to-purchase, as well as category and brand perceptions. This phase was key to building the shopper journey foundation for each category.
  • Shopping missions & shop-alongs – designed to provide additional context to the ethnographies. We had some people from the digital ethnography phase also participate in online/in-store, unobtrusive shopping missions or live, moderated shop-alongs. This phase enabled us to dive deeply into the nuances of each category journey from pre-shop to shop and post-shop activities and experiences.
  • Journey mapping workshop – this interactive workshop was comprised of key client stakeholders and facilitated by C+R’s head of Shopper Insights. The goal of this phase was to bring the shopper journey to life for each category and channel. The output was a visualized, telegraphic journey map that identified how to engage with Gen Pop & Hispanic shoppers to optimize their experiences throughout the shopping journeys.

The result

Journey mapping unlocks valuable insights for client team and their retail partners

The first two phases of this project (ethnographies and shopping missions/shop-alongs) provided the springboard we needed for the interactive workshop.  The workshop produced a total of six journeys (each of the 3 categories had an online and in-store journey) – identifying shoppers’ thoughts/actions, influences/resources, emotions, and drivers/barriers along the path-to-purchase.  Within each journey, key moments of truth were also identified where the client and their retail partners have the greatest opportunity to engage and influence the shopper. 

Overall, this project helped the client approach their strategy and brand planning in the right mindset, where they leveraged the work to make long-term strategy adjustments and develop annual brand and shopper plans.  Additionally, the client’s agency partners have utilized the insights and recommendations to inform creatives and communication touchpoints.

proven experience

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