Case Study

Identifying Beverage Shoppers’ Pain Points and Delighters


To successfully meet business objectives, it’s imperative that brands have a thorough understanding of their customers, including differences among segments. Brands must understand what consumers want, how they use products, and how they shop. Additionally, they must be able to anticipate pain points that potentially drive shoppers away throughout the shopping journey and develop strategies to turn these pain points into delighters. But how can brands gain this essential foundational knowledge of what makes shoppers tick?

This was the dilemma of an international beverage manufacturer who needed foundational research to better understand behaviors and meet the needs of beverage shoppers across various consumer segments. Specifically, they sought to identify shopper delighters and pain points in order to optimize channel strategies.


You Can’t Optimize What You Don’t Understand

Our client, a well-known beverage manufacturer, had recently acquired several international premium beverage brands and sought a foundational understanding of its shoppers’ paths-to-purchase among various segments, including typical behaviors, habits and drivers, and triggers and barriers for purchase. Armed with these insights, they planned to optimize their overall channel strategies, address unmet needs and triggers, customize shopper marketing plans, and enhance key retailer partnerships.


a three-phase approach, including shopping missions

To help our client gain foundational learnings regarding beverage shoppers’ path-to-purchase, C+R created a three-phase research study using both qualitative and quantitate methods.

The first phase consisted of a kickoff grounding session to help the client and research teams align on study objectives. During the kickoff, the teams discussed what was already known about shopping behavior in this category, what was unknown, and what specific learning the study would seek to uncover. The teams also examined data regarding buying patterns of shoppers, among other information. 

During the second phase of the research, C+R conducted a digital ethnography and shopping mission. We recruited a group of consumers from across the United States to explore their category behaviors and path-to-purchase with bottled drinks, including the steps they take pre-purchase, the steps during the shopping trip, and the steps post-purchase. To get to know these shoppers and determine their needs, delighters, and frustrations when shopping the beverage category, we employed a variety of techniques including journaling and an in-person shopping mission.

Finally, we conducted a foundational survey to quantify beverage shoppers’ habits, practices, and preferences, to dimensionalize various observations from the qualitative phase and profile their last category purchase and consumption patterns;  this includes what drives product choice, common usage occasions, and key brand considerations. We also profiled their attitudes towards the category and shopping overall.

The result

a greater understanding of beverage shoppers with unique shopper journeys uncovered

As a result of the research program, our client gained a greater understanding of beverage shoppers, including what they expect from the beverages and the brands they buy. Our client also discovered the unique shopper journeys among various segments, including channels shopped, top drivers of these channels, and what behaviors consumers display when buying beverages.

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