How well do you really know your customer?

May 28, 2020
by David


You understand the power of data and know that no brand can succeed without it, but have you considered what having consumer insights could do to increase your revenue, starting today? Consumers are the pulse of a business but they’re often a blind spot for CPG leaders. When I meet with executives at various brands, they are always looking for the surefire way to gain loyal customers and get into more stores. They already have an impressive stack of reports and access to great dashboards, but they’re missing a solid understanding of consumer shopping patterns. SPINS can help.   

SPINS’ Consumer Insights are based on Consumer Panel Data that comes from approximately 100,000 households that track all purchases of scannable consumer packaged goods across all channels—including ecommerce. These consumer insights are overlaid with SPINS proprietary data, and together they give you and your team a unique perspective to learn more about your audience, make meaningful changes immediatelyand lays the groundwork for ongoing testing and strategizing that delivers results. 

Understand What’s Happening Now—and Take Action

The first benefit of Consumer Panel Data is getting a clear view of your current state and finding opportunities for immediate adjustments. Begin with a purchase summary that outlines the consumer make-up of your brand’s sales, helping you learn more about how many households are purchasing your products and how much they’re spending—even down to how many trips each buyer takes and what they spend per trip. 

You can then begin to look at demographics reports that provide key details about your shoppers: income, generation, occupation, ethnicity, and more. You can also view demographic reports for your overall category and even your competitors’ buyers. Now, you have a comprehensive view of who your shoppers are and how they behave today.  

Immediately, you have enough insights to look at your go-to-market strategy and decide what makes sense for your audience and where you can adjust.  

Get Competitive

Once you’ve delved into the demographics and behavior of current consumers, you can take a deeper dive into your competition with a Brand Switching Analysis. When I meet with teams, this is a report that is often the most revelatory for them. Whereas they’re used to seeing reports showing YOY sales increases or decreases, this analysis shows which brands they’re stealing from or losing shoppers to. The report can even look at brand switching at the category and segment levels, and categories can be customized based on your learning objectives. The competitive insights also provide an Interaction Index, which measures the degree to which a competitor brand is substitutable for your brand 

This component is such an important part of conversations with brands because they can now identify specific opportunities for growth and tactical approaches to get there. When you’re competing for a larger share of wallet, you need to test methods for earning it. You can adjust price points, refresh product offerings, and try new production positioning over a period of time. The consumer insights you gained from the purchase report and demographics reports come to life as you watch how shoppers react to these changes. 

Get Granular with Segmentation

The groundwork we lay in the first 2 stages are crucial to get us to this point because we’ve tackled the bigger questions of who they are and what they buy—now we can answer the why.  Now you can spend more time getting into the smaller—but more impactful—details.  

This is where SPINS and IRI have partnered to create NaturaLink, a demographically balanced survey of households that represent the total U.S. population—not only consumers who already purchase natural and organic products. With this research, you’re learning about all of your potential shoppers, not just the ones already in your view. Surveyed households are asked questions that provide attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic insights, and then they are categorized into 7 categories, including True Believers, Enlightened Environmentalists, Healthy Realists, Strapped Seekers, and several uninvolved segments. 

Once brands have these consumer segments, endless possibilities open up. They can find ways to reengage lapsed buyers, test new product innovations with the most loyal customers, rethink geographic plans, reevaluate attributes, and build a more effective distribution plan. This stage is where all of the data and smaller changes they made at the start come together.   

In conversations with many different brands, I’ve seen how impactful consumer insights can be. When teams get a clear view of who their consumers are, they can focus their energy on the actions that will get results and make long-term connections with shoppers. If you’re interested in what SPINS Consumer Insights can do for you, learn more here or contact us today. 


– Patrick Knight is the Principal of Consumer Insights for SPINS.