The Psychology of Shopper Marketing: How to Trigger Behavior

The Steps to Trigger Behavior

The Advantage

What are the decision-maps shoppers follow, and how can we pinpoint the ways to drive purchase decisions for your brands?

  • Omni-shopper decision mapping
  • Promotions strategy
  • Design guidance
  • Content strategy
  • Claims development

Driving Purchase Decisions

Our President Hunter Thurman explains how it all works and how you can get teams to rally around leveling up your understanding of shopper decision making. 

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"The insights Alpha-Diver brings are SO interesting and different than any traditional supplier, the retailers gobble it up. Any team that has an appetite for cutting-edge research will love the work they do."


In order to guide laser-focused action, and highly effective results out in the real world for you and your teams, we deliver a PPT document, called a Playbook. We call it this because it is NOT a series of charts, a mere summary of what people said, or page-after-page of bullet points.

It’s a success manual to winning in your marketplace. It’s the story of shopper breakthroughs which sales leads, marketers, retailers – and ultimately shoppers – will rally behind.

Our playbooks clearly explain how to drive the business via:

  • Framing activation in the ways shoppers actually make purchase decisions.
  • Tangible guidance for sales, marketing, agency, retail, and senior leaders proven to deliver big time results in real life.
  • Activation on the findings in eComm / bricks / hybrid (aka the omni-channel) to trigger maximum purchase behavior.

An example of the biz-building power:

Our ability to deeply diagnose the WHY’s of marketplace behavior, at a quantitative level, means our activation is more effective.

This neuroscience-based approach to consumer profiling is proven to drive business results. We continually discover new truths out in the world – like the time we discovered the TRUE reason people choose one brand of snacks, soda, and beer over another for their Summer Parties. Our data contradicted decades of traditional research – and our client’s portfolio went from 0.5% growth with the old insights, to +10% growth the first quarter after activating on our fresh perspective.

Putting aside all the headlines and buzzwords, the omni-channel is the collection and sequence of touch-points a person encounters where they can make a purchase decision about your brand.

It obviously includes the traditional channels of eComm and brick-and-mortar. But where it gets interesting is the combination of the two. Often called hybrid commerce, or hComm, the intersection of digital and physical is ripe with business-building potential.

Sure, we can assess where and how a person shops. But what’s more important is our ability to assess WHY they shop in those ways, what they like about the experience, and what they don’t. In most cases, a person won’t even consciously realize what’s driving, and hindering their shopping behavior. But our psychological profiling gets to the core of their decision-making criteria, so you can “sell in the ways in which they (subconsciously) want to buy.”

We’re experts in the discipline of JDM (Judgment & Decision-Making) psychology, and heuristics – the decision-making shortcuts upon which shoppers rely, yet don’t consciously recognize in their own behavior. 

Applying these simple principles (housed in our proprietary Decision-Triggers Playbook) is proven to drive dramatic results when activated in the real, noisy, chaotic retail marketplace. We explain how to stand out from the noise with what your promotions and design say, do, and show in the ways that directly connect with shopper attention and decisions.

The concept of ‘journey mapping’ can be overwhelming, because traditional approaches typically attempt to look at everything, all at once. That is, they attempt to map all potential influences, at every step in the path-to-purchase – often creating more questions than answers.

But we leverage shopper psychology to filter out the ‘signal from the noise.’ So our guidance identifies, then guides activation for only the parts of the journey that actually MATTER in driving shopper purchase decisions. We regularly answer questions like:

  • What drives and hinders decision making in eComm vs. Bricks?
  • How can we grow household penetration for our portfolio in Walmart vs. Kroger? Vs. Target? Vs. dollar vs. club vs. Amazon?
  • What experience should you provide to align with shopper decision-criteria, and is it the same for every retailer and channel? (spoiler: it’s not.)
  • Does our ideal target shop in a ‘Mission’ or ‘Impulse’ mindset (aka WHEN and HOW must we influence decisions)?
  • How should we be thinking about the proliferation of retail media networks?

Like everything we do, decision science lights the path to a better way of communicating and persuading shopper decisions & behavior. And marketing claims remain a great mystery, struggle, and dead-end for many teams and organizations.

This is because most teams naturally pursue claims in a highly rational way, driving to technical, functional, comparative claims that – if even compelling to consumers – are often difficult to substantiate. However, many diverse elements – both visual and verbal – empower you to zig where competitors zag.

Thanks to decision science, we’ve developed the reliable framework with which to efficiently create claims that work in the ways people actually think, and that will impact behavior in the marketplace. And once we’ve identified the core psychological factors of your ideal audience (i.e., clarified what actually drives their decision-making in real life), we can apply our proprietary claims framework to not only guide unique, unexpected claims, but also align them with your audience to drive preference and purchase.

Trusted by

A few of our partners who are now in-the-know on what truly drives, and hinders, their consumers and shoppers.

The most actionable insights we've ever gotten.
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