Saudi economy is one of the strongest and most stable economy based on the huge oil reserve.GDP is very high along with the disposable income and steadily growing this make the Saudi market very attractive in many sectors. Saudi Consumer behavior is rapidly changing over the last 15 years as many multinational brands invade the Saudi market along with developing of modern trade channels (Super markets, hyper markets, pharmacies, etc).

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Dissertation All chapters
Word count: 16500 words
Follow the guidelines and requirements I will send along with dissertation proposal
All Harvard citation style
2 phases data collection (qualitative then quantitative)

I-                  Introduction:

 Saudi economy is one of the strongest and most stable economy based on the huge oil reserve.GDP is very high along with the disposable income and steadily growing this make the Saudi market very attractive in many sectors. Saudi Consumer behavior is rapidly changing over the last 15 years as many multinational brands invade the Saudi market along with developing of modern trade channels (Super markets, hyper markets, pharmacies, etc). Modern trade channel is giving huge opportunities to manufacturer and customers, for manufacturers they can better space for displaying their products in better display and verities. For consumers, better in shop experience due to wider aisles and shelves with huge varieties to choose from.

Traditional marketing for decades was the main tools to create the awareness about the brands and position them in customer minds. Recent research shows that more than 60% of purchasing decisions are taken in store and here comes the term shopper which is different than the consumer


II-               Research Problem:

We are all consumer but we are different shopper. We have different preferences for category to spend more money and categories to spend least amount for money. Sometimes we are shopping for ourselves and sometimes we are shopping to satisfy other’s needs. Our perception on categories doesn’t neatly tie to our consumer type. Each shopper has his own needs and so retailers and suppliers has to identify what is affecting purchasing decision pre, in and post-store

For decades traditional marketing (consumer marketing) was strongly developed and companies are investing heavily in it as the main driver to acquire new customer and retain new customers. With developing of modern trade channel, new battle field arrived. Trade marketing was the result of companies’ effort in differentiates them at the purchasing point but is it all about good display and trade promotion? Over the last few years the concept of shopper marketing started to emerge but only few companies genuinely adopt it and fully implement in its strategy. One of the reasons for that is there is no clear definition for shopper marketing without clear outcomes to justify the investment (ROI).

 Research Purpose

The purpose of the research is to understand the shopper insights in KSA and how the purchasing decision is made in-store and to investigate the factors affecting this decision. The research also aims to rationalize the spending on in-store marketing activity (Shopper marketing) and identify the beast allocation of this spending between different possible activity based on the results.


III-            Research Objective:


  • Research questions and objective:

The study will attempt to address the following questions:


  • Who is shopper? What types of shoppers are likely to purchase?
  • How does category shopping differ by channel, retailer & shopping mission?
  • How & where can shopper best be influenced?
  • How is the in-store shopping experience, and the points of shopper influence in & out of store?
  • What is the impact of promotions and POS materials on their shopping decisions inside the store?
  • Which kinds of promotions do they think are the most appealing? Impact of promotions on brand switch?

The objectives of the study are:


  • To Understand the shopper in terms of Who, What, Why, Where, When & How.
  • To identify shoppers’ perception of the different channels
  • To critically determine decision hierarchy
  • To critically determine the incidence of impulse vs. planned shopping.
  • To critically analyze impact of promotion.
  • To develop channel or product strategies to drive category and brand growth

From personal prospective is:

  • Better understanding of the difference between consumer and shopper and understand different theories explain both insights & behaviors.
  • Understand and assess effects of shopper marketing activities at point of purchase and how it impacts the purchasing decision which will help me in better acquire new customer at point of sales

 From Organizational prospective:

  • Better understanding of the shopper journey and mission.
  • Optimize marketing budget allocation to yield better ROI
  • Winning the battle at the point of sales

 Research Question:

  1. Who is shopper? What types of shoppers are likely to purchase?
  2. How does category shopping differ by channel, retailer & shopping mission?
  3. How & where can shopper best be influenced?
  4. How is the in-store shopping experience, and the points of shopper influence in & out of store?
  5. What is the impact of promotions and POS materials on their shopping decisions inside the store?
  6. Which kinds of promotions do they think are the most appealing? Impact of promotions on brand switch?

Observable outcomes:

  1. Shopping mission
  2. Channel conversion
  3. Category consumption occasion
  4. Decision hierarchy
  5. Information seeking behavior at Store Shelf
  6. Brand Loyalty/ Switching pattern & reasons for Switch
  7. Impact of Promotions on mostly often used brand purchase
  8. Preferred promotion

Key Words:

Shopper marketing, purchasing decision, shopper behavior, In-store activities, Consumer packaged goods (CPG), Category management, Point of sales (POS)

Theoretical Development

 The main goal of marketing is to reach the consumer at the moment of truth “moment of making the decision” and this moment id the when consumer is open to influence. Consumer metaphor of funnel used for years to identify the touch points as consumer starts with recalled wider list of brand and move down the funnel to short list and then make the decision of selecting one brand. The role of marketing is to direct the consumer along the funnel until select one brand of choice, the brand which is purchased.

 With today dynamics, funnel model failed to capture all the touch points resulting from increasing the options and alternatives, digital channel developed over the last few years and tough well educated nowadays consumers. This leads to the need of developing more sophisticated model than funnel approach to help the marketers to identify the total environment and different touch points. Inman, Winer, And Ferraro (2009) find that certain factors affect the impulse unplanned purchases such as category characteristics and consumer activity in store certain (Time spent in store, no. of aisles visited and no. of categories shopped)

 Conceptual framework:

 In this study, shopper bath to purchase (Figure 2) starting from evolving need till the purchase will be the framework to study the different touch point with consumer. In qualitative phase, out of store factors will be studied while quantitative phase will focus mainly on in-store factors.

The North American Coca-Cola retailing research Council offered four factors that mainly drive the shopper: Money, time, Self care and care for family. Consumer defines the best value by their own understanding and they are tending to spend money wisely even if they are earning more than before.  Time limitation has big influence on shopping behavior and shoppers are no longer patient or can tolerate delay. Increasing pressure for earning money push the consumer to balance between external responsibilities and self care as consumer try to indulge himself in the few time for available for shopping. Family responsibilities and time & money limitation impact the consumer behavior in shopping mission as consumer try to get the best value for the family need and balance it with money and time.

In this study we will build our hypothesis based on the above four factors and how it affect shopping mission and shopper behavior in-store and his response to different stimuli during the journey.

 Kollat and Willett (1967) find that unplanned buying is positively related to transaction size and negatively related to shopping lists and the number of years married. By examining the frequency of past customer experience with the chosen unplanned items, they surmise that “in-store stimuli usually reminds shoppers of present or future needs rather than evoking new needs” (p.30).  Granbois (1968) finds that unplanned buying increases with time spent in the store, the number of aisles shopped, and the number of people in the shopping party. Park, Iyer, and Smith (1989) find that shoppers do the most unplanned buying when they are in unfamiliar stores and under no time pressure.

 Beatty and Ferrell (1998) focus on individual differences and find that the “propensity for impulsiveness “trait is a significant driver of unplanned buying. Rook and Fisher (1995) study individual differences as well; they show that normative evaluations moderate the acceptability of impulse buying—purchasing a gift on impulse is a good thing, but splurging on oneself is not.

 Shopper researchers studied how consumer searches for the products, how the purchasing decision is taken and purchase happen. What do shoppers have in their trolley? How do shoppers behave during purchase? What are the motives behind purchase? Only when the sales figures are viewed together with the objectively identifiable purchasing behavior and conscious and unconscious decision processes can a true insight be gained into the purchasing decision. These insights can be used to improve POS strategies, ranging from the placement and presentation of goods to pricing and product design, thereby ensuring a smooth purchase without distraction, high conversion rates and minimal loss of potential buyers.


IV-             Research Methodology

Creswell stated that “Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue”. It consists of three steps: Pose a question, collect data to answer the question, and present an answer to the question.

 Research concept can be categorized into (RDI,2013):


  • Pure and applied: where pure research has no practical implication and conducted just to satisfy the research need where applied research aims to find a solution to particular problem


  • Primary and secondary: primary research is directed to obtaining the information in pursuit the research objectives while secondary research is handling existing data (ex. Books, articles,…etc) to direct it to find solution for other problems


  • Theoretical and empirical : Theoretical is usually concerned with interpretation of existing data to understand the phenomena while empirical is collecting original data for analysis and and often goes with primary research


  • Quantitative and qualitative: where qualitative research is concerned with measuring the human behavior and insights and mostly not provide a definite answer for the research questions and data are mostly expressed in words while quantitative research are quantifying the data and give definite answer to the research questions and data expressed in numbers.


  • Inductive and Deductive: where deductive is working from the more general to the more specific while inductive works in the opposite direction (RDI,2013)

  There are three different types of research purpose:


  • Exploratory research: aims to give familiarity with phenomena and find new insights regarding this phenomenon. Robson (2002) states exploratory studies aim “to find out what is happening; to seek new insights; to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light”.


  • Explanatory: describe the relation between variables and justify the correlation between them. Arbnor and Bjerke (2008) states “The problem of the explanatory or hypothesis-testing study is to explain the connections between causes and effects of some characteristics or events”


  • Descriptive research: aims to portray the characteristics of particular element (individual, group, Situation) Descriptive researches aim to “portray an accurate profile of persons, events, or situation „and‟ there is an extensive need of previous knowledge of the situation to be research or described” (Robson, 2002)

 Exploratory research is broad in focus but rarely provide a definite answer to specific research issue. Exploratory research aims to create hypothesis to be tested by further researches and try to identify the insights of the targeted research objects. Exploratory research is not only useful to develop hypothesis but also for defining the problem. Exploratory researches mostly small in size and very flexible with regard to the methods used for gaining insights and developing hypotheses.

 According to Kolb (2008) “companies should use exploratory research when a research question deals with finding information on consumer attitudes, opinions and beliefs”. Based on the literature reviewed both exploratory and descriptive methods are required to understand the interlinkage between shopper and category and survey strategy will be adopted. The exploratory Qualitative approach will help us understand consumer/shopper- category meanings, expectations, and relationships. Exploratory research is used to provide better understanding for key issues and variable and test the feasibility of more extensive research and the better research methodology for subsequent researches.

 As we can’t reject or confirm the hypothesis based on the exploratory research, Descriptive quantitative phase will follow aimed at quantifying shopper profiles, pre-store planning, category purchase, purchase occasion, channels and mission. Descriptive research is when a study is designed primarily to describe what is going on or what exists (web center of social research methods, 2006). Descriptive research is used to:


  • Describe the characteristics of certain groups (Here we describe Shopper’s insights)
  • Determine the proportion of people who behave in certain way (Shopper’s behavior)
  • Make specific prediction (brand loyalty and brand switching)
  • Determine relationship between variables (in store promotion impact on purchase decision)


While exploratory research is flexible in nature descriptive research requires clear specification of who, what, when, where and why?


This research will be primary applied empirical research, qualitative (exploratory) in phase I & quantitative (descriptive) in phase II


Research strategy:


According to (Yin, 2003) there are five research strategies: Experiment, Survey, Archival analysis, history and case study. Based on the research objective, Survey strategy will be adopted


Researcher will try to identify the insights of shopper and the hypothesis that shopper marketing is affecting purchasing decision and the brand shift at point of sale. Some of the more popular data collection methods of exploratory research include literature searches, depth interviews, focus groups, and case analyses and in this research literature searches and focus group will be used


Literature research: one of the quickest and least costly tool and should be the starting point for any marketing research. Journal articles, magazines, published statistics and databases will be reviewed along with other academic researches that tackle some points related to this research and key debates and theories


Focus group: one of the most often used total in qualitative research and it is good tool for brainstorming and discover the insights. Small group of people (5-12) from targeted population are brought together and moderator is there to facilitate the discussion. Focus group should be taped for later review and analysis. Focus group is good tool when it comes to brainstorming but due to small sample size the data collected from focus group couldn’t be highly reliable.


Data will be collected through two focus groups in two cities. Each group consists of 8 individuals covering the targeted population. Focus group discussion will be audio recorded for analysis. Researcher’s facilitator skills will be developed prior to running the focus groups. The questions will be developed through agency after briefing of the research objectives.


Interview: The qualitative phase will be cross sectional study which measure the response at certain point of time through drawing a sample of people from targeted population using sample face to face formal interviews at the shop level aims to quantify shopper profile, pre-store planning, category purchase, purchase occasion and purchase mission. A sample of 100 interviewees covering the target population will be selected and the questionnaire will be developed to cover the research objectives. Researcher will run a pilot study for small sample (10 interviewees) for evaluation and revisiting the questionnaire and finalizing it. 


Sampling techniques

For the purpose and the objective of the research simple random sampling technique will be adopted so all subsets of the are given equal opportunity to be selected beside the variance in sample help to give chance to represent the population. To minimize the bias, I will first segment the population then identify the target segments to select representative sample. Interviews will be distributed across the week days and day times in order not to select specific sample that is not representative to the population (ex. Weekend shoppers, Morning shopper).As per objective, sample should cover shoppers in different channel and stores.


  • Ethical implications:


  1. Approach to organization: I will not discuss organizational data but rather market data but retail audit data will be accessed in my organization after getting approval of senior management (Done)
  2. Confidentiality: agreement will be done between both parties regarding data confidentiality and use of coding system for data analysis and declaration
  3. Utilization of research findings: for academic purpose and for personal information

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