The Retailer’s Path to Purchase

An in-depth look at how food retailers gather information, assess products, and make purchasing decisions.

Winsight has unparalleled access to convenience and grocery store retailers across the country. To better serve our supplier customers, we surveyed these retailers to find out how they navigate the information landscape, from becoming aware of a product, to researching its merits, all the way to making a purchasing decision.

Based on CSP and WGB’s Fall 2021 survey of 114 retailers, here’s what we found out:


When retailers were asked “how do you become aware of a new product or service in the industry?” the top 4 answers were:

Other options to select from were industry website article, word of mouth, print article, eNewsletter ad, manufacturer’s content, industry website ad, search engine, and other.

For content-related purposes – eNewsletter articles, website articles, and print articles all ranked higher than manufacturer’s content. This demonstrates that outside content is consistently used more than a manufacturer’s own content when gathering information on new products.

Recommendation: For introducing a new product to market, use branded eNewsletter articles, social media ads, or LIVE/in-person demonstrations.

After retailers were asked “what actions do you take upon seeing a new product that you want to find out more about?”

- 61% said visit manufacturer’s website

- 52% said contact distributor/broker

These were the top 2 answers selected and are a good reminder to make sure your landing pages have content related to your ad campaign so that retailers can easily navigate to the information or contact they need to reach.


When retailers were asked “which of the following do you use the most when researching a new product or service?” the top 4 answers were:

Other options to select from were industry magazine, peers, social media, competitive products/services, videos, webinars, case studies, and white papers.

Recommendation: When retailers research a product, industry websites and search engines are the most prominent sources. To focus on improving research about your product or service, use SEO advertising as well as face-to-face meetings.

Bonus Recommendation!
Make sure your meetings with retailers are meaningful! The time you will have in front of retailers is extremely limited, with most retailers scheduling 0-3 meetings with suppliers per week.

How many meetings with suppliers does your chain/store schedule per week?


When retailers were asked “What type of information sources do you use most often to make decisions on purchases?” the top 4 answers were:

Other options to select from were industry eNewsletter, information from conferences/events, social media, distributor recommendations, ads, 3rd party data, and internal/sales team recommendations.

Industry websites remained strong for retailers looking to make purchases, while manufacturer’s content marketing cracked into the top 4. Social media ranked highest for information source retailers used least often for making decisions on purchases.

Final Recommendations:
1. Focus on search engines – 38% of retailers said they rely on search engines the most for obtaining information. Make sure you have a robust targeting and re-targeting system that identifies and follows your target market across the internet.

2. Video and podcasts underutilized – retailers are not finding the informative content they need on these growing platforms. Suppliers should recognize this as an opportunity to place their research-based content in these formats, which are currently ranking in the bottom quartile for retailer’s research habits.

3. Face-to-face remains strong – In-person events, direct communication and word-of-mouth ranked in the top 3 for awareness, research and purchasing. Have you scheduled your next in-person meeting?

Respondent Information