Digital Marketing Firm Targets Shoppers In The Grocery Aisle

By John Cropley
The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Four women have established “Sparkshoppe” a digital-age marketing and analytics firm. Their focus is on identifying potential shoppers and finding out what they want. They then inform consumers electronically about products and deals with the hope they will steer shoppers toward a client’s stores or products.


Four former Golub Corp. employees have set up a digital marketing firm specializing in the retail industry, with the Schenectady-based Price Chopper/Market 32 supermarket chain as their first client.

Sparkshoppe is operated by Heidi Reale, Meagan Handford, Maritza Figliozzi and Megan Finin. It is 5 weeks old, and operates in East Greenbush next to the University at Albany’s East Campus so that it can participate in the state’s STARTUP-NY program, which provides new or relocating companies tax incentives and a chance to collaborate with colleges.

Reale, the company president, said the college was the main attraction for the move out of Schenectady — she and Finin are both adjunct professors at UAlbany, and Figliozzi an adjunct professor at Siena College in Loudonville.

The firm’s mission is digital-age marketing and analytics — identifying potential shoppers, finding out what they want, informing them electronically about products and deals, and trying to steer them toward the client’s stores or products.

Reale said there is a subtle but important difference between shopper marketing and consumer marketing.

Sparkshoppe does shopper marketing: Rather than convincing the consumers in the household they want a particular kind of cereal, the shoppers in the household are given reasons to buy that brand of cereal, at a particular store.

“The money is being invested in getting the shopper to buy the product,” Reale explained.

Using as examples her own daughters, Hannah and Jessica, Reale explained that they are consumers who like Apple Jacks and Froot Loops. But their mom is the shopper who buys the cereal. So consumer marketing tries to get the girls to try something different. Shopper marketing tries to get Mom into the store and influence her shopping patterns — not to buy the girls cornflakes instead of Froot Loops, but to come in for a sale on Froot Loops. (And hopefully pick up things in the other aisles while she’s there.)

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