Sense Retail:
Shopper marketing on the rise.

Shopper Marketing

Six months ago, we introduced a new sector within Sense dedicated to navigating the intricacies of the UK retail landscape. With the help of Chairman Paul Mills-Hicks and now not-so-new hire James Willoughby, Sense Shopper has swiftly established itself, gaining traction in the shopper marketing sector with some notable ‘wins’.

Highlights include our appointment as Elida Beauty’s Shopper Agency, crafting bespoke annual plans, spearheading NPD-led in-store activations for Schwartz, designing experiential activations for Lynx, Persil, Comfort, Cif, and Who Gives a Crap, whilst helping to build out an exciting (yet currently confidential!) big prize promotion idea for a major UK Grocer.

Sense Shopper press news:

Literally in other news, some recent shopper marketing press, in case you missed it:

  • With a decade as Commercial Director at Sainsbury’s, Paul Mills-Hicks shared successful retail marketing insights in The Grocer, covering defining the category story, using data for effective selling, prioritising full-format activation, and simplifying communications. Paul continued the conversation in a Management Today Podcast, exploring trends for 2024.
  • James was featured in Advertising Week exploring the evolving retail sector, urging brands to adapt while emphasising the enduring principles of shopper marketing communication.
  • James also contributed to an E-commerce Age piece highlighting the resurgence of prize promotions, emphasising their cost-effectiveness.
  • Account Director Chris MacRae, drawing on his alcohol sector experience, outlined the five principles for effective activation in the on-trade, particularly beneficial for smaller brands with limited budgets.
  • CEO Nick Adams shared insights in FMCG CEO about the transformative impact of pop-up activations on shopper tactics.

You can probably tell we’re pretty proud of our progress for this first stage of Sense Shopper, and keen to keep up momentum. So, if there’s anything in the world of prize promotions, path-to-purchase communications, key visual creation, or category strategy you’d like to discuss James and the retail team are on hand to talk shop!

Get in contact with all your shopper marketing questions.


5th Floor Century House
100 Oxford Street

New York

243 E 14th St,
#2, New York,
NY, 10003

Discover our latest guides to help brighten your brand experience strategy or amplify your shopper marketing moves. Get them here at The Futures Lab.


5th Floor Century House
100 Oxford Street

New York

243 E 14th
#2 C/O SQ
New York
NY 10003


Discover our latest guides to help brighten your brand experience strategy here at The Future Lab

Connect with us


Whether it be Festivals, Trade Shows, PR Stunts, Installations or Pop Ups to name a few, we believe brand experiences are one of the most powerful forms of marketing to impact consumer perception and attitude towards a brand. They can create real behaviour change when born out of a deep consumer insight allied to a compelling idea. And it’s these fundamentals we look to get right whatever the live, virtual or hybrid task in hand.


Sampling is all too often perceived as an unsophisticated, somewhat ‘blunt’ marketing tool. Over the last 16 years Sense has pioneered a set of strategic principles which underpin our unique approach to sampling and which are highly measurable from both an ROI and consumer behaviour change perspective. We will happily guide brands through the myriad of sampling channels and products available so whether it’s mass face to face sampling, in offices, digitally, at home or just a strategic framework that you are after, we can provide a blend of tactics to fulfil both brand and sales objectives.


With many clients now focused on activating in channels more closely associated with a sale, our heavyweight retail experience closes the loop on a typical shopper journey by encompassing the moment of truth in store. Be it prize promotions, shopper toolkits, key visual creation, path-to-purchase communications, category strategy, B2B campaigns or Amazon optimisation, our goal is to create forward-thinking retail experiences that deliver demonstrable brand value. We aim to make ‘retail fail’ a thing of the past for ambitious brands looking to thrive is an ever-competitive landscape and believe our streamlined team is perfectly placed to do this.


Knowing what will keep a brand bright, exciting, and vital means we need to keep one step ahead of the curve. Our thought leadership hub, The Futures Lab, helps us to understand the marketing trends of tomorrow. It’s also the origin of strategies and methodologies which have created over 65 award-winning campaigns. 


Creativity is nothing without results. And we know that commissioning bold concepts, capable of changing minds, requires reassurance that it’s the right thing to do. 

Data, insights, and research precedes every campaign we do, and our proprietary measurement tool, EMR, gives us a decade of campaign performance metrics. Which is why we’re proud to have been recognised as industry-leading by brands like The Economist, Coca-Cola, and Molson Coors. 


We believe brand experience is inherently more varied than other forms of marketing. No formula, no template, no cookie-cutter approach – and often no precedent. 

That’s why, Sense places trust at the heart of its business – grounded in teamwork between our people and yours. Our processes are efficient, our senior team stay involved and our partnership mentality had helped us sustain powerful client relationships, some lasting over 10 years.