“Premiumisation is a consumer-driven phenomenon. There is a human need to improve and do better.”

These are the words of Geoff Bradman from Westons Cider, speaking last week at a cider summit in Bristol. There has been a lot of time spent looking at the Great British consumer and their shopping habits in recent years.

There are two clear paths. Consumers are looking to the discounters, trading down to own-label goods to feed the family on a budget, or picking up multipacks of brand names for lower prices in pound stores.

At the same time, they’re looking for increased quality, with Waitrose expanding and premium products showing strong growth in almost every category.

So we’re being more careful about the money in our pockets… but we’re trading up. But consumers won’t spend a premium amount on a poor product. They’ll also shy away from thinking about spending premium amounts in stores that don’t make them feel like they are bettering themselves.

Recognising the trend in consumer behaviour is just one step on the ladder. Moving your customers through the price journey requires the ability to make them excited about their shopping choices. A great environment, the right options, perfect service.

There’s a term that companies like Twitter and Facebook use about the people using their sites: “active users”. Those people posting more often, playing an active part in the site.

Who are your “active shoppers”? Those who come back regularly because of your range, who pick up an extra bottle or can, who tell their friends about your range? These are the people you need in your alcohol aisle. These are the people you’ll get if you take the time to create a premium-feeling store.

Social interaction is also driven by consumer behaviour, in the same way as the desire to improve. But the tools need to be in place for it to happen.

The move to premium may be consumer-driven, but you need to make sure that you’re giving the consumer the option. You can’t expect more than 50% of your sales to suddenly come from high-end products just because they’re on shelf. They’re part of a wider package, which if you get right will have those “active shoppers” rushing to your store.