For a while now, marketers have been hearing from industry analysts about the downfall of brick-and-mortar establishments. Words like omnichannel have made their way into the vernacular of almost every marketing and product team, and companies are investing significant dollars in finding the right balance between their digital and physical strategies.
This especially isn’t news for CPG marketers, who’ve seen the digitization of CPG purchase behavior as a long time coming. But with much of the knowledge around omnichannel being centered on sales channel and distribution partners rather than CPG brands themselves, what can a CPG brand marketer bring to the table that their counterparts haven't already thought of? In hopes of gaining some perspective, we’ve taken a quick look at other industries to see how their shifts from physical to digital have helped them move forward with evolving consumer behavior.
Financial Services: Education Around Security And Trust
Post-crash, incumbent banks with no form of physical footprint began emerging from the depths of the internet, and consumers began divesting from the institutions they once trusted. These all-digital banks inadvertently helped move all digital products and services into focus, as consumers began to learn (and buy) more brands and products they couldn’t see. And while security remains an evolving topic across all digital entities and brands — from banks to retailers — marketers need to continue to look for ways to earn trust and educate their consumers.
Big Box And Electronics: Building Out Richer Touch Points
After every holiday period, we hear the electronics industry call foul against digital channels as stores like BestBuy continue to report quarterly declines. But in true contender form, big box electronic retailers look at their data for insights on how to counter showrooming (the new habit of window shopping in-store and flocking to the Internet to purchase). Retailers countered showrooming to much success with smart data-centric moves, like highly targeted digital marketing campaigns, and better demo programs (via initiatives like quality store-within-store experiences).
Grocery: Reappraising Convenience
As Dash for Amazon Fresh was released, the momentum from the industry had us expecting to hear about the end of grocery store visits. Convenience would be king as we read about the success of companies like Blue Apron and Plated with their meal planning and food delivery services. These new brands deliver solutions for what some saw as tedious or time consuming processes and have found a way to somehow circumvent entire purchase cycles, effectively leapfrogging their competitors by redefining how consumers shop.
Fashion/Retail: In constant evolution
Retail giants like Macy’s have recognized the disruptive nature of their industry and are making big changes towards digital despite their brick-and-mortar heritage. Macy’s announced earlier last month that it would be re-structuring marketing and distribution departments, and closing several stores throughout 2015 in favor of fulfillment centers and ship-to-store delivery strategies. From developing online inventory management, to focusing on mobile marketing, Macy’s is rebuilding its retail footprint in favor of more digital solutions. This latest move is by far the largest and most forward-thinking for a brand who has consistently been upping their game.
As CPG marketers, we pride ourselves on knowing the way our shoppers search for product information, clip coupons, share opinions and generally reinvent their own behavior. While distribution partners may hold the lion’s share of data, CPG Brand Marketers should look to making improvements across every aspect of the path to purchase. Whether it be using technology to help improve an in-store experience, or looking for new cues to help build trust or redefine convenience, brand marketers need to continue to be involved when it comes to the digitization of commerce, and embrace a culture of innovation to stay ahead of changing consumer purchase behaviors.