On an almost daily basis, my doorbell rings around 7:45 p.m., setting off a chain reaction that has the dog barking and, inevitably, wakes up the two rambunctious boys I just put to bed. But the most interesting part is watching my husband run to the door like it’s Christmas. Only it’s not. It’s Google Express delivering a “gift” wrapped in a brown paper bag that hides the random sundries we ran out of that morning: laundry detergent, toothpaste, and, of course, bones to entertain the mouth behind that barking.
This is not a situation unique to my house. Online shopping is already outpacing brick-and-mortar five to one. With the onslaught of innovation targeted clearly at this momentum — mobile pay, same day/same hour delivery, free returns — this ratio will increase quickly. It is an amazing improvement on so many of our lives, but online shopping is changing the CPG category in ways we have yet to fully realize.
If a Shelf Talker Falls in an Empty Store Aisle, Will Anyone Hear It?
When diapers and granola bars are delivered right to your door, the traditional model of grabbing consumers’ attention with end caps and retailer-exclusive promotions seems antiquated. If we do, by chance, get a customer to come in to a store on their way home from work, according to Forrester Research, over 44% of those purchase decisions are already affected by the web before consumers even park their car. That “pre-shopping” acts as blinders and keeps consumers focused on their purchase goals.
If the real estate available to flash products in front of consumers as they’re making a purchase decision has diminished, then we need to foster our brand loyalty. Remind them of what products they already know and love, and then offer it to them at a consistently good value — addressing the need factor, too.
So what, as CPG brands and marketers, can we do? We don’t have to pack it all up in boxes and go home. We just need to change with the times.
Which brings us to the inevitable list.
Three Ways CPG Marketers Should Already Be Addressing the Online Shopping Trend
1. Reach beyond retail and create one-on-one relationships with top-tier same day/delivery services.
This is such a new category that no one knows what they’re exactly doing. Not Google, not Amazon. The first model is all about what retailers consumers “pick” from, but that will change.
Be the force of that change. If you’re a big player, work on what a direct-to-customer approach looks like for your brand and products. The ROI might not be easy to define right away, but with an incremental per-person spend of $500 of online sales expected in 2016, it’s not far behind.
2. Think outside of the retail aisle.
Every brand manager is accustomed to pursuing integrated media ideas and executional platforms. But what about integrating more into consumers lives?
Look beyond the traditional touch point to see how your brand can live outside of the normal shopping experience. Amazon’s Dash buttons are only the start. How can you as a product marketer look at purchasing your goods in an entirely different way?
3. Get to know your consumer — things change for them every day.
Who would have known that the same generation that coined the phrase and celebrated “extreme couponing” would soon be paying $5 extra to have someone else do their shopping for them?
You think you know your customer. But every day they change. No annual segmentation study can alone dictate the behavioral changes that occur in our consumers at light speed.
Innovation doesn’t stop at the change or invention it created. It bleeds deeply into the people who interact with it and leaves a lasting footprint on our lives. Well, lasting until the next innovation comes from around the bend.