Targeted promotions, clever branding and innovative social media campaigns are no longer enough to guarantee brand loyalty in CPG. Consumer expectations have been raised by brands that offer an omni-channel experience and anytime-anywhere delivery-and shoppers increasingly demand fast, flexible and personalized service as standard.
Assuming the deal goes through (pending Walmart doesn't outbid Amazon) and with our focus on CPG, here are a few implications that piqued our interest.
We read blogs because they entertain us or give us information that we find valuable, and trust the content because it comes from people we can relate to. In fact, based on a recent survey that we conducted nearly 60%of U.S. consumers take social and blog content into consideration while shopping. It's no wonder that influential bloggers are turning more and more to e-commerce solutions as a way to monetize their media property. And there is no doubt that blogs, along with other forms of digital and social media, have had a definitive impact on shopping.
Those of us in the industry have known for a while that Whole Foods has been pressured to sell by its activist investor Jana Partners and mutual-fund manager Neuberger Berman, and rumors of potential deals with everyone from Kroger to Albertsons have been bandied about. However, Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition was a surprise to some.
Research by Colloquy found U.S. consumers were enrolled in 3.5 billion loyalty programs with the average person having as many as 29 memberships. But massive enrollment in programs doesn't always guarantee loyalty with the advent of digital and social media. Today's consumers do their research before making a purchase and can be easily swayed to another brand upon discovery of educational content, a product review or upon finding a valuable coupon.
CPG brands have lived in the world of USPs (unique selling propositions) since the Forties. In 1981, the USP evolved into positioning. Given how much marketing has evolved in the past 36 years, maybe it's time for a brand's strategic foundation to evolve.
Influencers create content that gives context and meaning to products they are passionate about. Useful, engaging content that shows how a brand fits into an average person's life has proved a valuable solution for brands looking to build trust and relevancy.
Consumer packaged goods brands have a significant advantage over many other brands when it comes to measuring influencer marketing. After all, by their very definition, CPG products move off the shelf more quickly than durable goods with the result that sales lift is easier to measure and link to a particular marketing activity.
Brick-and-mortar stores are increasingly being closed every day. Store traffic and sales are down, impacting many brands and retailers. Ninety percent of all retail is still done in physical stores and, let's face it much of the purchase intent starts online. Can online behaviors drive more foot traffic ... specifically, can influencer content pointed at a specific retailer on behalf of a brand/product increase foot traffic?
Everyone likes an underdog story. As consumers increasingly choose products and brands that are unique or differentiated, small brands can have a definitive advantage. Taking on the food giants that dominate the CPG landscape may once have seemed like a David and Goliath challenge, but that story doesn't ring true today as consumers of all demographics seek out brands that signify quality, uniqueness and choice.