The CPG Omnichannel Opportunity: A New Brand and Retailer Partnership
Seemingly overnight, consumer packaged goods (CPG) shopping is no longer confined to certain places (e.g., stores — offline or online) or certain hours of the day. Shoppers are expecting products to replenish themselves as they're used, and to be able to summon needed products to their homes within hours, if not minutes. This is shopping beyond the shelf. In fact, it's even shopping beyond shopping. It’s tailor-made for low-involvement, high-impulse categories, such as CPG.
Effectively reaching this “always on” omnishopper is vital to long-term success. If you’re worried that you’re a bit behind in addressing the opportunity, you’ll be glad to know there’s still time to benefit from this sea change in consumer behavior … if you act quickly.
Grocery Habits Among the Last to Change
CPG’s primary channel, grocery, has been the slowest to evolve. This is likely because consumers’ grocery shopping habits were arguably among the most deeply ingrained shopping behaviors. In addition, there have been the logistical challenges of moving perishable goods to customers that demand nearly instant fulfillment. Furthermore, early attempts to digitize grocery shopping were simply not very successful (e.g., Webvan).
The need for change, in fairness, hasn’t seemed particularly urgent. While other sectors have seen e-commerce sales rise at the expense of brick-and-mortar, grocers have continued to experience year-over-year growth in physical store sales.
Furthermore, consumers actually enjoy the grocery shopping experience. Recent research tells us that 68 percent of shoppers like going to grocery stores, and 23 percent really enjoy it. The experience of pushing a cart down aisles of new foods to try, physically selecting the best produce, and eating that first slice of deli-cut cheese isn’t easily duplicated online. However, let’s not forget that there was once a time when buying shoes and clothes using a computer without being able to try them on seemed laughable.
But Now They're Changing Quickly
E-commerce juggernauts like Amazon.com have led the way, and their aggressive pushes into the grocery space have put tremendous pressure on traditional grocers to fight back with their own digital offerings. This is where CPG brands can be a retailer’s new BFF. As experts at connecting with consumers across every marketing channel, brands can and should be the retailer’s primary source of leads into the grocery cart.
The biggest opportunity to convert exists in empowering today’s always-on “omnishoppers.” These consumers make simple purchase decisions in the moment, just as they do when they see a product they like on a brick-and-mortar shelf. When a consumer sees an ad, a social media mention or an image of a new product online and thinks, “Hey, I want that!,” she can be as likely to throw it in a digital cart as she is to toss it in a traditional cart in-store — as long as the brand and retailer make this action seamless and simple.
The moment a consumer acts in a way that shows an intent to buy, the brand and retailer should, together, lead her on a simple, direct and frictionless path to fulfillment, preferably one that only requires a single click.
Once a product is in a retailer’s cart, it can be fulfilled in multiple ways. It can be sent immediately out as a single purchase, it can live in the shopping cart as it's populated over time and fulfilled at a later date, or the customer can pick it up in-store at her convenience. The key is not missing the opportunity to add the product to the cart at the moment of a customer’s desire.
Seizing the Opportunity
Welcome to a world where conversion and fulfillment are dynamic processes linked by customer, not provider or space. Success is a matter of thinking faster and making smarter choices, not spending more.
Jennifer Silverberg is the CEO of SmartCommerce, an online CPG brand platform.
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Jennifer Silverberg is the CEO of SmartCommerce, the international solution helping leading CPG brands like P&G, Unilever and Nestle own and drive their customers’ online buying experiences. SmartCommerce provides unique, brand-focused solutions that help build brand-customer connections in the rapidly changing CPG marketplace.