‘E-commerce and shopper marketing strategies merge as consumers adopt new, possibly long-term, habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.’ BARE shares an article by Meghan Howard for Quirk’s with new consumer behaviors in the grocery industry.

‘2020 transformed shopper marketing in ways that people could not have predicted. Garnering $100 billion in spend per year, shopper marketing, first pioneered in the 1990s, aims to reach shoppers as close to the purchase point as possible. As such, endcap displays, coupons and eye-level shelf space evolved as ways to influence shoppers as they made purchase decisions in-store. And with the advent of online grocery shopping, shopper marketers have long been scratching their heads as to the best way to replicate these tactics online.

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, shopper marketing’s prominence as part of overall CPG marketing efforts was on the rise. In the age of the digital shopper, every touchpoint can become a commerce-enabled moment. Traditional tactics could be complemented by one-click shoppable moments that get products into shoppers’ carts with ease. But as the world changed and shoppers exhibited dramatically different behavior (shopping from home, visiting the store significantly less often), the need to move shopper marketing to new, often digital, channels became urgent.

As new consumer behaviors calcify into longer-term habits, and with online grocery and beverage sales projected to retain 30% of grocery market share, traditional shopper marketing efforts will have to mirror this shift, meeting consumers in the new channels where they’re making purchase decisions.

E-commerce and shopper marketing merge

In the traditional grocery ecosystem, e-commerce marketing teams deal with online (sponsored searches on a retailer’s e-commerce site, for example) and shopper marketing teams deal with brick-and-mortar (endcap displays, floor decals, etc.). But the massive consumer shift online catalyzed confusion around where lines should be drawn and in the past few years the convergence of e-commerce and shopper marketing teams became a trend. Efforts and budgets have combined as the two spaces overlap more and more.

As brands continue to see the omnichannel impact of online advertising, e-commerce and traditional shopper marketing will continue to merge into overall commerce efforts. It’s also a factor impacting broadening branding efforts, with more traditional awareness efforts starting to incorporate some components of commerce, such as shoppability. Many of the most innovative brands and agencies now place their centers of excellence in commerce, investing heavily in exploring how these pillars can concentrate for maximum impact.

How emerging brands can play

On-platform advertising opportunities like banner ads and sponsored search on retailers’ websites will eventually hit their limit as there’s only so much digital real estate to go around. As demand continues to increase faster than the supply can accommodate, brands with the largest budgets will win out, forcing smaller and emerging brands to get creative.

For off-site or off-platform options, smaller brands are using social media more than ever before to advertise to their customers. Most social media ad platforms are self-service and require smaller buy-in minimums so smaller brands aren’t paying for a third party to execute the buys, nor are they held to large minimum spends.

While influencer marketing has declined during the pandemic due to ad spending cuts, smaller brands shouldn’t discount the value of microinfluencers. Particularly as content consumption skyrockets and people are still mainly at home. Seventy-five percent of consumers tried new brands and places to shop, switching up their regular shopping habits. Sixty-three percent of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or even a celebrity endorsement. As cautious consumers hesitantly venture back out, small brands can leverage microinfluencers to provide a boost to that brand’s audience while giving the endorsement for trial that consumers trust.

For more affordable shopper marketing solutions, smaller and emerging brands can incorporate retailer-specific messaging or shoppability into influencer content and social media efforts. That way, these brands can demonstrate retailer support even if they don’t have the budget or opportunity to support directly through the retailer’s e-commerce site.

Larger brands activate existing audiences

Larger brands have a different opportunity to go about commerce enablement. With websites already frequented by shoppers, or the budgets to drive shoppers to their sites, mega-brands can turn their own content and websites into shoppable hubs. In doing so, they garner new insights about their shoppers (where they are located, which retailers they prefer, which products move and when), with the added benefit of supporting retailer partners.

Brands commerce-enable their own sites by using third parties to make content shoppable at grocery retailers. This takes various forms: shoppable recipes, “buy now” buttons or even “where to find” functions that support brick-and-mortar shoppers. All of these tactics are only suitable if a site has the traffic to make an impact, but with many brands already heavily invested in a content or recipe strategy, like General Mills with BettyCrocker.com or Avocados from Mexico’s various holiday recipe hub activations, it’s a smart way to take these content activations a step further and include a retailer support component.

For brands that don’t have the bandwidth to deal with fulfillment logistics, this gives shopper marketing teams a way to drive traffic to retailer platforms from their own sites while still being able to retain valuable data on customer demographics, locations, preferred retailers, favorite recipes and top products.

The road forward

COVID-19 and omnichannel shopping trends have catapulted shopper marketing into the spotlight. Now the darling of CPG marketing efforts, the discipline will continue to mature in a world where shoppers are comfortable – or, even find comfort – in shopping for groceries online. New tactics will continue to emerge and brands and agencies alike will need to stay nimble to stay competitive.’

 

Read the original article in full here.


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