Last week I ran a webinar for our students on "Changing Shopper Behavior in a Pandemic." We vetted over 250 whitepapers, webpages and resources to identify some of the key things you need to consider about the changing shopper including:
Home life has changed forever.
- New habits have formed. Nielsen calls it the "Homebody economy" — driven by choice to increasingly live, eat and entertain at home even as living restrictions ease. This will have huge implications on future shopper behavior.
Shoppers’ needs are changing in 2 key areas:
- Self-sufficiency: shoppers are looking for value (potential for store and value brands in specific categories)
- Health & safety: they want to feel safe shopping in-store; they are avoiding the store or time spent in-store through shopping lists, stock-up grocery shops, one-stop shopping, and online delivery/curbside pickup
Anticipated consumer/shopper trends (to name a few):
- Increased price sensitivity through economic uncertainty and reduced disposable incomes;
- Ever-increased focus on health;
- Rise in conscious consumption; amount of spending on non-essential items will likely decline;
- Increased focus on “buy local”; rising origin preferences;
- Push to a digital lifestyle;
- Long-term shifting to “work at home” for organizations;
- Increased expectations of consumers on brands (social responsibility and social impact).
What you need to do:
- You need to understand the "new normal" — realize that some of the work we were doing 4 months ago is most likely irrelevant or requires significant modification now. Don't look at your business the same way, make your conversations about the changing Shopper. Don't use "old" shopper insights, or proceed with them with caution.
- Retailers need to offer a safe in-store journey, stay in-stock, accelerate digital and eCommerce (including curbside delivery, buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), bricks to clicks), not let shoppers down, and respond to changing shopper needs that continue to evolve.
- Elevate your eCommerce priorities and opportunities, including altering brick & mortar strategies to fit the eCommerce channel. This becomes an area for collaboration between CPG and retail partners to evolve the business in an omni-channel. Category management teams should be educating themselves on eCommerce to prepare for the future.
- Look at ways to improve business intelligence and analytics through accelerated technology adoption. Artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies automate routine and high-frequency analysis allows humans to spend more time on ideation and execution. AI and machine-learning tools will provide the automated analytics required to stay ahead of competition and help make decisions quickly and accurately. Rather than you spending days or weeks doing all that middle work, much of it is accomplished through automation, so you can then do the diligence of making decisions and driving results much more quickly. Answer Rocket provided us with some incredible "on the fly" reports and insights that leverage AI and ML.
How can you change your approach?
Watch my skill-building training on COVID-19 Changes as a Free Category Management Learning Member. Or, get access to even more training on topics like Managing Risk, Business Acumen, and Strategic Thinking with an annual subscription.
CMKG corporate clients and premium members access 25+ skill-building topics, plus news, whitepapers, and interactive resource such as the COVID-19 Shopper Tool, searchable industry glossary, and micro-learning coming soon. Log in to CMKG’s Online Training & Resource Center here.
In net, we can’t go back to the old way of doing things:
- Stay on top of all data trends available for your business & shopper (including category and subcategories and competition) to deeply understand what’s going on as soon as the data is available. Consider investing in AI/ML technology for quick and easy access.
- Stay relevant and open-minded in this changing time by reading and educating, thinking outside the box, and finding new solutions (hypothesize, experiment). Use our Shopper COVID-19 Tool to help you navigate.
- Use the CMKG training portal to access additional courses, news updates and other relevant information. We’re adding a COVID-19 Resource Library that will be available with a list of valuable whitepapers and resources to help you navigate. Consider additional courses in the CMKG portal like “Managing Risk,” “Business Acumen,” and “Strategic Thinking” to help you build your skills.