While the economy is turning the corner, shoppers seem to be staying the course – continuing with the thrifty shopping habits they adopted during the recession. However, increased consumer confidence is having a positive impact on the shopping behaviors of some specific shopper segments. Modest improvements include the stabilization of routine shopping trips following years of decline and even some gains in the number of routine trips being reported by younger shoppers and U.S. Hispanics. The challenge for CPG companies and retailers is maximizing the experience when the shopper is in the store. This is where brand connections, store experience, meal solutions, integrated promotions, and microtargeting become key drivers for increasing total trip spend.
While the number of shopping trips has declined since 2008, grocery remains strong with the most number of trips. Additionally, supercenters are gaining trips and shoppers are starting to return to club stores.
More shoppers are using technology before, during and after grocery shopping. They are seeking technologies that make their grocery shopping experience more efficient and save them money. Not surprisingly, traditional marketing vehicles are showing signs of losing their historically strong grip on shoppers. According to a September 2012 Forbes insights survey, when U.S. consumers were asked what makes them feel engaged or invested in a brand, 41% said it is when they ‘sign up for special deals or email updates.’ Gen Y (ages 18-29) and U.S. Hispanic shoppers are two groups at the leading edge of both digital adoption and the decline of the printed circular.
Facebook’s impact on grocery shopping and brand engagement cannot be ignored. At the same time, the fluid nature of social media and consumers’ increasing tech-sophistication means that even this popular social forum is bound to lose luster – especially with early adopters and heavy digital users like Gen Y and U.S..
Retailers and CPG companies must pull-out all the stops, from developing fully integrated marketing campaigns to creating meal solutions that resonate, in order to make every shopping trip count. This means that marketers have to execute on all brand touch points but they also have to focus on the brand touch points that impact conversion the most. For example an in store display could drive more conversion than a great look facebook page. Marketers also have to ask tough questions when it comes to allocating their marketing budgets such as “is engagement really going to lead to an increase in sales ?”.