Shopper behaviour has shifted dramatically in recent months, exposing a new reality of retail. It seems that almost daily, brands are having to find new ways to diversify outside of physical stores to reach their consumers. And now more than ever, keeping up is crucial to staying fighting fit.
Brands must be ready to harness these new opportunities, perhaps claiming the power from traditional retail, and taking control of that all-important consumer relationship.
We discussed this evolving retail landscape with a range of Senior Marketers to explore how brands might go about establishing the optimum retail strategy in order to achieve gains and growth. Louise Yankovic-Jankins Uk Marketing Director – Kao (John Frieda, Biore and Curel), PACT coffee’s E-Commerce Director Ted Charalambides, FMCG veteran and former Hovis Marketing Director Jeremy Gibson and Initials’ Senior Strategist Josh Tilley debated how brands could and should use D2C and social commerce, what shopper strategy looks like now, and how brands might re-engage consumer in-store.
With every brand facing unique challenges, how might they best navigate the new retail battleground?
Who is in charge? Consumers, brands or retailers?
Consumer retail expectations have been conditioned to such a point that they’re becoming barriers to entry. Fast, free delivery and seamless checkout are crucial to avoid basket drop-off, and reactive, human customer service is vital for consumers to feel listened to and valued.
Is a distinctive brand more crucial than ever?
From a consumer perspective, COVID-fuelled mission shopping in supermarkets has led to less dwell time in aisles, whilst on grocery.com, they’re scrolling between dozens of brands in each category. Equally, online grocers are no longer constrained by shelf space, allowing them to list more brands than before. Brands must finesse their functional and emotional propositions to stand out.
Is a ‘digital pivot’ the best use of resources?
Established brands can fall into the trap that a D2C or social commerce offering is essential. But the bigger the brand, the greater the commitment to building such infrastructure. Marketers need to honestly audit their brand and consider how their consumers really want to engage with them and buy from them and whether this channel is a worthwhile investment as part of a longer term strategy.
A new master-apprentice dynamic?
Supermarket FMCG brands and emerging D2C challengers have much to learn from each other. FMCG brands who haven’t engaged consumers can’t simply ‘bolt-on’ social commerce or expect customers to migrate to D2C – they must emulate how D2C brands develop consumer relationships. Likewise, consumers don’t make exceptions for poor service, quality or communication just because brands are online – they must uphold the standards of established counterparts and look to how they can build long term loyalty and longevity.
Can your brand experience be held hostage by logistics?
Whilst COVID presented some universal distribution challenges for brands, D2C brands’ reliance on logistics companies makes their overall brand experience less controllable. Their choice of delivery partner may be as influential as their eCom platform or comms.
Are D2C brands the real threat to the grocery retail model?
It might be easier to believe that the new, digital, D2C entrants to the retail market are the biggest threats to grocers, but it’s as likely to come from Aldi, Lidl and Amazon – the European supermarkets through a strong value proposition, and Amazon through the sheer potential scale of its upcoming Fresh service.
Can D2C brands’ values be their secret weapon?
Digital display and social media have made it easier for challengers to target and tempt potential customers, but acquisition is expensive, and long-term profitability requires repeat purchases. Much like their more established counterparts, D2C brands must nurture quality, customer trust and reliability, and ensure these are embedded into their brand values.
Are old-school marketing tactics still relevant?
A new generation of retail doesn’t mean out with the old marketing tactics. Buying market share by out-discounting your rivals in-store is now used by larger D2C players offering added-value subscriptions and removing minimum order values to quash challengers. What other tactics are relevant?
Our event partners
Head of EcommercePact Coffee
UK Marketing Director – Kao (John Frieda, Bioré and Curél)John Frieda
Former Marketing DirectorHovis