COVID-19 vs Shopper marketing

We all know about the impact COVID-19 has had on our economy. This post deliberately ignores this pandemic.

Our industry has been transforming for over a decade as we adjust to the growth of the disruptors and the impact of online. COVID-19 has only highlighted these inherent weaknesses in our society and industry.

The answer is simply that retail sales and Brexit uncertainty were disguising these underlying performance issues.

Even before COVID retailers and suppliers were on limited time. Why? Because the fundamentals were being ignored by the majority. Strategic discipline had been replaced by the shift from value over volume. Very few were taking a proactive stance toward developing sustainable growth.

Many had forgotten that developing world-class shopper marketing capability is a core component of business growth. Few had remembered that strategic shopper marketing contributes to driving profitable growth by identifying key shoppers, their behaviours whilst understanding the change in those behaviours.

Good Shopper Marketing should delight shoppers. Understanding who they are and what their needs are, whilst embedding these insights at the heart of the activation plan. In doing so this would change shopper behaviour to ensure that your brand is ahead of the pack.

Before COVID-19 we had seen a loss of focus on strategic shopper marketing as changes in the marketplace had led to a more short-term view. This has been driven by:

  • new entrants to the market
  • stronger customers competing with each other to win shoppers
  • suppliers working in silos not connecting consumer, shopper & customer
  • diminishing returns from traditional consumer marketing.

Shopper marketing needs to become more central to an organisations plans, with shoppers being considered at an earlier and higher level, rather than as the final element. A more integrated, focused approach, clearly targeting behaviour change, is beneficial for all teams, ensuring optimum execution and return.

  1. A clear set of capabilities are needed in order to identify ways of working and outputs.
  2. A market assessment is undertaken to understand:
    1. where the organisation is today in terms of approach to shopper marketing
    2. how this compares with World Class suppliers
  3. The assessment allows a set of recommended actions to be created with varying time horizons – do now, do soon, do in the future.

This approach allows an organisation to develop their capabilities and hence to optimise return.

Shopper Marketing has become a dynamic and ever-changing topic for forward-thinking brands, who were seeking long-term brand growth, despite COVID-19.

Putting shoppers at the centre of your marketing plans means customising their whole shopping experience. It requires an understanding of shopper motivation along the path of purchase, from sofa to shelf, anticipating what will delight them each and every step of the way. It moves you to a position of power, where you understand what your shoppers want before they do – and then enables you to provide a solution that creates new habits and generates real brand loyalty.

Below are the 11 steps we recommend:

  • Design your approach to shopper marketing, embed it and make it live
  • Support “insights creation” via shopper research/ongoing analytics
  • Create shopper strategies
  • Create a channel based Look of Success
  • Assess current capabilities and design a roadmap for future improvement
  • Train shopper marketing skills – from basic to the practitioner course
  • Create and embed a shopper marketing team, recruit and put in place processes and tools
  • Embed shopper marketing in your organisation
  • Up-skill your team through coaching, mentoring or onsite support
  • Review organisation design and alignment
  • Design your approach to digital.

Lidle is now on-line. Ten years ago they were the disruptors. How long will it be before they begin to outperform on-line?

How can Big River Solutions help

With over 20 years of experience in category management, Big River Solutions are ideally placed to assist in the development of practices, tools, and processes that help to put online at the heart of your category management approach.

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