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From coupon clippings to promotional flyers to signage straight out of the 80s, the grocery industry has been ready for digital disruption for some time now. Challenged by the rise of new, convenient pickup and delivery options, players in the industry are under greater pressure to meet the fast-paced, digital and mobile-first lifestyles of their shoppers.  

With the rise of Online Grocery (OG), that change is coming. OG allows shoppers the flexibility to purchase necessities quickly and effortlessly. With digital ordering, buying groceries is just a tap away. Great for the consumer, but a seismic shift for the existing industry landscape. Shopper marketers must proactively prepare for the change in shopping behavior. One of the biggest mistakes a shopper marketer could make would be to treat OG as just another tactic on a media plan. It’s far more than that.

Last year, US online grocery numbers doubled, with nearly half of all Americans now buying groceries online. As Millennials and GenZ-ers increase in buying power, the number of people doing more of their grocery shopping online will continue to grow.

Online ordering allows shoppers to be more judicious with what they put in their shopping carts. As consumers spend less time physically wandering the aisles and picking up items that look good in the moment, CPG and grocery store brands are challenged to find a way to make it off the shelf and into the pantry.

So how can shopper marketers brace for this digital change? Here are three simple, powerful and actionable strategies for winning the OG (and delivery) shopper:

1. Understand the complete user journey

From online, to offline and back again, shoppers are no longer only in one place. Increasing competition makes it vital for shopper marketers to better understand and attract their ideal shopper through the journeys they take.

With today’s shopper being fully connected, their screen time provides an opportunity to reach them whenever and wherever they are via their mobile phones. Shopper marketers must take into consideration their consumer’s mobile journeys to better understand and activate on each person’s path to purchase.

2. Know the key moments

Grocers and CPG brands are uniquely in-tune with seasonal marketing. Understanding the peaks of seasonal shopping is not only vital to the in-store shopping experience, but should be equally mirrored in the consumer’s online experience.

By looking at the complete user journey, such as Walmart’s mobile traffic above, brands can understand their shoppers and strike while the iron’s hot. But to be effective you have to understand how seasonality impacts behavior. For example, as you can see in the above screenshot, Saturday has the highest activity during the second week of August, but this day changes to Friday when you look at September to November activity, highlighting the importance of understanding seasonality when driving conversions.

Shopper marketers should proactively serve shoppers with appropriate promotions for holidays like Easter or July Fourth. Conversely, highlight sales for back-to-school necessities ahead of August and September. Even beyond strict calendar dates, capitalizing on consumer trends (for example, spring cleaning) allows shopper marketers to connect with consumers more effectively.

3. Apply an omnichannel approach

It is vital that shopper marketers know the human behind the screen to engage them effectively, no matter the device. This means launching and maintaining a seamlessly uniform user experience with meaningful and actionable campaigns across mobile, desktop and brick-and-mortar.

For grocers and CPG brands to survive in an increasingly omnichannel world, they need to provide a consumer experience that allows them to transition between these channels smoothly. Mobile insights which are understood by examining the user’s journey will provide shopper marketers with the tools they need to activate across all channels in an effective and authentic way. This will only become more important as the industry further adopts alternative channels, such as voice activation technology.

Voice activation allows shoppers to simply say the word to help them shop. Beginning last month, Walmart customers can say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” and the Google Assistant will add items directly to their Walmart Grocery Cart. This gives brands the opportunity to get on the shopping list whenever and wherever their shoppers desire, and stay in front of industry trends.

The CPG space is getting more crowded, providing shoppers with more options than ever. Put your shoppers in the driver’s seat with OG. With the average consumer spending approximately five hours on their phone, mobile connects the OG shopper and supports purchase consideration. By leveraging exclusive, high quality, first-party and consented mobile journey data, along with activating on seasonal moments and prioritizing omnichannel, shopper marketers can retain control in the new landscape.

Curious about how to make Online Grocery work for you? Reach out to me directly at:

Heather Nichols, Category Team Lead – CPG

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