The consumer demands retail strategies to look into new ways to draw customers into their store. But wait, isn’t retail dying? Doesn’t everyone order their stuff online now? While we’re seeing closures from apparel retailers and large brands such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Sears, it’s not necessarily because retail has lost its edge. As you may have guessed it’s because of the Amazon effect. So, is it dying? Maybe. Shifting? Most definitely.
E-commerce has become a channel that has made shopping easy and convenient. You order some clothes, a couple of HBA products, and some snacks. Two days later it’s on your doorstep without having to take time out of your schedule.
However, it’s shifting because there are still things that brick-and-mortar stores can offer. Smaller, nimbler brands are set for expansion while the more prominent names are closing their doors. Dollar General, for example, is planning to open an additional 1,000 locations across the States.
Among other things, Dollar General is going smaller at 6,000 square feet and bringing in fresh produce. The focus of their new plan is to hone in on technology and capitalize on the e-commerce shift, despite trailing behind the retail industry trends for quite some time.
For example, Amazon rolled out its Amazon Fresh in Washington several years ago. Today they’re expanding to metropolitan cities to offer grocery delivery in the same vein you can order other goods via Amazon. It may be giving retailers a run for their money, but should brick-and-mortar retailers be sweating?
Retail Shift Towards Engagement
Retailers are compensated for keeping their ear to the ground and understand what their consumers want. The question is why? Retail experience. What did Best Buy do differently than hhgregg? Engagement. You can sit on that chair you’ve looked at online to get a feel. You can play that newly released console game from a month ago. You can demo the product and get a feel for it.
Welcome to a branded food CPG opportunity. Partner up with the retailer to offer new experiences for consumers. With a healthy market plan, you can assure your retail partner the traffic that will support turn on shelves and ultimately benefit both parties. Point-of-purchase is a great way to foster experience or engagement with shoppers in-store. You can sample products, cooking demos, or have coupon dispensers to drive trial.
Shoppers have broken away from the “primary shopper” profile. Now, people in the household are shopping for themselves. Families have shifted habits where others help out and perform shopping duties. That means going to various stores to satisfy their shopping lists. With this shift, shoppers are perusing stores that offer experience over function.
Knowing that experience is becoming the draw for grocery shoppers, how can you bring differentiate retail from e-commerce?
Differentiating the Experience
A panel of Generation Z (often abbreviated Gen Z) consumers have expressed that “ordering fresh grocery food from Amazon did not appeal to [them].” On the other hand, these consumers were confident in ordering meals via UberEats. Gen Z’s perceived thought is that food delivered through UberEats was fresher than groceries ordered through AmazonFresh. They don’t like the idea of their food being handled and processed. Further, they can’t honestly examine the quality of their food like they can when they’re at the store.
While it’s a small sample size, it’d be wise to explore different tactics. Gen Z is still young, but they echo habits and attitudes from the Millennial generation. Retailers should continue addressing these elements: price, taste, and convenience. But track with convenience. When was the last time you dreaded going to the store because of the long lines? Or whether they’d have your product fully stocked? Stores today are looking at the growing era of technology. How can they make your experience more comfortable, convenient, and memorable?
Millennials Driving Growth of Online Food Sales
We’ve all dreamed it, but Millennials are doing it: sitting on the couch and not only putting together their grocery list but submitting their order for pickup of delivery. Have you discussed with your retail buyer and partner how your brand is positioned to support online sales? This could be a tremendous marketing opportunity. Can you create shipper-friendly package sizes (hint: drop the dead space)? Can you partner with a compatible brand to create recipe-ready shippable packages? Retailers look for thier partners for innovation.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how to foster retail and online sales , please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more topics about food marketing, please visit our “Intel” page or check out my book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.