Shoppers are more engaged than ever online. Since 2010, online consumer packaged good (CPG) sales in the U.S. have grown 13 percent, reaching $25 billion this year and are expected to reach $32 billion in 2015. Online penetration reached 9.2 percent in 2013, growing 2.7 percent since 2012.
However, the challenge for CPG is that shopping behavior is fragmenting quickly, and it’s difficult for manufacturers and retailers to know “what to do” because the facts are seemingly contradictory. For example, 68 percent of CPG shoppers do not engage digitally and 74 percent feel the grocery store is more convenient, yet Nielsen estimates that 60 percent of total retail sales in 2017 will be digitally influenced or sold. However, those statistics can vary by product type. Consumers often report shopping for certain items online, such as pet supplies, vitamins, cleaning products or frozen foods. But they report using traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets for other goods. Consumers also say they shop in retail outlets for staples or for convenience but shop online for the variety.
So how can you navigate this?
Focus on the Consumer
Shoppers are driving the future of retail, so isolating fragmented behaviors into groups can help you understand and execute against unpredictability. Nielsen has identified seven online shopper segments:
- Digital Reluctants: 22 percent report low trust of technology
- Tech Averse: 13 percent report low tech savvy
- Digital Advocates: 14 percent report enjoying shopping online
- Researchers: 14 percent are research driven
- Tech Savvy: 12 percent say they are knowledgeable about technology
- Non-Planners: 15 percent say they don’t enjoy shopping online
- Grab & Go: 9 percent display low value seeking behavior
Personalize Shopper Communications
Shoppers are already using a plethora or touch points before, during and after their shopping experiences, so it’s critical for marketers to engage and interact with them along the very same channels. And while digital covers touch points like smart phone apps, social media sites, email, text messages and store websites, brands can’t forget about physical experiences as well, such as in-store kiosks, mailers and newspaper circulars. To maximize the impact of your marketing efforts, reach out in a variety of ways to connect with the most consumers. Know who your consumer is and engage them with the appropriate communication vehicle. For example, Millennials live on their smartphones (80%) and tablets (61%).
Shoppers are in control, shifting in increasingly seamless ways across retail and research channels. They demand seamless, always on, personalized service. They demand dynamic and transparent platforms and they demand access to any category, on any device. The future of retail is truly borderless.