CPG Marketers Can Enhance the In-Store Experience

January 3, 2018

CPG Matters | January 3, 2018 –  Grocery retailers are entering uncharted territory as they look for ways to reel in today’s shoppers. Sure, the economy is growing. While that automatically conjures up an image of healthy buying habits, the truth of the matter is that shoppers are turning to digital means instead of physical stores for product information and a quick purchase – even grocery purchases.

While online sales may be booming, in-store sales still play a key role in a retailers’ business with 85 percent of retail sales still made in physical stores today. And when it comes to buying products in-person, grocery stores are among the retailers seen as most necessary for brick-and-mortar retail. But growing the grocery business doesn’t have to be a one-way street especially when CPG manufacturers can help enhance the in-store experience.

Make Sampling Experiential
With so many shopping options available, consumers need to be convinced that going to a physical store will offer more than what a click of a button online can. This is exactly why one in three CMOs expects to allocate between 21 and 50 percent of their budget to experience marketing over the next three to five years. With experiential activations, shoppers are given the opportunity to be immersed in a new experience that allows them to not only try a new product but use it creatively. CPGs can help grocery retailers develop these kinds of experiences by sharing non-traditional ways to use their products. Cheetos serves as a grade-A example of the kinds of activations needed. Just this year, the brand created a pop-up bistro that served different Cheetos-inspired dishes like “Flamin’ Hot Limón Chicken Tacos” and “Purrfectly Fried Green Tomatoes” to spruce up its brand. CPGs should follow Cheetos’ lead by taking a known (or unknown) brand and developing a unique way to help retailers create a one-of-a-kind experience.

Reinvent the Cooking Demo
Culinary is still trending, but what has truly risen to the top of this vertical is the $2.2 billion meal kit business. So, if consumers express an interest in cooking a real meal for themselves or their family, but don’t want to search for elusive ingredients or watch a video on how to cook, then this could be the way to go. Shoppers have gone from do-it-yourself to do-it-for-me. CPGs can capitalize on this by putting together ingredients from their own lines to showcase easy recipes. Alternatively, they can partner with another CPG to create more inventive meals altogether. Since shoppers have become more fragmented, these meals could be the ideal way to create dishes that are authentic because they could be made for any ethnicity and for any meal of the day.

Defer to Data
Of course, retailers have the real estate to house physical products and events, but no one knows its customers quite like CPGs do. It’s important to share this data with retailers. By analyzing shoppers to determine their demographic and psychographic makeup, CPGs can help retailers make the in-store experience more personalized and targeted. Additionally, if there is more data that needs to be collected, CPGs can use their social media channels to survey users and get the information a retailer might need, but may not have access to. The best course of action though is to combine data. CPGs should determine which products are performing well nationally and then couple those numbers with what the retailer can share about purchasing habits on a regional front. By blending these two findings, CPGs can make more informed decisions about promotion strategies and learn key findings to support their experiential efforts.

Incorporate Technology
Shoppers are more tech-friendly than any generation before them. As such, they expect their retailers to keep with the times. CPGs can help this effort by creating digital assets in-house to enhance product usability. If there’s a product that could be a new addition to a trending meal, then don’t just mention that on the company website. Offer shoppers the ability to have a recipe texted to them, or better yet, incorporate augmented reality. Seventy-one percent of shoppers would shop at a retailer more often if they offered AR, according to a Retail Perceptions study by Interactions. Another option could be for CPGs to start using QR codes, which have made a comeback with the latest iPhone’s capabilities. While technology may seem like a hefty investment up front, there are low-cost ways to bring these kinds of innovations to life, like partnering with a tech provider instead of creating something proprietary.

While CPGs certainly have a lot to contribute to the in-store experience, the only way to truly reap the full benefits of the CPG-retailer relationship is to collaborate. Many times, the retailer itself is executing in-store programs, but oftentimes they work with experiential marketing agencies to execute. Both relationships should be valued and considered. No matter who the partner is, CPG representatives can help the retailers and themselves by brainstorming innovative promotion ideas and by sharing its latest technological and data-driven advancements. After all, CPGs and retailers are working partners with the same goal – to provide all the needs of the customer.

Full Article Here