The balance of power has shifted from retailers and manufacturers to the shopper. As Australians adapt and change how and when we shop as the cost-of-living bites, so do our expectations of an omnichannel experience in-store and online.

Those brands and retailers that respond to individual shopper needs will be the winners – just as we saw during the pandemic. Through understanding the factors influencing or disrupting shopper behaviour, you can more confidently adapt your strategies to better address specific needs and influence shopping behaviours to suit various shopper types on different occasions. Shopper research will enable you to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘buy’.

An omnichannel customer experience is critical

The omnichannel customer experience is the most important part of the channel mix. Our latest research reveals that almost seven in 10 Australians are shopping online the same or more than they did a year ago (67 per cent). Yet, despite being more tech savvy thanks to the pandemic acceleration of e-commerce and purchasing from a wider variety of platforms to combat the effects of inflation on our hip pocket, people do also still value the in-store experience. This makes omnichannel shoppers a critical market – in fact, they are particularly highly valuable to grocery retailers, spending more than double what in-store only and online only customers buy. As more of us shop online, retailers and manufacturers alike must treat and analyse online channels as shopper-led businesses using data and technology.

Putting shoppers at the heart of everything you do is critical. Fast-tracking smart investment in data technology and shopper solutions will provide a clear 360-degree view on who your shoppers really are, and how to satisfy them. Physical retailer websites are most frequently used for product information, online marketplaces and e-tailers for price comparisons, retailer apps for seeking out promotions, and social platforms for future purchase inspiration. In-store display is a more important source of discovery, and physical stores remain vital for NPD trade marketing activity. And don’t forget the user experience in e-commerce too by adequately investing (but at speed) in e-commerce capabilities that ultimately provide a better shopper customer experience.

The whole umbrella experience considers every engagement, thought and feeling your customer has with your brand including how they engage on your platform – from search function to shopping cart. And it’s vital to deliver and connect on every touchpoint. Online shoppers are also more loyal to retailers, so winning the omnichannel shopper is critical to capturing their tendency to spend more share of wallet with a single retailer.

Investment in data is a powerful solution to delivering ROI

To truly become shopper-led you must harness the power of customer and shopper panel data. Combining these rich data sets reveals a total view of your shoppers today, as you analyse their attitudes and the motivations that will influence their behaviour tomorrow. Ultimately, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of who your shoppers are, how they shop, and what they value; and overcome the universal challenge of shopper research – what shoppers say they do is not always what they actually do – to adapt your product and marketing strategies more confidently, better address specific needs and influence your shoppers both in-store and online.

By linking shopper attitudes back to their actual purchasing behaviour, you can answer key business questions with confidence and gain clear visibility of a brand’s competitive advantages and key vulnerabilities through uncovering the product attributes that are most important – such as packaging, ingredients/formulation, flavour, provenance. You’ll also ascertain how your brand performs against these multiple attributes. This vital understanding across those shopper groups that you must retain or need to win provides the ability to confidently improve product propositions, inform packaging and new product development and to ultimately communicate authentically with shoppers to grow mental availability. And in our new era where cost-of-living is reshaping our values and what value means to every single shopper, this is a true gamechanger.

This article was written by Circana for the September issue of National Liquor News, which can be read online now.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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