The digital transformation accelerated during COVID changed the way we live, work and play. As consumers adopted more and more digital technologies to cope with social distancing during the early stages of the pandemic (ecommerce chief among them), their familiarity with these technologies grew — leading to a series of lasting consumer behavior changes that we’re still adapting to as an industry.
In just three months, online grocery shopping reached the rate that we thought it would in the next 10 years. And all of the evidence suggests that this trend is here to stay. Quotient internal reporting shows that 40% of shoppers who signed up for ecommerce services during the beginning of COVID (March – April, 2020) repeated their use of ecommerce in the following months.
Those same shoppers placed seven eCommerce orders on average — a 2X jump from the same period during the previous year. As a result, many of these same consumers have also become more accepting of a hybrid model in which they seamlessly transition back and forth between online and offline channels — encompassing everything from traditional in-store shopping to delivery, drive-up and in-store pickup.
For brands and retailers, this means that there are more opportunities than ever to reach consumers across the path to purchase. But in order to connect with these shoppers, marketers must take an omnichannel approach informed by data to ensure their brand is showing up wherever, whenever and however their target audience prefers to shop.
Attract and Connect with Shoppers
Today, agencies have the opportunity to form a meaningful connection between brands and retailers to better create the seamless omnichannel experience that consumers demand — and it starts with data. Agencies have been given the chance to unite various sources of information, including first- and second-party data, to help their CPG clients identify who their most valuable customers are and how best to deliver smart programming to those shoppers.
Data allows brands and retailers to better target and more accurately serve consumers, providing value to all parties by offering them objective insight into who their consumers are and what they want. It has the ability to shift the balance of how brands and retailers work together. Indeed, retailers that have formed their own media networks are feeling very well-positioned. They have the information that both they and brands need. But these media networks require significant time and investment to create, and COVID forced many to scale their offerings more rapidly than previously anticipated.
As agencies work hard to bridge that gap, providing valuable data for their clients to better understand their customers, brands will be better suited to work with retailers on an equal level. Instead of one side having valuable data, all parties will be empowered with the information they need to attract and connect with shoppers.
Develop Clear Messaging That Resonates With Consumers
In this new world of hybrid grocery commerce, in which consumers seamlessly transition between physical and digital avenues, every moment is shoppable. The need to deliver holistic and frictionless experiences has never been more pressing. Many marketing programs include pre-shop campaigns that are designed to drive people into the store, whether online or a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment. These brand experiences start to blur when driving sales, but there is a unique opportunity for agencies to serve as a connector for all groups. Data can be the source of that connection, delivering the right message to the right consumer at exactly the right moment.
Shoppers want brands to listen to and understand their needs, and brands are no different when searching for an agency partner. Agencies can use data to demonstrate how brands can best immerse themselves into the lives of consumers, and in turn brands can then use that data to tailor their strategies with messaging that is clear, helpful and resonates with the shoppers being targeted.
Deliver a Data-Driven Story
Retailers are tapping into the power of first-party data, empowering them to pinpoint their best customers, determine exactly who they are and what they want, and form new strategies to fulfill their expectations. Now it’s time for brands to do the same. Agencies can help brands accomplish their goals and develop stronger, more targeted messaging by giving them the data they need to succeed. This allows brands to build a data pipeline independent of retailers while allowing them to continue working with their retail partners to reach consumers. And the more that both agencies and retailers can collectively help their CPG clients deliver a data-driven story, the better.
Gilad Amitai is the VP of Media at Quotient Technology. As an expert in the mobile advertising technology landscape and focusing on digital out-of-home, ecommerce and shopper marketing, Amitai connects with agency partners and advertisers to create long-term success with innovative media strategies. In addition to his role at Quotient, Amitai continues his role as COO of the company he co-founded, Ubimo, which was acquired by Quotient in 2019.