The way consumers shop has changed significantly in the past few years thanks to technological advancements and the demands of the growing millennial demographic. Old school marketing techniques such as flyer ads and in-store promotions can easily be ignored by the modern consumer, which is why food companies need to expand their traditional marketing tactics to include personalized, interactive and data-driven product campaigns. At the 2018 Global Summit of The Global Consumer Goods Forum in Singapore, Nielson’s Executive Vice President of Retail, Jeanne Danubio, hosted a session that highlighted the importance of data-driven personalization in marketing to today’s consumer.
“The issue is, we’re still operating in a mass marketing world, but consumers are living—specifically, searching and learning—in a very personalized world, “ said Danubio.
In Danubio’s presentation, titled “The ‘I’ In Retail: Data-Driven Personalization,” she highlighted three major stages in a consumer’s shopping journey and how technology has disrupted them.
With personalization being a key aspect in attracting consumers and maintaining their business, food companies need to utilize big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to understand the individual preferences of shoppers so that they can promote the right products to them. For example, food companies can easily identify a health-focused consumer by using such technologies and with that information, they can market specific health products to them. This stage is called the “discovery” stage because consumers discover products differently and look for items that fit their unique lifestyles.
The next stage is the shopping experience itself. Gone are the days of when the majority of consumers would look forward to a flyer with coupons and promotions from their local grocery store. Now, retailers must reach out to consumers directly with online promotions and mobile connectivity. According to Danubio, mobile connectivity should be a top priority for retailers as the majority of consumers already use their phones as a tool to find information on products. A recent survey by Atomik Research found that three-in-five shoppers are already using their phones for grocery shopping. About 56 percent of these shoppers would use an app to learn more about the ingredients in an item.
With the largest working demographic being millennials, food companies need to take their lifestyles into account when developing marketing strategies. Often referred to as the “distracted audience,” less than two percent of millennials have been found to change the channel during a TV commercial because most of them are using multiple media devices at the same time such as phones, computers and tablets. This is indicative of that fact that traditional TV commercials might not be enough and food companies need to spread out their marketing reach to all media devices.
This leads to Danubio’s last stage, how consumers purchase their products. Food companies need to prepare for an omnichannel world with multiple purchasing methods in order to provide the utmost convenience to their shoppers. As the line between brick-and-mortar and online grocery begin to blur, food companies and grocers need to utilize the best qualities from each shopping method to create unique and personalized experiences. Shoppers are now researching their products online prior to purchasing them in-store or through e-commerce stores. Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, food companies can recommend products to consumers through their mobile devices and encourage them to use a promotional code online or in-store. In addition, mobile cashless payments are on the rise and grocers that implement these technologies in their stores can increase the convenience aspect of their shopping experiences. Amazon Go is a great example of an innovative check-out free shopping experience with their “just walk-out” technology which allows shoppers to simply walk in, pick up their item for purchase and walk out. There are even new start-ups and small grocers that are offering this new check-out free technology.
By connecting all these technologies, food companies and grocers can develop a comprehensive consumer profile for each of their shoppers, which will allow them to personalize their marketing techniques.
“When companies bring all of these elements together, they’ll be able to deliver more personalized omnichannel shopping experiences for consumers. Combining networks of physical stores and e-commerce fulfillment will provide infinite, yet highly relevant product assortments. And these personalized assortments will be accessible everywhere people live, work and play—from the store around the block to the palm of their hands,” said Nielson.