How brands can connect with the hybrid shopper experience
Michael McGowan, SVP, Commercial Insights & Loyalty
COVID-19 has forced change into almost every aspect of modern life. At the core of this change is the way consumers shop for and receive groceries from the store. While some still prefer to do their shopping in the physical store, others have chosen to take their grocery shopping primarily online with Pickup and Delivery options.
Somewhere between these two camps exists a shopper who switches between in-store and online shopping options. They may be new to ecommerce, or they may be seasoned online shopping experts. No matter where they sit on that continuum, their unpredictable shifts in modalities pose a unique challenge to the CPGs seeking to connect with these “hybrid shoppers”. However, as one of the fastest growing profiles, successfully engaging with the hybrid shopper both online and in-store is quickly becoming a prerequisite for success in the 2020s.
The hybrid shopper profile was already on the rise in recent years, but spiked during the first half of 2020 (as the number of all households using ecommerce grew). Hybrid shoppers are a valued customer to CPGs, because this profile ultimately engages more with brands than most other groups. They may do all of their shopping online for pickup or delivery, or they might build their shopping lists on a mobile app and then complete their purchases in person in the physical stores.
So, what can CPG brands focus on to meet this sought-after shopper where they are, whether it be in-store or online?
While perhaps obvious, it is essential that brands make certain that their offerings are available to shoppers both in-store as well as online. Data shows that the hybrid shopper is motivated by convenience, with 31% of customers in this profile scoring as highly motivated by convenience (versus only 18% of customers exclusive to a single modality scoring as highly motivated by convenience).
Expect shoppers to look to both ecommerce and physical stores to fulfill different trips and deliver experiences that help them easily and confidently complete their orders each time. If a brand fails to meet the hybrid shopper where they are on that day, they have likely lost to the brand whose product is available.
Now, more than ever, feels like the golden age of ecommerce. Shoppers concerned about safety, looking to limit their time spent in-store around other shoppers, are opting for online shopping options at a rate higher than ever before.
However, one of the biggest mistakes that brands can make is to overlook their in-store offerings. Despite the recent spike in online activity, brick and mortar shopping is still responsible for the heavy majority of business for CPG brands.
It is critical to invest in the broad ecosystem, so that customers can decide how they want to shop for a given trip — and don’t have to compromise on convenience, confidence, control or inspiration.
Providing an omnichannel customer experience has become the cost of doing business. Shoppers have come to expect consistent value across modalities.
By focusing on a strong value proposition for the customer instead of the modality, you can ensure that the customer experience you offer will be consistent wherever your consumers might find you.
Analyze the behaviors and motivations of your hybrid shoppers. This knowledge will help you develop and refine customer-centric plans with confidence.
To provide your customers with a seamless experience and ensure you meet them where they are, support your retail partner’s digital marketplace. Take advantage of the associated marketing and advertising opportunities that can help you target the right audience for your specific goals, whether it’s new customer acquisition or increasing your market share with existing customers. Partnerships with retailers in this space, closest to the point of purchase, will drive strong performance for brands.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to raise health concerns, many shoppers will be trying new modalities over the next year. Some will pick one they like, some will switch back and forth, and some will shift only when necessary. However, CPGs that maintain a consistent presence across modalities and stay true to their brand will come out ahead.
Customers will continue to evolve the way that they shop, and the hybrid shopper is certainly here to stay. It’s critical that brands continue to advance their knowledge of these customers as behavior will continue to shift across the retail landscape. In addition, agencies that work with brands should bolster their analytical abilities to capture the insights that will help their clients succeed in this omnichannel space. The most successful CPGs will be those who are able to move with pace to meet the demands of customers, while displaying agility to amplify their business both in a traditional brick and mortar environment, as well as through ecommerce.
To read more about the hybrid shopper and our Summer of Celebrations, click here.
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