Is your CPG strategy missing a vital ingredient and you didn’t even know it? Strategic marketing to shoppers now includes virtually unlimited avenues, making it challenging for manufacturers to promote a conventional customer journey. Between social media, mobile messaging and e-commerce, shoppers have a much more active role in determining their personal path to purchase than ever before. These individuals are constantly looking for the best deal, and have access to a wealth of competitive information — regardless of their physical location. These same shoppers may search up to 10 different locations before making a purchasing decision, making it difficult to attribute a specific action to their buying behavior.
However, CPG manufacturers and their retail partners shouldn’t be discouraged. Instead, this challenging purchase process provides an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration across business lines. Activating shoppers becomes an exercise in data management of the insights that are gathered at each step of your shopper’s journey. Each piece of information that you push towards your shoppers brings them one step closer to ultimately making a purchase. This changing paradigm provides the ideal chance to engage with partners to activate customers.
Importance of Collaborative Retail Planning
Retailers, suppliers and manufacturers must become closer than ever before in the age of the omnichannel shopper. Expectations are high: shoppers are looking for the best possible price, the most convenient shopping experience and the highest value for their purchase — and they’re willing to stray away from trusted brands at times when the risk seems acceptable. Well-established brands often suffer the most as low-cost startups are able to lure shoppers away from tried-and-true solutions through eye-catching marketing creative and innovative partnerships. CPG manufacturers, suppliers and retailers can partner to reform their ecosystem through collaboration to provide more control to the vertical as a whole, providing shoppers with the powerful experiences that lead to activation.
The positive effects of this type of collaboration can be seen across the board, with topline sales seeing a lift of up to 15% and product launches that are up to 60% faster. Collaboration must go beyond simply sharing strategies. Partners must also look for ways to share information and work together at a deeper level in order to garner the true benefits of this practice. What makes it even more difficult is that there is no prescribed methodology for partnerships at this level. Kroger is an example of a retailer who actively supports collaboration with partners. Their digital and physical coupons are highly targeted to individuals who have purchased specific items in the past, with recommendations that drive a stunning redemption rate of 70%. Each shopper is precisely tracked as an individual, allowing Kroger to share detailed feedback with partners to drive activations and sales in the future.
Steps to Plan Collaboratively for CPG Shopper Activation
While each partnership is truly different, there are some steps that will help you get started in the right direction to activate your shoppers.
- Determine your best platforms. Are there specific platforms where your shoppers tend to congregate? Some brands may find that they’ll get the biggest bang for their buck on social media, while others find that mobile or location-based ads offer the highest returns. Instead of assuming that your compelling advertising will bring shoppers to your platform, reach out to your shoppers where they are already congregating.
- Create a plan. Define the specific methods and partners that will allow you to leverage the data you have already gathered to drive content and creative direction. Include the type of technology you want to focus on, specific targeting of shoppers, a firm strategy for execution and how you will monitor and adjust your plan. It is also critically important to define success metrics before you launch the campaign.
- Implement technology. Determine how you can work with your selected partners to share shopper and product data. Collaboration between organizations works best when there are shared goals, and technology is the glue that can tie your strategy together into a cohesive whole.
- Monitor activity. What type of action would you like to drive, or pose differently: What does activation look like for your partnership? Perhaps you’re focused on having a specific percentage of shoppers respond to a coupon or connect with your brand on social media. Whatever your desired goals, define ways to monitor that activity upfront so you can see what works and tweak what isn’t working. Monitoring shared inventory is an important aspect of ensuring that your shoppers have a positive journey and are able to successfully complete a purchase.
- Review analytics. Creating a comprehensive review plan for your analytics is the best way to assure that your program ROI is on target for your goals. Analytics vary depending on the type of partnership, but could include everything from meeting overall sales goals to the speed at which you were able to launch your activation program.
When manufacturers, suppliers and retailers work closely together, the synergies that are created can truly boost customer activation metrics. See how your organization can benefit from a deep understanding of your shoppers that can only be gained through intensive data and analytics.