In the CPG marketing world, everything is new, and nothing is normal. As the pandemic continues to upend grocery shopping habits short and long term, CPG marketers are struggling to reach consumers in the new reality. To successfully pivot, they must embrace data- and insights-driven planning processes that have historically been neglected in CPG in favor of more traditional in-store marketing tactics.
As CPG marketers revamp their plans to reach consumers at home, they need to consider a new set of questions. What drives consumers’ online product choices? How is this shifting as COVID-19 unfolds? What role will ecommerce play in the future? Increasingly, CPG marketers must turn to AI-driven data that delves into the consumer motivations and the impact of pandemic-related openings and closings on sentiment.
The Motivations That Drive Shopping Behavior
If you’re a CPG marketer looking to connect with today’s shoppers, you need to go beyond flat demographics, particularly when consumers are shopping stores less and online competition for both store traffic and ecommerce eyeballs is fierce. This requires insights into the values, motivations, behaviors and purchase drivers of your core customers and prospects.
So, what do we know about today’s grocery shopper? According to a recent analysis from Resonate:
- Approximately 141 million U.S. adults identify as the primary grocery shopper in their household
- 58% are female
- 44% have children under 18 at home
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s more important than ever is for CPG marketers to be able to hone in on the specific segments that matter most to their brands. As a start, companies might want to consider subdividing the total universe of primary grocery shoppers into males and females to tease out differences in motivations, values, preferences, habits and online behavior. It’s these nuances that can inform the targeted brand decisions that will bring focus to navigating an uncertain reality. For example, when looking at the types of products that male vs. female grocery shoppers prefer, we see the following distinctions:
- Male grocery shoppers are more likely to respond to messages that emphasize innovation, quality and dependability
- Female grocery shoppers are more likely to respond to messaging around family-friendliness, cost effectiveness and health
Even at this high level, such insights are useful in understanding what might convince someone to choose a product when they are staring at options on a grocery shelf. However, the past 10 months have seen the shopping experience undergo an irreversible transformation, and we are still measuring the impact of this shift. Let’s take a look at what we already know.
The Evolution of Grocery Shopping
When it comes to store shopping, the symbiotic relationship between retailers and the CPGs that stock their shelves has several new dimensions of complexity that need to be addressed. First, COVID has added a layer of friction into the shopping process. When it comes to male vs. female primary grocery shoppers, both groups expect to see reduced occupancy to feel comfortable. However, females are 24% more likely than males to say nightly disinfecting is a major contributor to a comfort level with grocery shopping.
Meanwhile, the massive disruption to traditional CPG sales channels has accelerated digital transformation efforts. CPGs are looking for ways to connect with consumers who are not out and about as much, and who are not spending as much time physically shopping. How do you get your product in front of consumers when they aren’t browsing grocery aisles?
As ecommerce continues to play a more prominent role in CPG marketing, it’s helpful to see what types of products consumers are ready to buy online. When we look at data across major CPG categories, we see that both males and females are highly likely to click “add to cart” on items like baby supplies and alcohol. (And yes, perhaps there is a subtle correlation there.)
Conversely, males and females diverge in their likelihood to buy things like soda or dairy products. Males are 22% more likely to buy soda online, while females are 20% more likely to buy milk and dairy products online.
Going forward, CPG brands need to acknowledge that recent events have caused an irreversible shift in consumer behavior and accelerated the existing digital transformation. As consumer behavior continues to evolve, CPGs must adjust how they work with traditional sales channels and take a consumer-centric approach to personalization. This will enable brands to fully optimize their marketing budgets based on real-time consumer feedback.
At a time when nothing is normal and everything is new, powering decisions with targeted data is the best way to adapt to a world where online carts are increasingly replacing grocery carts.
Tim Hyzdu is Executive Director, SaaS for Resonate