The one hard question grocery brands should be asking themselves is, ‘how do I get my brand back on to the shopping list?’
Let’s face it, the average grocery experience is inadequate. We have created a world of indifference where brand loyalty has been replaced by the best promotion.
Consumers have been conditioned to hunt down the best price and now we even have apps to further exacerbate the situation.
The grocery world has depended upon ‘trade budgets’, since the beginning of time. But in this extraordinary economy, everyday low prices are simply not sustainable: the quality of the product is at its highest but the margins down to the wire - suppliers cannot afford to erode their prices. But how do they get a good price for their products?
In this promotion-driven world, most shoppers will happily switch from one brand to another because of a special offer. Shoppers simply expect to be swayed by the latest bogof.
We recently did a survey asking shoppers to name a brand that they could honestly say they were loyal to and could not do without. The results were surprising.
Beyond apple and health and beauty products, there were very few brands customers could not be swayed away from by a promotion. This is a problem.
retailers simply cannot continue to price compete with their rivals and rely on their margins to be supported by manufacturers.
Manufacturers could be a lot more creative with their ideas to maintain rsp and inspire the shopper. There is a solution, which leads us to our second question: ‘how can retailers and manufacturers create a more inspiring shopping experience?’
We have to be realistic - we need price promotions - they are a necessary part of the equation, but perhaps not ALL the time.
The trade spend should not just be spent on buying shelf space, but rather put against strong, innovative ideas that will inspire the customer to make the shopping experience enjoyable. Retailerscould develop exclusive brands in partnership with manufacturers to overcome basket comparison squabbles and create truly innovative NPD.
The good news is that people love to shop, they like to be inspired and when they are they become loyal advocates.
Waitrose and John Lewis have proven this. So, with the second hard question worked out, the solution is all about innovation, great design and teamwork to make the experience special.
This in turn will make the retailer a destination and put the brands back on the shopping list.
Given the opportunity, which manufacturer would not be delighted to channel a part of their trade spend into an integrated approach that would influence the shopper and increase purchasing behaviour?
There will always be price promotions, but if retailers and manufacturers begin to treat the consumer’s time in stores as a below-the-line media opportunity, they can begin to inspire customers. Perhaps that will help drive ritualistic behaviour and put their brands back on shopping lists.