Winning with the digital shopper – Bord Bia

According to the World Economic Forum, there will be more change in the next ten years, than the last 40 years. Primarily driven by the acceleration of technology and ‘smartphone’ functionality and integration into 24/7 living. The pace of change is also due to the funding of new businesses that can disrupt categories and accelerate the rate of change in consumer behaviour.

In the CPG sector where 53% of the growth is coming from small brands and only 2% from large brands (1). Digital talent is migrating to favouring small companies who are adapting to the acceleration of digital opportunities. E-commerce has gone beyond “buying something on a website” to a series of interactions that rely on technology to move goods and services. 56% of consumers claim that digital channels have influenced their purchase offline (ROPO). Marketers need to look at digital as a key component of the sales funnel regardless of where the consumer purchases.

We have moved into the era of consumer empowerment, where customers expect personalised content, offers and rewards in the right place at the right time and the right channel. (2) We now live in an omnichannel world, but 53% of companies do not feel prepared for the demands of the e-commerce, driven by data and AI. (2)

Retailers are now looking at several methodologies to deliver against consumer expectations and avoiding the excessive costs of home deliveries. Walmart has dark stores, drive-through, click & collect towers, coupled with robots doing fulfillment of in-store orders. The increased demand for seamless payment solutions via mobile resulted in Amazon testing stores that allow customers to simply tap their phone on the way in and the way out and avoid check out tills.

Given the rise of Omnichannel environment, brands must ensure that their marketing partners are not working in silos. Customer Journey mapping is considered to be one of the most effective ways to deliver against consumer expectations and drive sales.

A third of American Households have Alexa already and leveraging as part of their purchasing behaviours. Voice technology will further disrupt the buying process, resulting in a scramble for voice search words. Amazon is now the biggest search engine for products (55% of all product searches).

Grocery online is still relatively small in Ireland (2.2%) but will grow to 5% (14.1billion) in the next four years. The likelihood of Amazon coming to Ireland is low, the market being too small and too rural, prohibiting the cost of home delivery. Main reasons for shopping grocery online is convenience and value. The biggest reason for visiting a retailer site is to check-out special offers. Retailers are an advertising channel as well as a purchasing channel.

The recent Brand Forum workshop ‘Winning with the Digital Shopper’, informed brand owners how best to gear their business and brands for an omnichannel route to market. Learnings can be summarised as follows:

a. Develop content strategies that reflect a seamless omnichannel customer experience.

b. Establish stronger measurement and analytics capabilities online and in-store.

c. Accelerate your innovation ecosystem – test, learn and scale fast.

This workshop was supported with case studies from Cola-Coca, Supervalu and Eighty Twenty, which can be summarized as follows.

Aengus King, Coca-Cola; shared his experience of how to win with retailers, using a Schweppes Case study

• Category Vision – what is your category vision (think beyond your brand)

• Talk Category, not Brands – demonstrate how to grow the category.

• Create annual meetings that include both buyer and Category Director.

• Prioritise Opportunities: Don’t go too wide, focus on the 1/2 things that will grow your brand. Work through your sales funnel and your drivers for success.

• Demonstrate why how your brand will unlock growth, your USP, etc.

Aoife Rigney Supervalu: Think about the end to end experience – For grocery e-commerce to be successful the E2E customer journey must be right. While the e-commerce website and app are hugely important, other non-digital parts of the shopping experience (picker in store) are just as relevant and integral to the success of the online shop. The last mile (delivery person) is just as important as a seamless, easy to navigate, website.

Amazon and sophisticated e-commerce sites are dictating customer experience and expectations. Supervalu reach out to their shopping community through a variety of ways to evolve how they create experiences e.g. scan a barcode, shortening registration, ‘my usuals’, ‘forgotten anything?’. They leverage behavioural data thereby creating more personalised solutions. Advice to brand owners included:

– Get the basics right.

– Hero packaging! Help consumers find your product.

– Inspirational imagery.

– Get your taxonomies right, (make sure your product is on the right virtual aisle).

David Connor of Eighty Twenty advised that brand owners have 1.7seconds to capture consumers attention on mobile devices! Social media is a powerful and extensive medium for brand building, for generating sales leads and e-commerce. Five principles identified to successful social commerce included:

• Win the feed – again all about mobile!

• Sophisticated targeting – know your audience, data less about demographics and more about behaviours – what they love doing, what content they like, etc. Mapping out customer journeys will be transformed.

• Ignore the middle funnel at your peril – follow the full customer journey with the relevant content to move consumers along.

• Make use of your existing fan or consumer base. This group are more likely to spread content and get engagement.

• The role of influencers is increasing. Be authentic with influence & advocacy partnerships, back those who have a genuine interest in your brand, think about super-fans.


1. Nielson: Amid the FMCG downturn, small manufacturers are tapping big growth

2. Surviving the Brave New World of Retailing, CCRRC/Kurt Salmon Report 2017

3. IGD online store of the future study

4. Absolunet

The next Brand Forum event will take place on Wed. 3rd October’ (5.30-8.30pm), themed on “Brands that want to expand – Taking a local brand international, presentations from: William Kendall, Cawston Press, Keoghs and Glenilen. Click here for further details.

From the Brand Forum team

An illustration of shopping with a smartphone.