More than ever, these last few months have totally upended retail- and no category has been impacted more than grocery. Just this week, it was reported that curbside pickup has even come to big box retailer, Target! According to USA Today, Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a quarterly earnings call that its “Drive-Up curbside pickup grew an ‘astonishing 730%’ over the same quarter in 2019. Its Shipt online delivery service grew more than 350% year over year.”
While many US states and countries around the world are already well out of lockdown and retailers globally are reporting a return of physical shoppers, it is clear that at least for the near future: shopping is Omni Channel.
Influencing the shopper journey has definitely taken on a digital urgency. Also true is the reality that to dissect and map the new shopper journey, you need digital tools in order to understand the behavioral implications. In this segment of the Summer Series, let’s explore how digitization is enhancing our ability to observe and make sense of shopper behavior holistically in an even more Omni Channel world.
We know that consumers are shopping online, and whether they choose “click and deliver” or “click and collect” (such as the emerging Target shopper), this is, for most, a new behavior. Is the change durable and lasting? Is it being facilitated by things that are under the control of brands, or is choice really being steered and influenced solely by the retailer? While advertising and in-store promotion may have been the triggers for purchasing in a brick-and-mortar environment, what complex combinations of factors are influencing the Omni Channel choice?
To answer these questions in actionable ways, we need to blend numerous different sources of digital data and then apply the principles of behavioral science we have seen at work in the predominantly physical retail world. Where is the consumer online when they aren’t specifically in the retailer’s shopping app? If a shopper is on an e-commerce site, how do they find your product and what role does a pack play in driving their choice online versus how they would view it on-shelf? What role does content within a brand’s online presence (websites, social media, or even video) play in driving shopper behavior in the consideration phase of the path-to-purchase?
There are lots of tech tools out there that can measure discrete aspects of the digital path-to-purchase. But they only deliver just that - keyhole views, disconnected from each other and more importantly, unfiltered by a behavioral framework and lacking interpretation by experts in shopper marketing science. These tools might reveal what is being done by a consumer, but deployed by themselves, they offer no insights into the behavioral heuristics that influence the actual shopper moment of truth. All “what’s,” no “why’s”. And worse, no reliable or predictive recommendations, or the “so, what now?” that a brand can act upon to ensure business growth.
This was actually our motivation to build OmniPath™, which we launched September 2019, well before the first case of COVID-19. It is the PRS IN VIVO consultative solution to help brands grapple with the challenges of the new path-to-purchase. We knew that in order to truly help clients navigate the Omni Channel path-to-purchase, we would need to take a “digital-first” approach married to our behavioral framework. And it is working. Clients who have embraced OmniPath™ have reaped the following benefits:
- Bacardi grew their market share online and in-store by raising brand awareness at each moment of the consumer decision hierarchy depending on their shopping occasion.
- Fresh Step increased brand loyalty through online subscriptions by identifying consumer’s replenishment needs. They updated the calls-to-action on their website to be more salient, making it easier to subscribe to automatic shipments.
- A leading apparel brand enhanced the shopper experience and updated their flagship store with new branding by mapping the in-store behaviors and path-to-purchase to uncover areas for improvement.
What’s next in the Summer Series? More about “Digital First” in our Core Behavioral practice.
Read the full Summer Series Here:
Part 1: Digitization in Behavioral Research
Part 2: Importance of Digitization and BeSci in Omnichannel Pack Screening
Part 3: Digitization and Behavior in the Holistic Path-to-Purchase
The Close of the Summer Series: Combining Digitization & Behavioral Science to Harvest Business Outcomes
Alex Hunt is the CEO of PRS IN VIVO, a BVA Group company, which provides behaviorally driven consultancy in shopper and product experience. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexHunt84 and Instagram @AlexHunt71214.