Long-term shopping habits have changed, and that includes how people buy their groceries. In order to connect with consumers in a digital-driven world, foodservice brands need to rethink the way they think about the entire customer journey.
Since the start of the pandemic, the grocery landscape has changed dramatically. Today’s food shoppers are now motivated to shop in new ways: shop responsibly, locally and with greater efficiency. This shift in consumer behavior is pushing established grocery names to innovate, while ushering in an influx of food delivery technologies and services.
More and more, consumers are finding meal ideas on Facebook. “When kitchen fatigue sets in, even the most adventurous home chef needs culinary inspiration,” says Katy Clark, Facebook’s UK Grocery Manager. “And, as the world’s biggest discovery engine, people come to Facebook and Instagram to discover new products, recipes and food options.”
The grocery store evolved rapidly. Today’s food shoppers are inspired by new ways and they buy their products through different channels. But the basics of marketing haven’t changed. Amid disruption and digital acceleration, grocery remains a foundational category, combining technological advancements with service to the community.
At the recent EMEA Future Proofing Food Services Facebook event, we explored how new trends have impacted consumer behavior, how grocery brands could inspire customers and maximize the current opportunity focusing on 3 pillars keys: community, ease and joy.
The last 18 months have brought about a sea change in the way we plan, receive and consume our meals. At the start of the pandemic, necessity dictated consumer behavior: queuing at supermarkets or trying to secure home delivery slots. During lockdown, nostalgia-driven home cooking and elaborate cooking experiences gave way to kitchen fatigue.
Throughout the disruption, the grocery industry has acted as an anchor in our communities. “The community has been at the forefront of everything that has happened over the last 18 months,” says Nick Ashley, head of media and campaign planning at Tesco. “We felt that we had to act as a public service. Our message was in tune with the sentiment of the nation.
As part of essential retail, supermarkets have become a lifeline for communities, including their increased support for the most vulnerable through food bank donations. It helped shine a light on what we buy in, not just where we buy. And, increasingly, shoppers are choosing brands based on their opinions and values. According to KPMG, 9 out of 10 consumers are willing to pay more for an ethical retailer or brand that gives back to society.
Therefore, consumer representation in advertising and brand decision-making has arguably never been more crucial. “It’s important to feel like something is relevant to you – it has a huge impact on how you react to a brand,” says Hannah Walley of consultancy Kantar.
Disrupted shopping habits mean that the way we buy our meals has changed. Today, consumers can mix and match distribution channels, powered by a combination of supermarkets, takeaways and on-demand home delivery services.
At the same time, digital acceleration and expanding competition are reinventing convenience. Now it can happen in minutes. “When you want or crave something, the fact that we can deliver it to you in about 10 minutes is very, very valuable,” says Turancan Salur, UK managing director of the on-demand grocery delivery startup. Getir. “We focus on convenience of service; it is more valuable than the product.
Disruptors and established brands are expanding into innovative areas where they can generate on-demand opportunities. In fact, according to Retail Weekly, global fast trade is expected to be valued at £160 billion by 2025. This shows that convenience remains at the heart of where and how people choose to shop. In a study of 5,000 shoppers in the EMEA region, convenience or proximity to home was the top factor leading someone to choose one supermarket over another.
From the warm smell of freshly baked bread to the satisfying crunch of biting into an apple, our relationship with food is emotional. During the lockdown, during a time of stress and anxiety, food brought us joy: nearly half (48%) of the most popular brands in 2020 were food and drink.
Stimulating this emotion helps generate sales: more than twice as many food and beverage purchases are spontaneous (68%) than planned (32%). Emotion is at the heart of what Getir and other food retailers offer. “Spontaneity and joy are a big part of our marketing,” says Salur. ” Do you want an ice cream ? Well you can get an ice cream now. This spontaneity is very powerful and brings value to consumers.
Digital is now the primary way grocers around the world discover brands and products, with 71% doing so online. And it is discovery that fuels the spontaneity of purchases, from “one-way” shopping to “always” shopping; from an intent-based shopping experience to a discovery mindset. And Facebook’s platforms can be optimized for spontaneous behavior: brands can remove friction, use shoppable formats, and be viewed and purchased in five clicks or less.
Rearrange the store around you
From how people discover products to how they buy them, there is no silver bullet for grocery brands. For example, Ashley explains that a cohort of customers started shopping again at one store, all in one place. This is a feeling shared by Salur: “The same consumer uses different channels to shop. It’s not exclusive, people want options.
According to research from Kantar and the University of Oxford, there is no single campaign structure that leads to dominant performance on brand results. On the contrary, a varied media mix – containing multiple touchpoints – best helps in brand building. “Most of the brands we see could be more successful if they played with media channels, tested and learned, and made sure they weren’t overly reliant on one or two channels,” Walley says.
Facebook advertising solutions can also be reused. For example, discount supermarket chain Lidl used Facebook Instant Experience to digitize printed flyers, resulting in a 10x increase in return on ad spend and a 2.3% increase in overall revenue in retail stores. trial in Ireland. Dynamic ads could be used for the healthy food market, adding nutritional information or service suggestions. Branded content means grocery stores can partner with a creator, leverage their community and trusted voice to authentically show off the brand during home cooking sessions.
It is by protecting the future through community, ease and joy that grocery brands can maximize opportunities for growth and win new audiences. “Rearranging the store around you is about being there for the consumer,” says Zehra Chatoo, strategic planning partner at Facebook. “It stimulates that sense of community, eliminates friction, and then injects creativity and emotion for spontaneous purchases.”