Highlighting insights from Groceryshop to guide the industry
In mid-September, more than 3,000 people from the grocery business — everyone from C-suite leaders to media analysts — touched down in Las Vegas to learn about the latest industry trends. The second annual Groceryshop conference featured stage presentations, panel discussions, an exhibit hall and podcasts. Attendees also enjoyed the chance to socialize, sample plant-based burgers, and sip champagne poured by Cirque de Soleil-esque performers hanging from the ceiling. Among the insights shared were the following:
1. Brands are taking a stand. Today, more people — and especially younger generations — expect brands to be socially conscious and culturally relevant. People want brands to be transparent about their values. A RetailMeNot survey reported that two-thirds of Internet users age 18 years old and older said more brands should take a public stand on important social values.
It’s no surprise that digitally native brands are aligned with this trend, but touchstone companies are leading the industry with creative campaigns that address social and environmental issues. Procter & Gamble’s “What it means to be a man” campaign responded to the #metoo movement by taking a stand against toxic masculinity, and its “Loads of Hope” initiative helped wash 68,000 loads of laundry for people impacted by natural disasters.
2. Partnerships keep driving growth
There is a steady stream of multi-retailer partnerships — like the collaboration between Kroger and Walgreens or Instacart’s growing partnership across many retailers. These work because they allow each brand to do what they do best, while driving growth and building equity for both brands. In the next evolution of these partnerships, we’ll likely see more retailers and brands sharing insights.
3. Retailers are leaning into private label Private-label products are a major priority for such retailers as Target, which announced that it will be launching 2,000 private-label SKUs across every food category by the end of 2020. And this focus on private-label products is only expected to increase if we enter a recession. In a Facebook IQ and Boston Consulting Group study, customers identified lack of brand awareness, irrelevant ads/offers, and unclear value propositions as top friction points at the discovery phase. This means that CPG brands need to employ differentiated go-to market strategies to not only distinguish themselves at shelf, but before customers enter the store.
4. Personalization is paramount
One of the most frequently used terms at this year’s conference was “customer centric.” Many brands and retailers are shifting their strategies toward a customer-driven model, allowing customers to dictate what they need, and then building products that meet those needs.
Conventional food has been transformed in response to people’s desire for simple food that is clearly sourced. This focus on shoppers’ unique desires also has led to an abundance of variety in the market. For example, Seth Goldman, executive chair at Beyond Meat, shared that more than 50% of the milk options on the shelf are nondairy, giving customers more variety to choose the option that works best for them.
5. Insights and measurement are essential. Historically, shopper marketing efforts have lacked substantial measurement, leaving brands to gauge a program’s value based on the number of impressions it earns. Yet, as more brands have realized that impressions are not a reliable indicator of success, they’ve begun seeking metrics that get them closer to understanding the true impact of shopper marketing on store traffic and sales. This explains why brands are leaning into loyalty programs, which are incredibly valuable because of the insights they offer.
As I look towards the future, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. These trends provide possibility — the possibility to reduce friction across all facets of business and drive growth.
Martin Gilliard is head of industry, retail superstores and groceries at Facebook.