New Blis and WBR Insights report: ‘Emerging omnichannel marketing strategies in the CPG industry’

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In collaboration with research company WBR, Blis is excited to release a report on its newest retail research as in-person shopping climbs back to pre-COVID numbers. The report, ‘Emerging omnichannel marketing strategies in the CPG industry’ is based on a survey conducted in May 2021 which featured 100 North American retail leaders in the CPG sector across big box, retail pharmacy and grocery stores. The report, released on June 29, gives insights into changing consumer shopping behaviors and how retailers may shift their strategies as we head into the third quarter of the year. 

As the pandemic nears its end, it’s no surprise that in-store shopping is on the rise. In fact, 36% of survey respondents said they plan to move budgets to in-store activity, followed by ecommerce (31%) and brand awareness (25%). However, while the return to brick-and-mortar retailers is hopeful for those in the CPG sector, it by no means implies that shoppers want the same pre-COVID experience. 

Omnichannel shopping is the new norm

After over a year online, consumers now expect an omnichannel experience when shopping, and retailers need to be ready to accommodate these desires. Similarly, marketing strategies will need to highlight and capitalize on these new omnichannel shopping habits. 

One of the most common forms of omnichannel shopping is the Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS) model. While 43% of respondents say there will be more demand for any omnichannel shopping experience, 44% believe there will be more demand for BOPIS specifically. These insights show the importance of promoting omnichannel shopping for a new generation of “channel agnostic” customers – those whose shopping experiences will be defined by convenience rather than habit. 

Over half of the retailers surveyed (52%) believe their customers will prioritize value over brands in the coming months. This loyalty to price over label is similar to consumer behavior over the course of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, 57% of respondents said shoppers were more focused on prices during COVID-19 and 59% experienced a drop in brand loyalty. However, a separate study conducted by Blis found that store loyalty actually increased during the same period as shoppers relied on convenience and stores within close proximity. 

What to expect in the next year

Looking ahead, the most popular strategy retailers will adopt to bridge online and in-store shopping experiences will be creating dedicated spaces for pickup and home delivery, which 54% of respondents cited as a strategy they will undertake. This plan was followed by leveraging stores as edge warehouses for home delivery (48%) and location-based mobile promotions, discounts and advertising (41%).

With consumers ready to return to retailers in person along with a newfound adoption of omnichannel shopping experiences, there’s never been a better time to be in the CPG sector. The changes consumers have undergone during COVID-19 will have long-term effects on both the experience retailers provide and how they market these new experiences to their customers. To learn more about how consumer behavior and retailer strategy will shift in the coming months, download the full report here.

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