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The grocery shopping experience has pretty much always been the same. Traditionally, customers would make lists ahead of time, go pick out their items, and purchase them at the front of the store. Because of this, the marketing strategies of CPG brands have stayed the same as well, with little variance.

 

However, with the forced changes on the grocery industry from the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation is helping the industry grow into a digital era not only online but in-stores as well. Those who do not know how to keep up with this shift will be less appealing to the evolutionary consumer-base.

 

What is happening?

Grocery stores are investing in the experience of the new omnichannel shopper, bringing digital to the aisles and back again.

 

Many stores have already implemented self-checkouts as an alternate, quicker choice when picking up a few items.

 

Kiosks that help customers find a product in the store and more information on that product have started popping up and will continue to bring new experiences to shoppers.

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Grocery chains like Loblaws and Sobeys have set up branded apps to create an easy transition between the brick-and-mortar and online shopping experiences and they continue to grow in popularity. Loblaws saw a 160% ecommerce growth in 2020 and is continuing to invest that gain back into its digital offerings. Sobeys has launched Voila in several cities across Canada to offer pick-up and delivery options for their customers, and Voila will have a separate warehouse for the items to regulate availability.

 

The grocery industry is striving to innovate quickly to meet the demand that customers are now anticipating. An industry typically stagnant in offerings, the pandemic forced quick integration of digital ecommerce and as brick-and-mortar stores begin to reopen, creating paralleled innovation in stores is a top priority for the CPG industry.

 

What does this mean for advertising?

 

This innovation online and in-stores means that brands in this space will need to get in front of these changes and create experiences that delight their customers in these new spaces.

 

Understanding the shift to digital and how your advertisements might work in a truly omnichannel strategy will place brands ahead of the game. From advertisements on social media to a kiosk in the grocery store's aisle, from a QR attached to a product to the branded apps you have on your phone, brands will have multiple opportunities to engage with their customers from digital to in-store and back again.

 

Brands that fall behind in understanding their shifting consumers will lack the agility to delight them and inevitably lose that demographic to those that innovate.

 

Know where your audience is, where they are going to be in the next year and what the options are for reaching them. These have gotten trickier in the last year as grocery begins to innovate on all fronts and make data such an important piece of the puzzle for CPG brands.

 

Being able to track the habits of the rising omnichannel shopper from a grocery store kiosk to what brands they follow on social media will be instrumental in understanding how to get in front of this audience.

 

It is no longer an industry that is standing still but one that is rapidly changing. If you do not shift your strategies to fit this shifting audience, you dramatically lower your chances of keeping their attention.