Connected Commerce: Planning for Success with Omnichannel Shoppers
As shoppers fast-tracked adoption of online grocery early in the pandemic and have since continued to alter where and how they shop, the need to provide them with seamlessly integrated brand experiences has become increasingly important. In a Path to Purchase Now session in August, titled “Connected Commerce: Planning for Success with Omnichannel Shoppers,” panelists discussed how connected commerce can drive results.
The changes in consumer behavior have brought about great opportunities for brands and retailers, said Kandi Arrington, senior vice president of customer development at The Mars Agency and moderator of the webinar. “Shoppers who are making purchases online and in-store spend more, but an important note is that they shop more with brands and retailers that offer consistent customer services online and offline in the store environment,” she said.
As everyone is also rushing to determine the most effective delivery methods to give customers what they want, it’s important to focus on efficiency, demand, seamless experiences and measurement, Arrington noted. “Retailers can’t do this alone,” she added. “They need supplier partners to help lead the thinking, and as much as retailers are pushing for omnichannel, seamless experiences, they don’t have it all figured out. The opportunity is there to lean in and deliver omnichannel-led plans instead of just a media plan that is centered around the shopper and providing what they want, when they want it and where they want it.”
Arrington posed several questions to companies: How are you looking at your categories and driving recommendations? How are you proactively managing JBPs, improving your digital shelf and really coming forward with data-driven strategies? Do you have strong insights? Are your hands-on key partners in-house or externally tapped into your strategy, and really being consistent and connected with the experience that you’re trying to create for the shopper?
“The old model isn’t really relevant anymore,” she stressed. “Companies won’t succeed with a top-down, linear, non-sequential approach.” The purchase or the click can happen at any point and the new model that is forming is shopper-centric, she emphasized. “In today’s environment, being fluid and having the right message in the right medium, creating a precise and targeted plan for that shopper experience is critical to success.”
There needs to be movement away from thinking about the store in a silo and toward a holistic seamless approach of thinking about the shelf in total, both in-store and online, with media that drives a consistent experience for the shopper and retailtainment that lives not only in the store in a demo, but also in the digital space.
But that may be easier said than done, Arrington noted. Retailers are still struggling to connect their teams internally, so it’s very important that suppliers, brand and marketing teams work to break down those silos and look for partners who can help supplement a one-team, one-plan approach internally and externally. “Shoppers are noticing when there are disconnects in experience and when it happens, you don’t get that incremental spend from omnichannel, you get abandoned carts and we lose trust and loyalty,” she said.
Additional highlights from the webinar include:
• Panelists Raquel Crocker, director of sales for the beauty team at Henkel, and Meghan Heltne, Target team lead at The Mars Agency on the Henkel Target business, led session attendees through a recent program at Target for Henkel’s Color Boost line.
• Liv Till, shopper marketing for Walmart and Sam’s Club at Mars Wrigley, and Taylor Lewis, customer development director at The Mars Agency, led listeners through the recent Skittles Gummies launch at Walmart.
• Alicia Wieburg, senior omni marketing manager at Mars Petcare, spoke about the “Extend a Paw & Help Hungry Pets” program at Walmart that recently concluded.
P2PI Member Exclusive: Learn how the “Extend a Paw” program elevated the pet category at Walmart at P2PI.org.