on 30 Jul 2020 1:09 PM

The other day a friend of mine told me about her shopping at a local grocer. It was not the "transformational experience" some retailers like to boast, but a stressful journey. Whilst many brands are rushing on the online bandwagon, many FMCG will continue to rely on physical retail. Read here a simple testimonial and some tips to make sure your brand wins the heart and purses of your shoppers in these peculiar times.

"The supermarket outing has become an undertaking with a risk, for myself and my family, something I’d rather not do at all. I therefore try to choose the best time to avoid long queuing. I prepare a precise list to minimise my time in the shop. For my own health sake and because others are waiting. Anyway, one is discouraged from spending time in the shop and only allowed to enter unaccompanied.

"As I get inside, the stress level raises. Am I far enough away from other? Is everybody else keeping their distance? Is the product I came for there? An out of stock would mean having to spend more time and risk to find this product in another shop. I have no time or will for browsing, product or price comparison. I am too concentrated not to touch my face protection that is slipping down my nose.

"The tomatoes in tins are not where they usually are – what can I take instead? Quick, Tomato purée ! Oh but there is a tin, green and blue, the usual red I know. Wait these ARE tomatoes in tins! Why did the product change right now? I am confused enough as it is. On the other hand, when I see that the price is the same as it was before, I am relieved. Here no surprises of special deals to ponder about. At least they are not taking advantage of the situation!

So in my friend's words "While all rules have changed in these past weeks, one needs things that remain the same: no design change (not more disruption!), no price changes (don’t abuse of me now!), no out of stock (please reassure me!).

The current situation is boosting two key trends : the need for reassurance and the need for indulgence. At the risk of simplifying, we can infer that everyday shopping often is about the "basics" and therefore falls into a wider need of "reassurance" given the stress of external factors. For indulgence shopping, where more time and exploration is required, Online channels are a very strong alternative in current times (and also to stock basics).

If physical distribution in grocers and retailers is important for your brand in the context of everyday shopping / stocking, consider the following to help sell-out :

  • Keep your Retail Suggested Price unchanged. Show continuity, no surprises, no re-positoning, no price or consumer promotion that would trigger additional shopper efforts to assess offer;
  • Keep your pack unchanged. Or if you need to change the packaging, improve stand out and recognition to facilitate choice;
  • Ensuring visibility in the point of sales. We know shoppers spend few seconds when looking for a product. So, work with your retailer to make sure your brand is easy to find in the shelves.

Consumer and Shopper behaviour experts will tell you that we chose by comparison and recognition patterns. In times where the shopping attention span is disturbed by stress, brands should help consumer's choice in physical retail points. This too, is another way to build value and proximity with your audience. Brand Reveal helps brans to show their very best. This includes how brands behave with shoppers.