1. Trends & External Forces

QuickWit Weekly 6.1 -The Shopping Experience in a post lockdown world

Courtesy of Tom Fishburne, because he always has that perfect cartoon for any topic

We here at RetailWit would like to start today reflecting on the real reason we just had a three day weekend, and that is to honor and memorialize all those who have fought and lost their lives to protect our freedom and way of life. We remember all of those who paid the ultimate price and those families who have lost loved ones fighting for our country. Thank you to all who have served and are currently serving, you are the true heroes of this great nation. 

With June starting today and summer officially kicking off, many states across the country are continuing the “grand re-opening”. We are seeing the end of mask mandates, and capacity restrictions at restaurants, bars and sporting events. There is no doubt that the past year has impacted our lives forever, but what habits have we created that will stick? 

After we spent 12+ months doing everything we could to avoid physically going into stores, we all got a lot more efficient and comfortable with shopping on our phones and having everything delivered right to our front door. And we found new ways to engage for things we never thought to handle remotely like Doctor visits and attending religious services. 

So, which habits are here to stay?

Nina Taniguchi at Google has some solid insights as to what parts of the consumer journey are likely to stick; “The pandemic has reinforced what brands and retailers should continue to focus on: enabling people to shop when they want, how they want, and where they want, all the while providing a pleasant and frictionless experience.”  Read the full article here.

And what industries are going to benefit the most?

McKinsey released a survey recently highlighting an uptick coming in discretionary spend, with “more than 50 percent of US consumers expect to spend extra by splurging or treating themselves, with higher-income millennials intending to spend the most.” Other trends that spiked last year are looking to continue as “Consumers have made substantial investments in their home life which they want to continue, even after the pandemic subsides” Read the full report here. 

What should we focus on? 

Angelica Valentine summed it up succinctly in a recent article (read here), highlighting the 3 behaviors that are here to stay:

    1. Online channels will remain popular across generations
    2. Consumers need a unified shopping experience across online and offline channels
    3. Subscription models will continue to gain traction

So, what does this mean?

The real answer is, nobody knows. But a couple of key points stick with us when we think about the path forward.

The increased adoption of technology over the past year means that we aren’t just going to walk away from these new habits and conveniences. And it’s not just about the younger generations, as shoppers of all ages have had to modify their routines.

Which means the true shopping experience will continue to be a blend of in-store and online options. And the retailers that can best provide a seamless experience between the two will benefit the most.

Finally, it can’t be all digital. So much effort, focus and spend went online over the past year, and for good reason. However, the in-store experience cannot be ignored as the physical shopping experience is still the most important step in the path to purchase. Companies need to ensure the mix of in-store and digital spend is a bit more balanced going forward.

That is what we were talking about this morning at RetailWit HQ, would love any comments and reactions to what you are seeing in shopping trends.

And, as always here are the big topics from the last week:

Wakefern taps dunnhumby to sharpen merchandising. We have already seen dunnhumby partner with Meijer and now Wakefern, and the rumor mill continues as to what retailer could be next. Whoever it is, we expect dunnhumby to continue to be a force to reckon – they have too much expertise to expect anything less.

5 Reasons Why Brand Partnerships Are the Future of Retail: Great op-ed. Brand partnerships allow brands to experiment and test, without damaging their brand. The right overlap creates added value for brand A, brand B, and the shopper.

CMO Tenure Keeps Dropping, At Lowest Point Since 2009: CMO Tenure Keeps Dropping, According to MarketingCharts.com it is at it’s lowest Point Since 2009, with the pace of change happening, are we seeing a reckoning in the C-Suite? We believe so and the CMO role is taking the brunt of it.

Survey: Organic Sales Up 12.4 Percent, To $61.9 BillionOrganic Sales up $12.4%, more than doubling previous year’s growth rate. It won’t continue, but led by charge for fresh, organic produce. Pantry stocking was the main growth driver in 2020 (bread-making, cooking baking,). Normally stocked items were OoS.

Instacart plans to expand globallyInstacart made hiring changes in plans to go global, prepping for an IPO. It’s unplanned on where the expansion will happen, or how it will be done. Either peacock or subterfuge. Time will tell.

These are the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50 companiesCNBC releases the ninth annual Disruptor 50 list, private companies leading out of the pandemic with business models and growth rates aligned with a rapid pace of technological change.

What We Value Most Shouldn’t Cost More — Our Latest Marketing Campaign Shows How Target Helps Us All Reach A Little HigherTarget’s new brand campaign. In a word? Forgettable. The idea is great (look for the good). The execution, tagline, and everything else? Not so great. Their CMO alludes to this, “… The most exciting part is that we’ll expand our impact over time by continuing to roll out fresh new creative”

Unilever eyes plant-based product development with Enough partnership. Unilever is aiming to develop more plant-based protein products. Enough buzzwords, Unilever? But seriously, the right (and anticipated) move here. Unilever looks to get $1.2BN in sales from plant-based meats and dairy alts by 2025-27.

How to Build a CX Business Case for Your CFO. If you CX isn’t core to your business proposition, you’re behind the times… But hey, if you need to – here’s the right article to be reading. It must enable the business strategy to be effective.

And of course, Amazon made the headlines (but not for all good reasons):

Amazon’s ad revenue is now twice as big as Snap, Twitter, Roku and Pinterest combined – Amazon generated $22.4 billion in ad revenue in the past 12 months, up 65% year over year, according to Loop. That was 2.4 times the $9.3 billion combined revenue total of middle-cap ad platforms Snap, Twitter, Roku and Pinterest, which grew by 38% over that same time frame.

Why Amazon Isn’t A Food Business Threat. Yet. Amazon has a long way to go in catching up to grocery leaders market share (Walmart: 22%, Kroger: 12%, Amazon and Whole Foods? 2.6%). They could pull scale and use higher operating margins to potentially undercut Walmart and Kroger.

Amazon Sued by D.C. Attorney General for Anticompetitive PracticesThis is a pattern happening across the tech giants, but marks the first time an antitrust lawsuit has come from the US. This lawsuit focuses on their third-party marketplace. Amazon’s stock still went up while the S&P is down.


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