The shopper journey is more complex than ever.
We used to be creatures of habit, food shopping weekly from a repertoire of favourite brands in our local big supermarket. A good television advert, a clever on pack promotion and a great instore display were all that was required for FMCG brand success.
Now the shopper is more informed and more promiscuous than ever. Shopping all hours across multiple brands, multiple stores, and online to get the very best deals for the family. According to Mintel, almost half of Brits are doing some of their grocery shopping online now, whilst one in ten buy all their food and drink without ever stepping foot in a supermarket.
At the heart of that change in behaviour is technology, and in particular the smartphone. The smartphone is the device of choice now for grocery shoppers, with many spending in excess of 3 hours a day surfing, shopping, socialising and watching video just on their mobile. The latest OFCOM media use and attitudes study highlights that mobiles are now the most-missed device amongst all adults, rated higher than their television set for the very first time.
Pre-shop we are using smartphones to check social media reviews whilst simultaneously using home-scanning apps to create comprehensive shopping lists. Interactive grocery magazine adverts entice us to blip for deeper content, product and nutritional information. Tasty recipes feature add to basket functionality to pre-populate your next Click and Collect shop with everything you might need for culinary excellence.
At the supermarket, our mobiles are alerted by NFC beacons to receive geo-targeted offers or details of instore promotions and product sampling events. In category, we are using companion apps to compare prices at the display fixture, often choosing to defer or switch if it is cheaper elsewhere that day. Branded packaging and point of sale barkers now come alive, triggering amazing augmented reality experiences when scanned to drive engagement and dwell time.
Even the humble supermarket till receipt is now enabled by the smartphone to become the key to instant cashback and loyalty schemes. Simply snap a till receipt with your smartphone and upload for instant purchase verification and reward. No longer do we need clumsy unique numbers printed in pack to prove brand purchase.
And on the immediate horizon is virtual reality. Where the internet changed how we communicate information, so virtual reality has the potential to change how we communicate experiences. Simple VR headsets using just cardboard engineering and your smartphone are already on the market unlocking a whole world of possibilities for shopper marketing, from a more immersive online supermarket shop to step by step menu advice whilst in the kitchen.
In a blended world of real and digital, it is mobile that presents the most exciting opportunities to disrupt shoppers and differentiate. But just because you can do something, should you? The tactics you consider will come from a deeper understanding of the barriers to purchase. Will it enrich the shopper experience? Does it drive convenience and add value?
If the answer is yes, then maybe disruptive mobile marketing should be on your next shopping list.