Believe the hype. FMCG eCommerce is exploding. Right. Now.
But, understanding “right now” isn’t enough anymore, is it? We need to see what’s next. I’m lucky enough to work closely with scientists of all stripes (Nielsen data scientists, measurement scientists, psychologists), who are devoted to getting the industry the right data that will get them there.
So, what’s around the corner in this new world?
One big thing will be reshaping consumers’ actual online experience around their online behavior. Eighty percent of FMCG online shoppers are looking for a re-design of the digital shopping environment to accommodate their desire for convenience, and 74% cite an overall good experience as a must.
What’s also important to keep in mind as the online and in-store worlds continue to blend is that there are some fundamental differences between in-store and online shoppers’ needs and behaviors.
For example, in-store shoppers tend to check out a variety of goods and shopped an average of 3.2 in-store departments per trip in 2016. E-consumers, however, pretty much know exactly what they want to buy before they even get online. They’re interested in getting in, getting out and getting on with their lives, shopping in only 1.6 departments per online store visit in the same year.
In-store shoppers are also slightly more brand loyal than their online counterparts (70% vs. 65%, respectively, in 2016), who are more committed to convenience and experience than they are to specific brands. The upside here is that consumers shop more by category online, presenting a big opportunity for brands and retailers to win share. Finding an unmet consumer need or a solution to a common consumer struggle (like paying too much for razors) will be more important—and more profitable—than ever.
But the real promise in digital retail is the chance to go “beyond the shelf” to build brand loyalty with consumers. It’s the first time that brands and retailers can fulfill consumers’ needs for convenience and an overall good experience along the entire path to purchase by including clear, helpful product information, ensuring there’s a place for customer reviews by product, easy checkout, simple returns, and quick responses to consumer feedback. Getting the experience right and building those relationships with consumers now will be vital to securing subscriptions and automatic fulfillment, which will very soon become the norm.