The traditional shopping funnel is dead. The funnel no longer ends with purchase, but requires more customer engagement since competition is so high. As presented in the whitepaper from Nielsen, Digital Shopping: What You Need to Consider, success in the CPG world requires a deep understanding of the shopper, their category needs, and the touch points that influence their behavior within the constantly “on” digital environment we live in today. As CPG brands and retailers take a deeper look at the lifecycle purchase process to create brand loyalists and advocates, they are relying on the rising role of Customer Experience Management (CEM) to lead the way.
This illustrated sales loop shows the different touch points where consumers are likely to interact with traditional and digital influences before and after they have made a purchase.
CPG marketers face a growing set of challenges as consumers have become savvier, often cherry-picking products from different grocery stores, big box stores, and pharmacies to save money; as well as taking stock of the things that are conveniently and inexpensively bought online like diapers, razors, and paper goods can be set up for subscription delivery.
However, marketers can take advantage of this shift in shopper behavior to turn these challenges into opportunities. The biggest asset to marketers today is the ubiquity of the mobile phone. Using mobile search, mobile ads, application push notifications, SMS/MMS alerts, or mobile-enabled direct mail pieces are all ways to insert your product message into the digital shopping loop. With so much information literally at consumers’ fingertips, the barriers to considering multiple brands are practically non-existent.
Let’s talk about a few ways that a savyy CPG brand can turn this to their advantage.
Make sure your website is mobile optimized to support your print, in-store, and digital advertising – include photos, inventory information, product reviews, and a wish list option to make shopping easier for consumers. If a shopper is looking for a product on her mobile phone, she likely has an immediate need for it. The key here is information and convenience. Help her easily find a nearby store where she can buy your product, or offer a mobile checkout on your site. Most shoppers will quickly move on if they don’t find what they’re looking for easily, and that results in a lost opportunity to acquire a new customer or possibly the loss of a usually loyal customer.
Another digital twist on the traditional successful product sample program is to create a Text-to-Sample program. As noted in the Nielsen report, many shoppers want to make sure they like the product, be it a lotion or shampoo, before they purchase. Initiated through the mobile channel, a Text-to-Sample program gives shoppers a tactile or sensory experience. A mobile website is typically used to capture the address of where to send the sample, and this is a great opportunity to earn opt-ins from interested shoppers, as customers are more likely to give their information when getting something in return. This program can be leveraged in your stores or your advertisements and is more cost effective than sending samples en masse via direct mail, FSIs, or magazines that simply target a general demographic or zip code.
Easy access to coupons and incentives can be a big differentiator when consumers are considering a variety of similar products. Use mobile coupons – delivered via SMS, QR code, or mobile website – to give shoppers another reason to choose your products over your competitors’ products when they are going from store to store, cherry-picking products to take advantage of the best deal.
Check back for Part 2 of Dont’ Mourn the Death of the Sales Funnel which will focus on rewarding and retaining CPG customers. In the meantime, to learn more about engaging with customers throughout the continuous sales loop, download our report Fully Charged: Delivering the Mobile Advantage Throughout the Customer Lifecycle.