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South West Rocks Country Club

What FMCG learned from COVID-19

June 3, 2020
By Alana House

As FMCG enters its recovery phase from COVID-19, Shopper Intelligence – a Corporate Partner of the Drinks Association – has given insights to Member subscribers on the “new normal” for retail.

The annual Shopper Intelligence Workgroup was held on Wednesday, May 20, with the Shopper Intelligence team sharing observations gleaned from grocery during the initial COVID-19 lockdown period, followed by an update on Shopper Intelligence relationships with retailers.

A highlight summary of the recent Shopper Intelligence research was provided covering key shifts and what that means for channel, followed by a discussion on 2020/2021 program development.

Shopper Intelligence is currently conducting one-to-one meetings with all member subscribers to review insights and research results.

Among the key insights and actions are an increased consumer focus on planning buying decisions before going in-store.

“Focus on marketing pre-store to consumers to get on their list,” Shopper Intelligence Managing Director Simon Ford said. “At shelf, keep it simple to enable shoppers to find what they want quickly.”

Shopper Intelligence also found catalogues were a crucial tool for reaching shoppers, with physical catalogues returning to normal distribution and online advertising triggering more planned purchases.

“Digital and physical catalogues are both impactful mediums,” said Ford. “However, consider heavier weight on online platforms as shoppers increasingly migrate to technology.”

Price importance continues to be top of mind with cautious shoppers, both in the everyday low prices and special offers space.

“Focus on value,” Ford advised. “Understand the right mix of everyday low price and special offers by segment and brand in your category post-COVID-19.”

Grocery insights from COVID-19 nationally

COVID-19 “shock” in the early stages of the pandemic demonstrated how shoppers think in a crisis, with increased out-of-stock anxiety, higher frequency of small basket shopping, high impulse-buying behaviour and dissatisfaction with shelf simplicity, layout and signage.

As supply chain issues improved, out-of-stock anxiety subsided and shoppers moved to less frequent, larger shops. These visits were highly planned to avoid the need to leave home unnecessarily, with a focus on price and value.

Willingness to try private label brands increased, with catalogue and online advertising triggering purchase.

Moving forward, Ford said many questions remain about whether the “new normal” be different again.

“Is this the opportunity for retailers to increase private label share in liquor,” he asked.

“Will we see continued value focus or an opportunity for premiumisation to regain lost ground?

“Are the shifts to online shopping and planning permanent?”

Shopper Intelligence will continue to give weekly pulse updates on the market as it evolves during recovery from COVID-19.

Shopper Intelligence is a Corporate Partner of the Drinks Association.

Pictured main: South West Rocks Country Club bottle shop.