With Amazon’s acquisition of whole foods, the real question marketers should be asking is, “how can we address the imminent gap left by the loss of shelf-level marketing?” The incredible success of Ocado (the UK’s go-to online grocery store) and Amazon GO are a testament to how consumers no longer feel the need to choose their own food in physical stores. In the next five years, this shift to buying groceries online will become as commonplace in North America as it is across the pond. Canada and the US are going to lose more and more grocery retailers––small and large––who simply can’t compete with the power of this direct-to-consumer e-tail model.
As products start to travel directly from the manufacturer to household, what tools can be used to directly interact with consumers at the product level? Marketers will quite literally have to think outside of the box, and innovate and offer consumers exciting new ways to engage with products at home. This will need to be the IOT at its best––take, for example, a coffee maker that not only tells its owner that he needs more capsules but reminds him to snap a product picture to instantly access the latest promotions or see new flavours. Or, what if, using the same technology, we could let consumers see a fresh product in 3D but from the comfort of their own kitchen?
Marketing Activations will have to be enticing enough to inspire consumers to engage––no longer will there be the benefit of a captive audience pushing a cart up and down the aisles, susceptible to whatever campaign happens to catch his or her eye first. New social strategies will need to be deployed that leverage, say, the age-old desire to share recipes. Or offer more comprehensive ways to see nutritional stats that are tailored to the individual consumer. Having the ability to offer personalized information on the fly is going to be paramount to every brand’s future success; one-to-one, loyalty incentive programs that deliver custom rewards for individual consumers are going to be the new standard.