Staying Ahead of the Curve: Emerging Shopper Marketing Trends for 2024 Every Retail and Grocery Executive Should Know.
As the retail and grocery sectors continue their upward trajectory, keeping ahead of shopper marketing trends is imperative for building brand affinity, driving robust sales, and attracting more families to your stores—complete with larger shopping baskets. Our research delves into consumer shopping habits set to shape the year 2024, spotlighting shifts that hold the power to reshape not only individual consumer experiences but also the broader retail and grocery landscapes. Giants like Albertsons, Target, Amazon, Costco, and Kroger are already well-acquainted with the need for proactive evolution in a crowded marketplace.
For grocery and retail leaders poised to steer their brands through the dynamic retail terrain awaiting in 2024, it’s vital to keep an eye on data-driven forecasts and a finger on the pulse of emerging consumer behaviors. Our data team, alongside our market research partners, provides insights on what’s changing in shoppers’ habits for the upcoming year. Gain the insights essential for not just navigating but pioneering the unfolding retail landscape.
Discover how buyer behavior is changing with the top emerging retail trends to follow in 2024:
Online Grocery Evolution:
Forecasts from industry analysts portend a significant digital shift with a 40% increase in online grocery sales anticipated by 2024. This digital proliferation is not a mere phase but a reflection of evolving consumer preferences.
Action: The trajectory is clear – the digital domain is where the future of grocery retail lies. It’s imperative to significantly enhance online platforms to cater to this inexorable shift. This involves not only refining user-friendly app interfaces but also integrating real-time inventory tracking systems. Implementing frictionless checkout systems is another measure to not merely keep pace with, but to redefine the customer experience, making it as seamless as possible.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR):
With projections indicating that the AR and VR retail sector will burgeon to a remarkable $1.6 billion by 2025, the implications for the retail industry are profound.
Action: Dismissing VR and AR as mere buzzwords is a myopic stance. These technologies are game changers, poised to transform digital shopping from a purely transactional affair to an immersive, interactive experience. For retailers, this is an opportunity to elevate the customer journey, providing engaging and personalized shopping experiences. By adopting VR and AR, businesses can create virtual fitting rooms, 3D advertisements, and interactive 3D catalogs, effectively bringing products to life and enabling customers to interact with products before making a purchase decision.
Convenience and Accessibility
The success of curbside pickup isn’t just a transient reaction to the pandemic; it’s an evolving consumer preference. Grocery retailer strategies has been particularly successful, showcasing a 70% customer retention rate.
Action: The objective is clear – refine curbside pickup services to a level of excellence. Implementing designated zones for pickup and a highly intuitive mobile app will streamline the process, significantly enhancing user satisfaction and operational efficiency.
Case Study: Target’s Drive Up Service
Target has impeccably demonstrated the efficiency of a well-organized curbside pickup through its Drive Up service. The service allows customers to place orders via the Target app and have their items brought to their car within two hours. The success of this service is reflected in its expansion, which now covers nearly all Target stores across the nation. The Drive Up service not only provides a convenient shopping alternative but also reflects a strategic response to the growing demand for contactless shopping solutions.
On-Demand Delivery Expansion:
The expansion of on-demand delivery services into new realms like convenience store items is a testament to changing consumer behaviors. DoorDash’s venture into this domain resulted in a notable 60% growth in that category.
Action: The course of action is twofold – either forge collaborations with established on-demand delivery services or invest in building an in-house infrastructure to capitalize on this burgeoning market. Both pathways require a keen understanding of logistics and a solid strategy to meet the demands of a convenience-driven consumer base.
Health and Wellness Focus
The upward trajectory of the organic food market, projected to soar to $75 billion by 2024, is a clear indication of a burgeoning health and wellness trend among consumers.
Action: Tapping into this trend requires a thoughtful expansion of your product range to cater to the health-conscious consumer. Implementing clear labeling and creating dedicated sections both online and in-store for health and wellness products can significantly amplify your reach into this discerning market.
Case Study: Kroger’s Simple Truth Brand
Kroger has astutely responded to the health and wellness trend through its Simple Truth brand, which offers a range of organic and natural products. By clearly labeling these products and creating dedicated sections in-store and online, Kroger has made it convenient for health-conscious consumers to find and purchase products that align with their values. The success of the Simple Truth brand, which reached $3 billion in annual sales, showcases the potential of effectively catering to the health and wellness segment, and sets a precedent for other retail giants eyeing this lucrative market.
The clamor for personalized shopping experiences isn’t waning; a striking 91% of consumers are more inclined towards brands that tailor offers and recommendations to their preferences.
Action: It’s time to deploy machine learning algorithms to supercharge your recommendation engines. By doing so, you ensure customers are presented with products that resonate with their preferences, simplifying their shopping journey and bolstering satisfaction.
Case Study: Target’s Personalized Deals and Recommendations
Target utilizes machine learning and data analytics to provide personalized deals and recommendations to its customers. By analyzing shopping behaviors and past purchases, Target can tailor promotions and suggestions to individual customer preferences, significantly enhancing the user experience. This personalized approach not only facilitates easier shopping journeys but also fosters a stronger connection between the brand and its customers, which is crucial for customer retention.
The appeal of experiential rewards transcends mere transactions, especially resonating with younger demographics who value unique experiences.
Action: It’s about infusing experiential elements into your loyalty programs. Consider offering exclusive events or gamified challenges that not only incentivize purchases but also create memorable interactions and foster a community around your brand.
Case Study: Albertsons’ Technological Innovations
Albertsons collaborated with Google to pioneer a new online ordering technology termed as “predictive grocery list building.” This technology, powered by Google Cloud AI, including Vision AI and Recommendations AI, is devised to automate grocery list creation for customers, promising a more streamlined and personalized shopping experience.
Additionally, through our partnership, both Albertsons and Fetch aimed to enhance the shopping experience by driving more customers to Albertsons’ stores and offering them personalized deals and rewards, which in turn, fosters customer loyalty and increase sales.
Sustainability and Responsibility
The market for sustainable products isn’t just blossoming; it’s booming, with a growth rate that’s 5.6 times faster than their non-sustainable counterparts. This burgeoning trend isn’t arbitrary but is closely linked to the values and purchasing behaviors of the younger demographic, particularly Gen Z, who exhibit a pronounced inclination towards brands that embody environmental responsibility.
Action: In this green-conscious market, sustainability is the new gold. It’s prudent to integrate sustainable practices across the supply chain, from sourcing to distribution. But don’t stop there. Make these eco-friendly initiatives a cornerstone of your marketing strategies to resonate with environmentally-conscious consumers, particularly the Gen Z cohort, who are set to become a significant consumer segment.
Case Study: Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands
While not a retailer like Albertson’s or Target, Unilever sets a compelling precedent in the realm of sustainability. Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands, which prioritize environmental and social responsibility, have outperformed the rest of the portfolio for several consecutive years. These brands, including Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, and Hellmann’s, have witnessed a growth rate that’s 69% faster than the other brands in the portfolio, demonstrating the financial viability and consumer preference for sustainably-produced goods. This case encapsulates the potential rewards awaiting retailers and brands that earnestly pursue sustainability, not just as a buzzword, but as a core business strategy. By mirroring such an approach, retailers can not only meet the rising demand for sustainable products but also forge a stronger bond with the eco-conscious Gen Z audience, thereby ensuring a loyal customer base for the future.
Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Transition
The D2C model is gaining traction in the retail landscape with online D2C sales projected to escalate to nearly 213 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2023. This isn’t a fleeting trend but a paradigm shift driven by brands desiring a closer relationship with their customers.
Action: It’s worth dissecting the merits of transitioning to a D2C model. This shift could usher in enhanced control over branding, valuable customer data, and potentially, a thicker margin of profitability. By selling directly to consumers, you eliminate the middlemen, which could lead to cost savings and more competitive pricing for your customers. Moreover, the D2C model facilitates a direct dialogue with your customer base, enabling better understanding and fulfillment of their needs.
Case Study: Nike’s D2C Acceleration
Nike serves as a prime exemplar of a successful transition to the D2C model. Under its ‘Consumer Direct Acceleration’ strategy, Nike expedited its shift towards D2C, bolstering its digital platform, and enhancing its direct sales channels. This strategic pivot wasn’t merely about sales; it was about creating a more personalized and engaging customer experience. The results are telling: Nike Direct revenue reached $5.5 billion in fiscal Q4 2023. Besides, the direct engagement with consumers fostered a more profound understanding of consumer preferences, which in turn, fueled product innovation and better inventory management. This case underscores the potential advantages of the D2C model, not just in terms of revenue growth, but also in fostering a closer connection with consumers and driving innovation.
Social Media and Review-Driven Acquisitions
The digital landscape is witnessing a shift from influencer-led narratives to brand-centric storytelling. Consumers are seemingly growing weary of influencer endorsements, gravitating instead towards authentic brand narratives that resonate more with their experiences and expectations.
Action: Given this shift, it’s prudent to double down on authentic storytelling. Engage in narratives that spotlight real customers and employees, making them the stars of your brand story rather than outsourcing authenticity to influencers. This approach not only fosters a deeper connection with your audience but also enhances brand trust and loyalty.
Case Study: Lush Cosmetics’ #LushCommunity
Lush Cosmetics, known for its ethical stance and fresh handmade cosmetics, veered away from traditional influencer partnerships. Instead, it embraced a community-centric approach with the #LushCommunity campaign. By showcasing real customers’ experiences and stories on social media, Lush celebrated the authentic interactions individuals have with their products. This strategy not only nurtured a loyal community but also provided genuine, relatable content that resonated well with a broader audience.
Review Cultivation for Retail:
Reviews are a pivotal part of the customer’s decision-making process, with 74% of shoppers being influenced by them. This statistic underscores the influential power of customer feedback in shaping brand perception and driving sales.
Action: A dual-pronged strategy can be employed here. Firstly, incentivize positive reviews by offering loyalty points or discounts to encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences. Secondly, actively engage with all reviews, positive or negative, to demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction. Responding to negative reviews with a solution-oriented approach can also turn a potentially adverse situation into a positive brand interaction, further enhancing brand credibility.
Case Study: Best Buy’s Review Engagement
Best Buy has implemented a robust review engagement strategy. By actively responding to customer reviews and addressing concerns, Best Buy demonstrates its commitment to customer satisfaction. Additionally, the company encourages products reviews by offering incentives to customers who share their experiences. This approach has not only enriched Best Buy’s brand perception but also provided valuable insights into customer preferences and areas for improvement, thereby creating a feedback loop that drives continuous improvement.
Automation and Efficiency
The retail sector is on the cusp of a technological renaissance with about 57% of retail tasks being primed for automation, as per McKinsey‘s analysis. This transition isn’t just about cutting costs, but evolving into a more efficient and customer-centric operation.
Action: It’s time to harness the power of automation across various facets of your operations—be it in inventory management, pricing, or customer service. By deploying automated solutions, you not only streamline operations but also liberate human capital to focus on strategic, value-additive roles. This transition can lead to a more agile operation that responds swiftly to market dynamics and customer preferences.
Case Study: Kroger’s EDGE Shelf Technology
Kroger introduced the EDGE Shelf (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment) technology, replacing paper price tags with digital displays. This automation allows real-time price updates, reducing manual labor and ensuring price accuracy, while also enhancing customer engagement with interactive content and targeted advertisements. By automating manual pricing tasks, employees can now focus on more customer-centric roles, showcasing how automation can lead to both operational efficiency and improved customer experience.
Future Foresight: Building Resilience and Agility
Navigating the unpredictable retail landscape requires a trifecta of foresight, agility, and customer-centricity. The need to foresee market trends, adapt swiftly, and maintain a keen focus on customer satisfaction is paramount.
Action: Staying ahead of the curve necessitates a vigilant eye on emerging technologies, evolving consumer behaviors, and economic indicators. By doing so, you’re better positioned to pivot your strategic planning adeptly in response to the dynamic market forces, ensuring resilience and agility in your operations.
Case Study: Target’s Adaptive Fulfillment Strategies
Target is an epitome of agility and foresight in retail. When the pandemic spurred an e-commerce boom, Target swiftly ramped up its digital fulfillment strategies. It optimized its stores to serve as fulfillment hubs for online orders, a move that not only reduced delivery times but also cut down on shipping costs. This adaptive approach allowed Target to meet the surging online demand efficiently while providing quick, convenient shopping solutions for its customers. By keeping a close watch on consumer behaviors and leveraging its existing assets innovatively, Target showcased how agility and foresight could drive operational resilience amidst market volatilities.
In-Store Engagement and Revenue Optimization
Creating memorable in-store experiences, strategic product bundling, fostering loyalty, and personalizing offers are pivotal strategies that can significantly enhance revenue optimization and customer engagement.
Transforming the in-store experience from merely transactional to memorable can significantly uplift customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Action: Host in-store events, workshops, or product demos to extend customer dwell time, which in turn increases opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
Strategically bundling products can significantly boost average transaction sizes by offering better value propositions to customers.
Action: Curate product bundles that offer genuine value, enhancing perceived value without compromising on profitability.
Loyalty extends beyond transactions—it’s about fostering a lasting engagement with your customers.
Action: Architect a multifaceted points system that rewards not just purchases, but also in-store visits, social media engagement, and referrals.
Personalized In-Store Offers:
Tailored offers can entice customers to make higher-value purchases, fostering a more personalized shopping experience.
Action: Harness granular customer data to craft personalized in-store deals, augmenting the overall shopping experience.
Case Study: Costco’s Bundle Promotions
Costco is well-known for its product bundling strategy, which significantly boosts the average transaction sizes. By offering products in bulk or in value packs, Costco provides genuine value to its customers, encouraging larger purchases. This simple yet effective strategy showcases how providing real value through product bundling can enhance both revenue and customer satisfaction.
Nurturing Loyalty and Brand Affinity
Transforming customers into brand evangelists and fostering a sense of community are instrumental in building lasting brand affinity and loyalty. These strategies not only retain customers but turn them into vocal advocates for your brand.
Creating Brand Evangelists:
Engaging customers on a personal level can metamorphose them into brand ambassadors, furthering organic brand promotion.
Action: Utilize platforms like social media and customer surveys to foster a two-way dialogue. Making customers feel valued and heard can significantly enhance their affinity towards your brand.
Cultivating a sense of community can serve as a potent customer retention tool, creating a loyal customer base.
Action: Leverage user-generated content and real customer testimonials to construct a community rooted in authentic experiences. This creates a genuine narrative around your brand that resonates with potential customers.
Case Study: Whole Foods’ Local Community Engagement
Whole Foods Market has carved a niche by championing local community engagement and emphasizing local food sourcing from nearby farmers and producers. By hosting local vendor fairs, farmer markets within their premises, and spotlighting local products on their shelves, Whole Foods has successfully created a platform for local producers to thrive.
This strategy has not only bolstered the brand’s image as a community-centric retailer but also cultivated a loyal customer base who value the brand’s commitment to local economies and sustainable food practices. Through these initiatives, Whole Foods has managed to foster a sense of community and trust among its customers, who in turn, have become ardent advocates for the brand. This holistic approach towards community building and local engagement has significantly contributed to Whole Foods’ brand loyalty and customer retention, making it a lauded name in the sustainable retail landscape.
Navigating the New Data Landscape
The evolving digital ecosystem, with a focus on privacy and user-centric policies, is reshaping the data landscape. Retailers need to pivot and adapt to ensure they continue to derive actionable insights from customer data, which is indispensable for strategic decision-making.
The First-Party Data Imperative:
As third-party cookies phase out, the reliance on first-party data escalates.
Action: Encourage customers to share valuable data by offering exclusive perks such as special offers, early access to new products, or loyalty benefits. This not only enriches your data reservoir but also enhances customer engagement.
Platforms like Instacart, DoorDash, and Fetch are morphing into pivotal retail connectors, bridging the gap between retailers and customers.
Action: Harness the advertising potential of these brand-safe platforms, tapping into their rich data ecosystems to fine-tune your marketing strategies, and extend your reach to a wider customer base.
Real-time data insights are the linchpin for operational agility in the fast-evolving retail landscape.
Action: Allocate resources to real-time analytics tools that furnish actionable insights, empowering you to swiftly pivot your strategies based on live metrics, and stay ahead in the game.
Case Study: Fetch for Retail – Full Loop Attribution Model
Fetch’s innovative platform provides a compelling case of the power of full loop attribution in modern retail. The platform seamlessly tracks the customer journey from the initial phase of exploring offers on the app to the final stage of making a purchase and snapping their receipt for rewards. This end-to-end visibility is a game-changer for advertisers and retailers.
The full loop attribution model employed by Fetch allows retailers and brands to precisely measure the impact of their marketing campaigns. By comprehending how shoppers interact with the app, make purchases, and engage post-purchase, retailers can glean invaluable insights into the effectiveness of their marketing strategies.
Moreover, Fetch’s robust data analytics tools provide real-time insights, enabling retailers to instantly gauge the performance of their campaigns and pivot swiftly based on live data. This attribution model not only empowers retailers with actionable data but also enhances the user experience by offering a simplified and rewarding shopping journey. Through this holistic approach, Fetch facilitates a win-win scenario for both retailers and customers, embodying the next frontier in data-driven retail marketing.
The shopper marketing landscape of 2024 is pivoting towards a monumental shift from product-centric models to customer-centric paradigms. As traditional third-party platforms like Google Ads and Facebook take a backseat due to a loss of signal, the emergence of retail agnostic app platforms are taking center stage, evolving around the nuanced customer journey. It’s imperative to recalibrate your retail marketing strategies to align with this evolving shopper experience.
For a grocery and retail brand to grow in 2024, staying ahead of these shopper marketing trends is not just advisable, but essential. The exciting shopper marketing insights provided herein serve as a roadmap to future success, paving the way for meaningful 1:1 engagements with consumers through the lens of cutting-edge technology they have come to expect. Proactively adapting to these trends will not only position major retailers a cut above in a fiercely competitive market but also deliver a gratifying and immersive shopping experience for their consumers.
Do you want to build stronger relationships with your shoppers and drive sales in 2024? Reach out to the Fetch for Business team today to learn more about launching your retail brand on America’s #1 shopping app.
Christopher Parr is the VP of Marketing, B2B at Fetch. When he's not snapping receipts, he's traveling to someplace interesting with Pursuitist