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    Expert Column: Five New Ways to Reach Today’s Digital Shopper

    A menu of musts for shoppers' changing appetites

    By Bill Sussman , Collective Bias

    Innovations in digital, mobile and social technologies have planted new contemporary expectations in today’s shopper. Pushing a grocery cart around with a shopping list scribbled on a Post-It in hand is becoming a thing of the past. Modern aisle-browsers want convenience and value along their path to purchase that makes their lives better and easier.

    To keep in tune with the fast-changing marketplace, make sure these five channels are on your radar; pretty soon they will become the “new normal":

    1. Personalize the Experience With Relevant Content Using Beacons

    In-store mobile beacons, currently powered through Bluetooth Smart and Apple iBeacon, allow marketers to send media like product info, coupons, ads and more directly to shoppers’ smartphones. This media can be extremely personalized to include cooking tips, meal ideas and location-based deals. Because the beacons can only reach shoppers in-store, the “spammy” connotation is avoided allowing brands the opportunity to personalize the shopping experience.

    2. Consider On-demand Grocery Delivery Through Mobile

    The desire for same-day, on-demand grocery delivery is rapidly growing and services like Google’s Shopping Express, AmazonFresh and Uber’s Corner Store have quickly stepped in to fill the gap. These services create yet another fragment on the shopper’s path to purchase - expectations are mounting for retailers to possess the capability to get food and other grocery items to their doorstep at a moment’s notice. While currently only operating in certain cities across the U.S., the convenience grocery delivery services offer will certainly fuel their popularity.

    3. Provide Relevant Mobile App Solutions for Shoppers

    Apps like Grocery IQ streamline and simplify the typical list-making process every shopper usually endures prior to reaching the market. Rather than keeping track of numerous lists with a few items needed scrawled on each, shopping list apps allow consumers to put all their grocery needs in one tidy place. Worried about paying too much?  Walmart’s Savings Catcher app compares prices automatically for you and refunds any price difference to a gift card for future use.  App capabilities include keeping track of frequently purchased items, adding coupons to shoppers’ loyalty cards, syncing up with friends and family members’ lists, adding items by scanning barcodes and more.

    4. Meals Have Gone Social

    Social media is the new mealtime accomplice, the ultimate hub for conversations and word-of-mouth discoveries. According to a study by The Hartman Group, 54 percent of online consumers use social media to discover new foods and share food experiences. What’s for dinner is decided hours before the actual meal and often by visiting a social site such as Pinterest. In fact, curated Pinterest boards have rapidly become the modern recipe box.

    5. Consumers Look For Recipes Beyond Your Brand’s Owned Channels

    Cookbooks are becoming a thing of the past: today’s foodie blogs are professional and well-curated troves of content and information that are trusted more by consumers than commercial branded efforts. In fact, 73 percent trust food blogs for recipes, according to a food study by BlogHer. Whether simply browsing or specifically looking for what to put on the dinner table, blogs are a major source of discovery for shoppers. There are blogs for every taste and palate from Southern comfort to vegan to worldly cuisine. Having detailed recipes and cooking how-tos laid out for cooks of every skill level on a platform they trust makes finding food inspiration effortless.

    It would be untenable for grocery retailers to believe that consumers will shop for food and grocery items the same ways they always have. The social and mobile experience has completely upended the traditional consumer path to purchase. Rapid adaptability will be key for brands and retailers to keep up with the changing appetite of today’s shoppers.

    By Bill Sussman , Collective Bias
    • About Bill Sussman Bill Sussman is president and CEO of Collective Bias, a shopper social media company that drives sales for brands and retailers by working with a community of expert bloggers who create social content consumers actively seek out and trust. Sussman has deep experience in digital marketing, retail and media industries, and has previously held leadership positions at Nickelodeon, Walmart, Triad Retail Media and Ringling Bros. [email protected]

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