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    Expert Column: Grocers as Media Outlets

    Retailers should embrace opportunity to generate revenue, support shoppers

    By David Buckingham, Aimia

    Grocers across the country are well placed to take advantage of a sizeable business opportunity by exploiting their capacity to act as effective media outlets for CPG brands.

    Simply by putting their existing customer analytics and communications assets to work more effectively – and then marketing these assets to CPGs – grocers have the ability to generate significant revenue for their business, while also helping to support their customers throughout their purchasing journey. It’s an opportunity ripe for the taking.

    The Growth of Grocery Media

    If we look back to the 1990s, the physical store defined the grocer and its brand. Today, however, that has completely changed. By harnessing great advances in media, technology and data management, grocers now have multiple ways in which they can interact with customers. We’re currently in the multichannel "age of the consumer."

    Today, grocers own an extensive portfolio of communications channels, ranging from broadcast to one-to-one engagement, and including many forms of advertising, websites, social media, mobile apps, in-store experiences, direct mail, emails and coupons. Combined with their existing customer reach, this vastly increased number of touchpoints has given grocers the opportunity to become genuinely integrated media outlets unto themselves. Unfortunately, though, many haven’t acknowledged this capability or understood the opportunities that it creates, particularly with regard to CPGs.

    A New Opportunity for CPGs

    With millions of customers actively engaging daily with brands, grocers represent a unique channel through which CPGs can communicate with their own audiences. Unlike most media providers outside of the store, grocers can harness customer analytics that lead to actionable insights for CPG brands and can measure actual return on marketing investment by directly tying CPG marketing efforts back to the customer purchase decision.

    Grocers can offer CPGs targeted impressions at all stages of the purchasing journey – from the original "zero moment of truth" (the planning stage) to the "first moment of truth" (the shopping stage) and "second moment of truth" (the enjoyment stage) – and it's well documented that the closer your communication gets to the purchasing decision, the better your chances of conversion.

    Frankly, given how closely grocers work with CPGs to buy, ship and distribute product in their stores, we should be seeing this integrated media platform model across the board. Offering CPGs access to their integrated media platform unlocks new ways for grocers to commercialize their consumer insights and various points of activation, giving them a unique opportunity to thrive in today’s multichannel environment.

    Nevertheless, only the biggest global players in the industry – the likes of Walmart in the States, and Sainsbury's and Carrefour in Europe – are currently making the most of this opportunity.

    By David Buckingham, Aimia
    • About David Buckingham David Buckingham is president of U.S. Region Intelligent Shopper Solutions (ISS) at Montreal-based Aimia, helping retailers and CPG companies on their journey to customer-centricity.

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