This time last year, you couldn’t go more than a day without hearing references to the metaverse. But by the turn of the calendar year, ChatGPT hit 100 million monthly active users and the public opinion declared the metaverse dead.
One of the things I love most about Shopper Marketing is the discipline’s ability to continuously redefine itself to meet the ever-changing landscape of technology, media, commerce, and the larger socio-economic landscape that impacts shopper behavior. As 2024 approaches, we inevitably find ourselves looking ahead to emerging trends that could maximize sales growth and shopper engagement. This post will explore key Shopper Marketing vehicles that will remain relevant as well as some emerging trends that are expected to play a larger role in the year ahead.
Augmented Reality Enhancing the Shopper Experience
By overlaying digital information onto the physical world, Augmented Reality (AR) provides customers with immersive, interactive experiences, both online and offline.
The adoption of AR is being accelerated by increased accessibility, as more and more devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are being equipped with AR capabilities. Increasingly, retailers and brands alike have adopted AR to illustrate product usage, bring packaging to life, and provide virtual sampling and try-on capabilities. This technology has been particularly helpful for categories such as clothing, electronics, and make-up, but has tremendous upside for food and beverage brands as well. Shopper Marketing efforts should be focused on how AR can be used as a vehicle for entertainment, education, and product evaluation.
Dynamic Pricing Personalizing Deals and Offers
The advent of big data and machine learning has fueled the development of dynamic pricing strategies. Shopper Marketing has always played a role in delivering promotion-based offers or rewards but can now adopt these enhanced capabilities to further personalize and increase relevance.
Using geo-targeting, location-based services, and proximity technology, Shopper Marketing can deliver timely and contextual offers to shoppers when they are near or inside a store. Delivery can include real-time adjustments to offers based on factors such as demographics, regional market trends, and even online browsing behavior.
Seniors Market Addressing the Growing Segment
With 1 in 6 consumersprojected to be over the age of 60 by 2030, this segment represents a massive opportunity that brands can’t afford to ignore. And as societies age, the demographic will continue to grow in size and importance for decades. Global research conducted by BCG’s Center for Customer Insight on mature consumers reveals that the return on investment (ROI) for marketing to mature consumers is far better than often assumed. Mature consumers have immense buying power, spend more than members of other age groups do on individual purchases, exhibit strong brand loyalty, are resilient through economic ups and downs, and wield surprising influence over younger consumers.
Shopper Marketing can help brands cater to this demographic by offering solutions that meet their unique needs and preferences – from reimagining in-store navigation and fixtures to digital tools that improve the shopping experience.
Eco-Friendly Initiatives Not Just Good for the Planet
The 2022 Sustainable Market Share Index™found that products marketed as sustainable are responsible for nearly a third of the growth in consumer-packaged goods (CPGs) from 2013 to 2022, and market share growth continued year over year. Furthermore, Sustainability-marketed products’ five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) outpaced that of their conventional counterparts yet still enjoyed a price premium as well.
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.
Shopper Marketing is well positioned to educate shoppers on the environmental benefits of products, showcase sustainable packaging, and collaborate with retailers to incentivize sustainable behaviors via promotions and loyalty programs. Executed correctly, sustainability efforts should be good for people, planet, and profit.
AI Invasion Coming to a Shopper Near You
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already begun to dramatically transform the world of retail, leading to various applications in Shopper Marketing like personalized product recommendations, virtual shopping assistants, and predictive analytics for demand forecasting. The future of AI in this realm is promising, with hyper-personalization, enhanced customer insights, and offline retail integration on the horizon. However, AI comes with challenges, including data privacy, algorithmic biases, and implementation costs. Addressing challenges responsibly and ethically is vital to harness AI’s full potential.
Retail Media Networks Going Nowhere But Up
The frenzied scramble onto the retail media bandwagon has subsided a little, with the rate at which retailers are setting up new retail media networks (RMNs) slowing noticeably. But that doesn’t mean the excitement around the channel has decreased in the slightest. Retail media ad spend is growing faster than the digital ad market overall.
By the end of 2027, it will account formore than a quarter of US digital ad spend. As the reliance on third-party cookies dwindles due to stricter privacy regulations coming into effect globally, the ability of RMNs to deliver reliable and ethically sourced first-party data will continue to grow in importance. But for the channel to reach its full potential, RMNs will have to address measurement inconsistencies.
As we approach 2024, an array of Shopper Marketing trends are set to redefine the retail landscape. Embracing omnichannel strategies that merge online and in-store experiences by implementing advanced AR technologies will help brands and retailers maintain a competitive edge. Shopper Marketing will also be relied upon to cater to diverse demographics, including the rapidly growing senior market, while addressing consumers’ environmental concerns by integrating sustainability into their messaging. To thrive in the future of retail, Shopper Marketing practitioners must remain vigilant, monitoremerging trends, and continue to adapt to the ever-evolving preferences of their shoppers.
About the author
Aaron has 20 years of experience in FMCG, specializing in Commerce Marketing. He is guided by the belief that the biggest ideas, and ultimately growth, come through collaboration. Working as one team to identify the shared growth opportunity for the consumer, retailer, and brand. It doesn’t need to be complex. In fact, the simpler the better.