Marketing agency DMA Solutions held a webinar to discuss how consumer shopping behaviors have changed in 2020 and how brands can leverage those changes to help increase their presence in the marketplace and the consumer’s shopping baskets. Dan’l Mackey Almy presented five key realities of shopping behavior and how marketers can capitalize on these.
Reality 1: Experimenting with new brands and products
Consumers have been stuck at home and been deprived of many of their usual forms of entertainment for almost a year now and are now more than ever trying out new brands and products. “In a recent survey, 44% of respondents said that they are looking for new brands and products to spice up their everyday lives, and 73% said that they intend to continue to incorporate these new brands and products into their routines. With nearly half of all shoppers looking to find new brands and products, now is the time to clearly and effectively communicate your brand value and product solutions with the consumer. This can be done in a variety of ways, from new photography, launching a blog, branching out your social media account or investing in advertising dollars,” Mackey Almy says.
Reality 2: More shoppers are making purpose driven buying decisions
A purpose driven shopper selects products based on how well the brand aligns with their personal values, as well as how well it provides transparency. Mackey Almy explains: “A survey showed that 57% of respondents are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce environmental impacts and 71% indicate that they are willing to pay a premium for a brand that offers transparency about where something is grown. This type of purpose driven messaging can also be achieved through philanthropic tie-ins. We have to lean into elevating our philanthropy and sharing it with shoppers because there are many shoppers who base their purchasing decision on this. We recommend giving these purpose driven shoppers a chance to get to know what you stand for.”
One of the ways to highlight this is by showing the regionality of your product. “Even if you have farms all over the country, highlight the specific regions. Consumers care about how and where something is grown. That is the messaging that really resonates with people. Effective story-telling is about simple messaging,” says Mackey Almy. Mackenzie Wortham adds: “Local produce is becoming more and more prevalent and popular so just communicating with shoppers and letting them know where something is grown is important.”
Reality 3: Shoppers need meal inspiration
The phrase ‘meal fatigue’ has been around almost as long as the pandemic, as consumers were forced to cook at home more and quickly ran out of inspiration for their meal planning. “This is a great opportunity for the produce industry,” Mackey Almy says. “One of the most popular platforms that home cooks are turning to is Pinterest, and for many of our clients Pinterest became the highest driver of all social media platforms in 2020, and over the last year Pinterest shares grew by 254%. So, we recommend actively investing in a Pinterest strategy: position your brand in a place where you know shoppers are spending time. This means consistently creating new recipes, leveraging boosted posts, re-pinning frequently, and creating eye-catching boards to make your content stand out. We see the importance of Pinterest continuing into the new year as well,” she shares.
Reality 4: Shoppers are focused on life beyond the table
One important strategy for marketers of fresh produce is to stop limiting themselves to meal occasions, says Mackey Almy. “2020 saw a huge increase in searches for stress relief, reestablishing routines, what to do with stir-crazy kids, and more. All brands can help bring forth solutions to the consumers’ problems. Tune in to the public sentiment and align your brand with the current needs of the consumer. Produce and floral naturally align well with health and wellness, and the key is to provide the audience with helpful, inspiring content beyond food and recipes to reach other areas of health and wellness in their lives. This is a passive content strategy that builds trust and recognition with the consumer,” she says.
Reality 5: Homecare is the new self-care
There is a renewed focus on ensuring that one’s home feels welcoming and comforting, and one of the main ways that people are doing this is by bringing nature into their homes. “This is a great opportunity for the floral industry, but it applies to produce as well,” says Mackey Almy. Wortham adds: “We worked with a citrus importer in the fall who centered messaging on social media around incorporating the products into table-scapes and setting up Thanksgiving and Christmas centerpieces around the citrus fruits. That content performed really well on social media and it really spoke to the ‘making the home look nice’ trend.”
Megan Zweig explains: “A lot of people ask: ‘How do I generate the type of content that will speak to consumers?’ and the best answer is to just start. Just try out different things and gauge the consumer response. If you can’t connect with the consumer, they will leave. So, it is vital that you connect with them. Just start putting content out there and see the responses you get and then use those responses to make adjustments.” Mackey Almy concludes: “Keep it simple and make it something that consumers can easily understand and connect with.”