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Gone are the days when supermarkets were the only go-to-market option for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands to reach their end-customer. As in-person shopping becomes a thing of the past, learn how businesses must adapt their customer experience to stay competitive.


When you can buy practically everything online, why do people still go to the supermarket? Is it for convenience, or is it simply because most CPG companies are yet to create a compelling online shopping experience?

Our customers are willing to embrace digital commerce – and their preference is increasingly amplified by the rapid pace of technological change. According to Deloitte University Press, CPG brands who underestimate the potential of e-commerce channels may be missing out on a substantial market opportunity. 

Being an early digital commerce adopter may just be the way to secure competitive advantage. Not sure where to start? Let’s dive in.


Who are these new customers?

Basically, everyone. Grocery shopping is no longer just a once-a-week trip to the supermarket with a one-size-fits-all offer. Customers now make smaller purchases more often and have been exploring online shopping. 

It’s true that for now, retailers are still the primary point of sale and owners of customer data. However, there is an opportunity for CPGs to build out, acquire and partner with others to gain actionable customer data and insights to understand new target customer segments and analyse their shopping behaviours.

For example, while price and promotions will always be a part of any customer interaction, it is small micro-moments that are redefining the customer’s journey. These incremental power shifts in favour of the customer have changed the traditional customer journey and persona.

Highlighting the example of Pampers, Sophie Blum, P&G’s Vice-President of Marketing for Europe and IMEA told Marketing Week: 

“the moment mums-to-be start searching for pregnancy-related information on Google, P&G gets a signal that someone is starting their “journey” and will target them accordingly. During a woman’s third trimester of pregnancy, for example, it might offer advice on what to put into nappy bags, or once the baby is born it will show consumers different nappies to buy as the baby grows. At P&G we have an ongoing understanding of one-to-one [messaging]. We are there to accompany consumers by having the right message at the right time.”

– Sophie Blum, P&G Vice-President of Marketing

Digital natives working for CPG brands have a head-start as they already know the value of technology. However, others must follow suit and use digital disruption as an opportunity. This makes it important for CPG brands to train their people to utilise customer data effectively for eCommerce strategies.


The digital battleground

While it’s impossible to predict the digital future with accuracy, adaptability is the one thing that can make your brand future-proof. And for CPG brands to be adaptable, they must recognise and understand the importance of the customer journey.

CPGs which were once only purchased in stores are increasingly moving online. And there is a myriad of technologies available to help brands understand how their customers behave in such situations; to help them deliver products in a timely manner, understand when to remind a partner to replenish their stock and suggest new products based on previous purchases.

According to a McKinsey survey on what the best CPG companies do, “in the United States, winning companies currently invest 2.4 times more resources in omnichannel retail compared with their peers—and they don’t look for an immediate payoff. They recognise that success in omnichannel retail requires a medium to long-term investment horizon.”

And that investment begins with learning and development for the people who will run these omnichannel programmes.


Finding the way forward 

As CPG brands embark on this new digital journey, they need to focus on some essential skill-building and organisational decisions, to help them stay ahead of the curve.

We increasingly see digital and e-commerce activities taking the forefront – which means that CPG companies must create new roles in their marketing teams. 

Companies must ensure that their teams have the digital skills needed to transform their customer journey, and embrace e-commerce. However, we urge them to distinguish between digital activities that require new hires, and those which can be handled by employees with additional training. 


The role of in-house learning

The cost of re-hiring for digital transformation may seem daunting. But in many cases, it’s actually cheaper to reskill workers than to hire new ones, according to a new Davos report.

Another report by the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group identified practical pathways to new jobs for the 1.37 million U.S. workers at risk of being replaced by technology over the next 10 years.

Perhaps this is why global investments in learning technology companies reached over $9.52 billion in 2017, up 30% from 2016. And 63% of companies are now providing formal or on-the-job training in-house.


Circus Street can help you achieve lasting transformation

First, your in-house L&D leaders can assess where they need additional training versus new hires – and, if they need a hand getting started, they can even trial Circus Street’s tailored skill development sessions.

As a global online learning business, we help organisations navigate the uncertainties of technology-driven future by building their digital capabilities.

At Circus Street, we help every person in an organisation to be educated on the key aspects of digital. That includes learning about the digital technologies, learning about how they impact their job, and how they need to do their job differently as a result. 

We make sure that our education is delivered in a way that's engaging and entertaining, but is also accessible at a time that suits the learner, is delivered at a pace that suits the learner, on any device, whenever and wherever they are, as often as they like. And that, in turn, builds the foundation on which they can begin their journey, or continue their journey towards digital transformation, and ultimately business transformation.

To find out how Circus Street has empowered organisations by building their digital capability, see our testimonials page. Or sign up for a free trial of our lessons to see how we can help drive business transformation in your business.

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