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Recap from Grocery Shop

One quote from the conference that stayed with us came from Wayne Duan, the VP of eCommerce for Constellation Brands: “Brands must not fall for FOMO and instead embrace JOMO.” While “FOMO” translates to the fear of missing out, “JOMO” refers to the joy of missing out. It resonated because amidst the many distractions Las Vegas has to offer, we had chosen to embrace the joy of missing out on all the glitz, glamour, and vices Las Vegas has to offer.

When deciding whether to prioritize a brand initiative, Duan employs the six (S) frameworks.

  • Does it SOLVE a consumer problem? We all know there are great technology idea emerging, but do they solve a problem for our customer and just an importantly, does it create value for them.
  • Does it beat the STATUS quo? Cabs get you from point A to point B, and sit out front of hotels waiting for you, but many want to ride in Lyft because of their branding.
  • Is it STRATEGIC? It doesn’t make sense for Louis Vuitton, or Gucci to offer coupons but it aligns well with many other brands.
  • How will SUCCESS be measured? Do we have more metrics than the traditional, and limited, KPIs and revenue statistics.
  • Is it SCALABLE across all brands and chains? Sure, the initiative is strategic and cost-effective, but scaling is usually costlier and more difficult.
  • And lastly, is it SUSTAINABLE? There will always be flavor of the week temptations but having the discipline to scale things and sustain them long-term is difficult.

Just as Duan employs the method to his brands at Constellation, we employed it in deciding to stay on my hotel balcony. Our view of the strip and fountain was certainly more appealing than following the masses and engaging in slots, shows, and second-hand smoke. Who’s to say that view, the Bordeaux, and the Cohibas we shared weren’t worth more than getting out on the strip to gamble and party? The consumer.

Brands need to embrace the joy of missing out however, they must not ignore keys to success and one of these keys is the digitization of commerce. Brands must utilize eCommerce not as a silo function but an organizational muscle. At the same time, brands need to be weary of technical chauvinism. With all of the dynamics that come with digitization, brands need to employ more consumer empathy and transparency, so customers understand what their data is being used for.

The conference highlighted the need for retailers to marry their “bricks to clicks”, as referred to by several speakers. Customers are channel agnostic and expect a seamless experience. The path to conversion is different as consumers bounce back and forth from online and offline channels. The marriage of physical storefronts and online channels will increase the conversation and frequency rate of customers purchasing because it enhances and further eases the seamless shopping experience. Essentially, brands need an omni-channel platform that is centered on the customer, not simply the “multi-channel” approach of the past.

Nearly every brand says they are customer-centric however, one issue consistent across most companies is that they always want to sell to customers right now. Companies must understand that customers all have different trip lengths, and each engage in different channels, and as a result, companies need to move beyond only highlighting cheap goods to drive a quick sale. Customer centric means figuring out how to serve customers best, and not just trying to bend their will to their business.

Another point made clear is that when it comes to the digitization of their businesses, transparency is key. A prime example of a company that devours information, but is clear with its usage, is Stich Fix. Right up front, they let the customer know that the reason for all of their body metrics and tastes is to contour the clothing to them. Stich Fix understands that customers want access to everything they have to offer however they don’t want to take a tour of the fulfillment center. The small pieces of information collected help Stich Fix make the shopping experience better.

In sum, a few key learnings:

  • Going forward CPG’s and retailers mustn’t be tempted by FOMO and instead enjoy missing out. By employing the six (S) frameworks, businesses can best assess whether an initiative adds value to their customers before following other industry players.
  • By marrying their bricks to their clicks, CPG’s and retailers can enhance the shopping experience for the customer and increase the frequency and conversion rate.
  • Companies must increasingly embrace digitization with transparency as a key point to create seamless omni channel experiences for today’s agnostic consumers.

All in all, Groceryshop was an insightful experience. The conference brought together many of the retail industry’s best and brightest newcomers as well as legacy brands and CPGs. With ecommerce exploding in the grocery sector it will be interesting to see whether some of these innovative concepts and themes come to fruition in the years to the come. The main message we took away was a seamless multi-channel shopping experience is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to succeed and be competitive in today’s market – or as you might say in Vegas, table stakes.

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