The Oracle Data Cloud blog highlights the latest data-driven insights and trends in digital marketing and ad tech.

Grocery shopper trends and the new weekly circular industry landscape

This week’s guest blog post is contributed by Blake Eisler, Client Solutions Director, Oracle Data Cloud.

There’s no doubt that consumer behavior trends continue to evolve—as does the media landscape.

What hasn’t changed is how grocery retailers approach their media mix and their reliance on traditional print distribution. 

With Thanksgiving behind us—the largest seasonal holiday event of the grocery calendar—it’s the right time to start planning your 2018 eCirc strategy. 

We’ve covered this topic before, and it is one near and dear to me as a digital media strategist. I’ve been studying grocery consumer behavior with Oracle Data Cloud for the past six years. 

Although our proprietary research on grocery consumer trends was conducted in 2015, the information remains relevant today. Our survey, released in The Circular Revolution white paper, addressed shoppers’ attitudes and usage related to both print and digital circulars.

Digital marketing as a whole requires thought leadership, innovation, and smart technology to support a successful shift in the weekly ad media mix.

In many ways, grocers are undergoing the same challenges printed magazines did a decade ago, where the struggle between print and digital caused a number of changes to advertising, content access, and, most importantly, the consumer experience.

Let’s dive deeper into these trends, so you can apply this knowledge to your own campaigns.

The following marketplace conditions still exist:

  • Until we’ve gathered real data points that prove the success of the digital media marketplace, the future forward will require over investing up front to begin digital distribution while sustaining print. 
  • Retailers identify those initial funds by reducing the size and paper quality to support their distribution footprint.
  • Future success relies on the retailer to internal alignment and provide a turnkey way to deliver finalized weekly ad offers and content to the appropriate Application Programming Interface (API).
  • Hosting a digital version of the circular on the website is the minimum coverage; it’s not enough.
  • A personalized electronic ad is the linchpin of the digital transformation. Custom-made outreach shows the consumer more relevant products, which they are more likely to buy.
  • CPGs are not yet supporting weekly ad digital distribution as they do print. That needs to change. As one of my wise clients says, “We should be selling impressions, not ad blocks.”  

From those marketplace conditions, four main challenges arise for marketers:

Challenge #1

When it comes to optimizing print distribution, retailers have run their entire business on the same distribution strategy for years and are unsure where to scale back. This more traditional format only details where they're funding and distributing, not who they're reaching.

Challenge #2

Personalization is critical to winning loyalty throughout the consumer journey. However, technology must evolve immediately to truly enable personalized turnkey activation.

Challenge #3

Grocers have not yet identified viable funds to turn on digital distribution in a significant way, which prevents the start of their digital journey.

Challenge #4

Retailers do not resource internally to support this necessary big shift and change.

The digital solution: Digital media provides real accuracy, accountability, and transparency. You know who you’re targeting and reaching with your ad—and how that impacts in-store sales.

ODC eCirc future journey for retailers:

Tune in next week for my follow-up post, featuring results from a regional grocer, as we dive into how their eCirc test was set up and what you should plan toward in 2018.  

Our team at Oracle Data Cloud supports our retailers on their digital shopper journey. Reach out to us through The Data Hotline so we can help you one-on-one. (What's The Data Hotline?)

About Blake Eisler

Blake is a vertical leader for digital strategy and solutions for CPG Retail brands. She leads team engagement with clients to leverage data and insights to optimize their targeted and measurable paid addressable media strategy. 

Prior to Oracle Data Cloud, Blake spent many years at Horizon Media and The Vidal Partnership developing digital and mobile media strategies for accounts such as Jack-in-the-Box, AETN, Crown Imports, Sprint Nextel, and The Home Depot.

Image: Shutterstock

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