The Refreshed and Revised Approach to Omni-channel Shopper Engagement
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
The retail industry is filled with acronyms, and during a recent webinar Grocery Convergence: Five Sensible Solutions to Win the Future of Food Retailing, the concept of convergence at retail was discussed, adding a new term to the list. The definition – meeting the needs of shoppers at every touchpoint – is fairly aligned with the historical definition of omni-channel engagement but as the webinar progressed, it became clear that this is a refreshed and revised approach to shopper engagement.
One speaker indicated that the hybrid shopper who engages with the retailer through online and in-store shopping is 200 percent more valuable than the single-type shopper. This is the crux of the discussion about convergence, and retailers must make the shopper experience seamless across all engagements. Many retailers struggle today as their in-store POS systems are not directly aligned with the backbone of e-commerce, but even more challenges exist as the seamless experience must extend to promotions, story arcs, seasonal discussions, assortment, and health and wellness. Shoppers should never notice a gap between their digital and in-store experience with your retailer.
Another presenter showcased Google data indicating shoppers spend 40 percent more when their experience is highly personalized, requiring retailers to ensure they have the capability to integrate consumer data from all touchpoint streams. To truly capture shopper insights and create a personalized experience, the individual must be tracked across online shopping, digital planning (think shoppable recipes), social following and engagement, app usage, and in-store purchases.
The shopper who seeks a seamless experience across all retailer engagements and who demands a customized, personalized approach has these same expectations as related to health and wellbeing programs and services. Retail dietitians must be aware of efforts at their retailer to ensure true convergence of shoppers’ path-to-purchase at your retailer. Additionally, RDs must gain a seat at the table to ensure health programs and services are included in system and infrastructure plans to engage the consumer across all touchpoints.
A comment made during the webinar was very telling – companies with a long history in an industry rarely disrupt the industry. Uber wasn’t created by a taxi company. A hotel chain didn’t start VRBO. Retail RDs have spent their careers changing how nutrition services are provided to consumers; now they have the opportunity to take this one step further, converging health and wellbeing against every shopper retail touchpoint.