Shopping behaviour post-Covid: a wake-up call for shopper marketing

The Covid crisis has fundamentally changed the behaviour of shoppers. In a rapidly changing retail environment, shopper marketing demands a fresh look at shopping experience, segmentation, and retail communication. "Prepare yourself for the new customer journey."


Trends are being challenged

"We are facing perhaps one of the most disruptive periods in post-war history: the end of the Covid crisis is hopefully in sight by now, and a new normal is on the horizon", shopper marketing expert Luc Desmedt of LD&Co states.


"We have found that Covid has interrupted several trends: the growth of entertainment, leisure and air travel, for example. Other trends have accelerated: digitisation, the importance of health and sustainability. Some trends have even been reversed, such as urbanisation and out-of-home consumption. The question is: which of these will stick around? In addition, think of climate change, the food issue, the lightning-fast development of artificial intelligence and powerful algorithms, etc."


This uncertain future will be the main topic of the Trade & Shopper Marketing Congress, which is already in its seventeenth edition: What will the new normal look like and what will be the consequences for manufacturers and retailers? "Be prepared for the new shopper journey...".


Food gives impulse

RetailDetail editor-in-chief Stefan Van Rompaey will kick off the conference by outlining the framework of the event. He will introducing a number of insights and ideas from his brand new book 'The Future of Food', which he co-wrote with Jorg Snoeck.


"Jorg and Stef are two driving forces at RetailDetail. From their vantage points, they closely follow the evolutions and trends in the retail industry and know how to translate their observations into a sharp and well-founded vision. The entire food system is in need of a radical transformation. Although the book is centred around food, many of the trends discussed and their implications are also highly relevant to other sectors."


The other keynote speakers subsequently delve deeper into several topics touched upon in the opening session.   


The Tomorrowland effect

One of these topics is the creation of the 'shopper experience'. It is expected that routine repeat purchases will largely shift towards online or even be automated and that shoppers will visit brick-and-mortar stores less often. Therefore, the big challenge for brands and retailers will be to optimise the value of each shopping trip.


For visits to physical stores, creating an exciting shopping experience is often seen as the magical formula. But, what does such an experience entail? "Nowadays, everything has to be an experience. It is often assumed that you have to surprise the customer, again and again, create a 'Tomorrowland effect' similar to the famous Belgian dance festival (and not the Disney film, red). But it does not have to be all that spectacular: the principal challenge is to understand what shoppers truly expect and what irritates them throughout the customer journey and respond to it accordingly. Torben Valsted, who among other things has experience with Nike flagship stores, has a clear, pragmatic vision on this."


A new way of segmenting

The book 'The Future of Food' devotes a great deal of attention to acknowledging that 'standard' no longer works in today's fluid society: there is no longer such a thing as one size fits all. Striving for a personalised solution for each shopper has become a priority. "To make these efforts manageable, a segmented approach is recommended. Segmenting by generation turns out to be highly relevant. The generation shoppers belong to says more about their shopping values and behaviour than socio-economic or geographical differences, even across continents."


Luc Demeulenaere and Dirk Vanderveken (Shopperware) have fully grasped this and have worked out a holistic framework that enables retailers and manufacturers to segment their customer base optimally. For the most important segments, they mapped out the customer journey in detail with the corresponding touchpoints across various online and offline channels.


Targeted communication

Subsequently, Carrefour's Media Director Vivian Mosselmans will explain how, with the launch of Carrefour Links, the retailer offers an integrated platform allowing manufacturers to not only communicate in a highly targeted way with a precisely determined target group, both offline and online, but also to calculate the return of that communication. "This is a great example of how retailers are looking for ways to generate additional revenue through the valorisation of their relevant data. They are becoming more and more sophisticated in this respect."


Finally, Christophe Piron, who leads the 'Demand Acceleration' team at Pepsico Benelux, will reveal how the company is organising itself to effectively tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow and this in collaboration with retailers. "In short, once again, it will be a very inspiring congress!"


The Trade & Shopper Marketing Congress of RetailDetail and LD&Co will take place on Thursday, 30 September, at RetailDetail's event venue in Shopping Stadsfeestzaal in Antwerp. It will be a hybrid event: 200 tickets are available for participants who want to experience the congress Covid-proof on-site. Others can follow the live stream remotely. More info and tickets can be found through this link.