There is absolutely no need to make any kind of preamble to this statement: the retail industry is undergoing a massive shift, as consumers are modifying their shopping patterns and behaviors.
Companies are still reeling from the initial shock of the pandemic and diligently working to rearrange their supply chains and alter the way they distribute their products. As a result, we’re still not at a stage where we can predict which trends are here to stay and which will die down once the pandemic is over.
Let’s look at the four most prevalent ones you need to be mindful of in the beverage industry.
We’ve all seen images of empty isles in what were once well-stocked supermarkets. We’ve all been privy to news coverage of supply chain disruptions and impaired production. And most importantly, we all feel the same anxiety over an uncertain future, and want to ensure we have what we need should the pandemic take a turn for the worse.
Products that are in the highest demand include toilet paper, disinfectants, and non-perishables. However, bottled water and other beverages also find themselves on most household’s shopping lists, as 47% of consumers claim they have been stocking up on essentials.
This heightened demand naturally translates into a higher need to increase production and streamline supply as much as is possible in the current climate. Beverage brands are advised to allocate most of their production to their most popular products – and to avoid launching new products for the time being.
Whenever possible, it’s also essential to leverage home delivery options. Consumers would prefer to take delivery of a carton or packet of their favorite beverage, as opposed to going out to the shops and lugging it back home.
While we are on the subject of delivery, let’s touch upon that most obvious of shifts – online shopping.
The growing health and safety concerns of shoppers all across the world have resulted in an increase in e-commerce spending, with consumers ordering anything from groceries to toiletries and gym equipment to their homes.
A survey by Gordon Haskett has revealed that a third of shoppers have made an online food shop in the week prior to the survey, and 41% of them had done so for the first time. This is a clear sign that even customers who prefer to shop in person are now turning to e-commerce as a way to stay safe and source everything they need.
Despite issues such as delivery delays and limited availability, 97% of shoppers will continue to do food shops online even after the pandemic is over. That’s why beverage businesses need to step up and offer the option as soon as possible.
This is also a chance for smaller companies to get noticed by customers when their usual beverage of choice is out of stock, as most consumers claim they will make a purchase from a brand previously unknown to them rather than forgo the order altogether.
Establishing an online presence – either on your own website, via social media, or by becoming a part of a larger shopping network’s offer – is currently a must. Even if e-commerce was not previously on your radar, now is the time to add it, and high time at that.
As there is still no medication that can effectively and widely combat a Covid-19 infection, and as the body’s own immune system remains the most important defensive mechanism, people have started focusing on nutrition and immune-boosting like never before.
We are expecting to see a 25% increase in the sale of immunity supplements during the course of the year, as shoppers continue to reach for products that might help them battle the disease.
This will also elicit a rise in those who are choosing to make their own capsules from specifically tailored, quality ingredients.
As a beverage brand, you can focus on marketing products that can benefit the immune system. These might be products high in Vitamin C, electrolytes, minerals, and other ingredients that are considered beneficial to combating diseases.
Never have consumers been as interested and as influenced by a brand’s values and behaviors as they are today when social media lets us scrutinize just about anyone and anything.
They expect the brands they love and who have previously shown their engagement with social issues to step up and raise awareness, help where they can, and treat their employees well, keeping their safety a priority in these dangerous times.
Brands that claim to focus on their customers and staff but are not enabling employees to work in the safest possible conditions are losing trust and customers quickly.
As a business in this climate, you need to choose the way you want to react to the pandemic – one that is in line with what your brand already stands for – and act accordingly. If you have been vocal about community service and engagement, you need to act on those values now, or risk being dumped by a lot of your customer base.
This can also be your time to shine – not merely as a marketing tactic, but as a way to genuinely establish some sort of relief and help those who could benefit from your actions. Don’t think of it as a way to attract a new market base, but rather as a “what goes around comes around” kind of strategy.
As we try to navigate the shifting currents of the modern market, let’s try to keep one eye on the waves we are being tossed by, and another on the horizon. That’s where some of these trends may crash and sink, while others may swim ashore and remain embedded in customer behaviors for decades to come.