With eight in ten CPG brands having seen a shortening of their purchase cycles, even as consumers are visiting stores less frequently, brands need to re-examine their marketing strategies.

They need to target for how people are shopping today, says Lance Brothers, Chief Research Officer at NCSolutions, who notes a multiplicity of behavioural changes in recent months, large and small, all of which provide insight on how advertising tactics should change as well.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How CPG advertisers should approach loyalty in the face of changing COVID-19 purchasing habits, he set outs the implications:

• A shorter purchase cycle means shoppers are now making a choice in your category more often, resulting in more opportunities to gain, preserve or lose a customer.

• Less frequent store visits mean advertising needs to drive increased quantities during a purchase.

• Changes in high-spend shopping days mean that Thursday and Friday might no longer be primetime advertising days for your brand.

“The real lesson here is it’s critical to understand how shoppers are interacting with your brand now, because it likely looks different than it did before,” he states.

In the early stages of the pandemic, households bought new categories and tried new brands in a way not seen in recent history, sometimes prompted by a search for variety, sometimes simply because a preferred brand was out of stock.

But, says Brothers, “brands that have a large base of loyal customers who buy the brand at a steady clip all throughout the year saw relatively consistent sales, in spite of the overall turbulence.”

And while such brands “would be well served to deliver value-based advertising to their most loyal customers in the coming months,” there may also be major opportunity for winning new buyers.

It an option that is more expensive and that requires more effort, but “today is the right time to give it a go,” he says: significant changes in CPG buying habits typically only happen at a life event moment (for example marriage, new baby or a first home), and the COVID-19 pandemic surely qualifies as one of those.

Brands have an opportunity to change their position in the market and win new buyers for the long-term, he suggests.

For more details, read the Best Practice paper in full: How CPG advertisers should approach loyalty in the face of changing COVID-19 purchasing habits.

Sourced from WARC