We’ve all heard that the big weekly shop is back. People are shopping less frequently but spending significantly more when they do.

But behind this headline is another story: the end of browsing.

We may no longer be in panic mode, but us Brits remain stressed when it comes to the grocery haul. Back in May, Deloitte found that only 37% of us felt safe visiting the supermarket. And whilst the pressure may have eased a little, the situation is likely to continue until we finally emerge from this pandemic.

Such high incidence of shopper anxiety is undoubtedly coercing us to make faster choices. And let’s face it, even when we find that moment to pan the range of options before us, there’s another anxious shopper waiting in the wings to make you grab and go.

Let’s pause and think about the impact of this reality. That’s millions of shopping trips comprising of billions of browsing occasions – many of which are being severely compressed. There is an obvious impact for brand owners.

We already know that brand leaders are largely benefiting, cashing in on hard-won trust. Only a few weeks ago, Kantar reported that #1 brands were still putting on share at the expense of smaller players. And the Grocer has previously reported that many challenger brands have suddenly lost their momentum on the shelves.

For all grocery brands, there are several ways to build up their resilience in store:

First, strip back direct communication on packaging to its core. With shoppers feeling anxious, make their decision easier with simpler messaging. Brands like Kettle Chips set the standard: bold and simple communication that ‘cuts the faff’. With shoppers acting faster now than ever before, it's prudent to make in-store decisions as mindless as possible.

Second, increase indirect System 1 communication across pack and product to facilitate more intuitive decision making. In the growing immunity space, I applaud Innocent’s Citrus Shield juice. Beyond its emotive title, the interplay between the colour of the liquid and the substrate of the bottle creates an enhanced brightest that makes this candidate really stand out as the most efficacious choice. This is brand body language, and we all know how powerful body language is at non-conscious communication.

Third, when it comes to innovation, it pains me to say it, but I believe that now is not the time to dazzle stressed-out shoppers with radical new ideas. However, people’s desire for everyday experiences is not going to shut down because of COVID. If anything, it will increase as many of life’s more hedonistic experiences are off-limits. But with more of us now shopping online, I think it’s time for brands to launch big, new and shiny innovations online.

So, to make the most of compressed browsing, keep pack communications simple, think body language and make online your launch-pad for new ideas. Shoppers will value your efforts to make their lives less stressed.