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    July 14, 2020
    8 minute read

    3 Steps to Accelerate Time to Market for European Grocery Retailers

    by: Christian Hassold

    The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on retail, changing both how consumers shop and what they buy. And many retailers have struggled to keep up, not least in grocery. Here, a switch to online shopping became almost total at the height of the pandemic in Europe and led to massive peaks and troughs in demand for a range of items.

    While the headlines were packed with early shortages of toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitiser, availability of many other essentials have waxed and waned over the past three months as both supply and demand have been hit.

    What is clear is that, for grocery chains, ramping up their online presence is now business-critical. Within a matter of weeks — not months or years — your brand can take steps to accelerate your time to market on critical grocery channels, helping you meet these new modern shoppers.

    European shoppers want online grocery options

    In May, online retail sales in the UK hit 33.4%, according to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Retail Sales Report for May 2020. Of this, food retailers saw a rise of 21% to account for 11.3% of all retailer sales – and this trend for online spending is set to continue for the grocery sector.

    A study of 6000 European shoppers by Blue Yonder found that 64% of shoppers who are now spending more online say they will continue to do so once the crisis subsides. A study by Visa backs this up, with two fifths (41%) shopping online more frequently the majority (74%) of those will continue to do so.

    Many are also turning to mobile to do their grocery shopping. According to data from global app marketing platform Adjust, retail is entering a ‘Golden age of m-commerce’ driven by apps, according to a new study that finds customer engagement has gone up 40% through the channel and cost of acquisition has halved.

    However, there are still gripes with online grocery shopping. As the Blue Yonder research shows, shoppers’ biggest concern lies around availability of the items they want. More than a third (38%) of shoppers said their favourite items and brands are more often out of stock at grocery retailers compared to the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Before the COVID-19 crisis, only 48% of shoppers cited stock availability as important, after price (72%) and range of products (54%). However, stock availability is now the most important (58%), ahead of price (56%) and range of products (39%).

    And this can be damaging. While some consumer goods brands are seeing all-time highs, many are falling behind in market share due to their inability to keep up with these shifts in demand due to inadequate tools and processes.

    Brands that have prioritised online channels using the Salsify Product Experience Management (PXM) platform can quickly adapt to market changes and deliver the content experiences that help them expand market share and drive sales. Food and candy manufacturer Mars, for example, used the Salsify PXM platform to launch its top product SKUs across five regions within just 90 days.

    There are three key steps required for brands to accelerate time to market across top grocery channels.

    Step 1: Centralise Product Content for Easy Access

    When product content is housed and managed in a single location, teams across departments can access the most up-to-date and accurate versions easily. There are many benefits to centralising product content for easy access: Online and offline processes can be unified. Product content can be updated across all channels instantly. Brands can move at the ever-quickening speed of commerce without jeopardizing accuracy and team control.

    Step 2: Streamline Process for Product Content Activation

    In the US, some 58% of retail sales will be digitally influenced by 2023, according to Forrester, while in parts of Europe, such as the UK, it is even higher. As a result, Forecasters at Edge by Ascential suggest UK ecommerce will grow in value by as much as £5.3bn in 2020. 

    Meanwhile, showrooming – using a mobile in store to read reviews, check prices and even buy cheaper versions – is on the rise, especially among Gen Z

    Shoppers move across these channels seamlessly, and successful brands must be able to meet them at every touchpoint in their shopping journey. Salsify Syndication helps brands streamline the process for activating content across top grocery channels — ensuring the best content goes to every retailer and endpoint.

    Salsify Syndication helps brands save time. When content gets updated in the centralized PXM, it’s automatically updated everywhere it exists online. This process helps reduce errors, decrease pressure on teams, and accelerates content updates.

    Step 3. Leverage Enhanced Content for Increased Conversion and Sales

    Seventy-nine percent of US shoppers have not purchased a product due to problems with product content, according to the 2020 Salsify Consumer Research report, with 58% pointing to a lack of information or details.

    Once your team has centralized product content and streamlined processes, enhanced content can help you enrich the consumer journey with below-the-fold image galleries, videos, 360-degree product image spins, comparison charts, and downloads.

    Salsify Enhanced Content can help brands increase conversion across categories by 10%, according to 2019 Salsify internal data. For example, US snack manufacturer Snyder’s of Hanover used Salsify to relaunch 12 brands online on Walmart (and meet best content practices), and it saw an increase in sales of 260%.

    Take Ownership of Top Grocery Channels

    Your brand doesn't have to wait for annual reports to analyze product-content opportunities. Data on workflows, product page compliance, search engine optimization (SEO) and share of search, and competitive reporting, can and should be evaluated regularly. With this information, you can optimize what consumers see and when. 

    Using the Salsify PXM platform, US pasta manufacturer Barilla was able to optimize its product content and achieve a 59% share of the search results for the keyword "pasta."

    Waiting to align your product page content to consumer expectations will risk sales growth. Forgo plans of other organizational change and put these online-grocery shopping structures into place now to increase market share and brand loyalty.

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