22 June 2021

Digital is the new front door for brands in the customer-led era

It is no understatement to say that Australians have fundamentally changed their shopping behaviour over the past twelve months. Woolworths Group’s media business, Cartology partnered with FMCG research consultancy Advantage Group to survey 40 of Australia’s FMCG leaders on their view of the evolving landscape of customer needs and engagement. Their resounding response was that digital is the new front door of retail business, and the new world is a customer led one. And that’s backed by Woolworths’ own insights too.

In a 3-part series Woolworths, Cartology and brands will discuss how the industry is responding to a year of customer transformation. View the first in the series below.

The volume of consumers who have flocked online to browse, seek inspiration, shop, and transact is bigger than anything Woolworths has seen before.

Digital is fast becoming the new front door to Woolworths - and that’s true for both e-commerce and in-store customers. Woolworths.com.au experienced a 55% increase in digital traffic in the second half of 2020 with around 60% of its customers who shop in-store starting their shopping journey online or in apps. Two in five customers connect with Woolworths digitally every week.  

Woolworths has unearthed some important insights when it comes to how people shop today. Shopping journeys are no longer linear. Customers research the latest specials in its digital catalogue, check for personalised specials on the Rewards app, search recipes and build meal plans, check the real-time QTracker tool to find a quieter time to shop, or navigate their local store with the sort-by-aisle shopping list feature in Woolworths’ app.

Stores will remain the cornerstone of Woolworths. But the way customers interact with them will change and the focus is on building great digital products that enhance the experience in-store.

Woolworths believes retailers that put the digital needs of customers first and invest in truly great experiences will be rewarded for it with increased loyalty.

Customers are demanding fast, safe ways to shop, with more inspiring, relevant experiences, and better value. Convenience has become increasingly important – whether it is a short, specific window, or those who ‘want it now’. They are looking for real time anticipation of their needs to help save time.

Personalised, connected, and consistent journeys across the ecosystem are key, with an omnichannel experience based on personal preferences. All aspects of customers’ online journeys need to be relevant - from content, like recipes and product recommendations, to value offers and rewards.

Woolworths draws on a rich base of insight to deeply understand how to create better experiences for customers – based on trends around where, when and how they prefer to shop.

Activating the digital ecosystem to deliver a seamless, connected customer experience and engage more effectively - in relevant ways and at appropriate times - is a huge opportunity for brands. 

It’s important to be open to change and  ready to adapt - if 2020 taught brands anything it’s that they need to be prepared to pivot based on changing environments and customer needs. The pace of change may not be the same but it is crucial brands continue to tailor digital experiences to put customers first.

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