Catering to shoppers’ needs has always been a challenge, but several factors have made it a moving target. Today’s shoppers are intentional about what they consume and how they spend their money. This conscious consumption fragments the marketplace as each shopper expects to find products that meet their personal preferences and values. In response, manufacturers have accelerated innovation so that no shopper is overlooked, creating an ongoing cycle of innovation as new preferences constantly arise. All of this is taking place as eCommerce expands its reach into groceries, bringing transparency and ease of use to shoppers. Retailers have no choice but to identify and respond to all these changes if they want to compete in today’s marketplace.
Consider the variety of milk options readily available—traditional dairy, oat, soy, pea, hemp, almond, etc.—and how each option fulfills a different shopper’s preference. Multiply that product diversity across every department and retailers can begin to feel overwhelmed as they try to stay current with shifting trends. This explosion in product variety is part of the larger trend of conscious consumption, the de facto mindset for shoppers who are seeking products that align with their dietary needs, lifestyle preferences, and values.
Modern Commerce Has Become Complex
Conscious consumers made the entire food and beverage industry notice the value of stocking items that are better for personal health, better for the planet, better for society, and better for animals. For example, of the 71,000 new brands introduced within SPINS-tracked channels in 2021, over 65% were in the health and wellness space. SPINS data also found that products with health and wellness attributes were among the fastest-growing over the last year:
- Paleo grew 19%
- Grain free and pasture raised grew 17%
- Cage free grew 16%
- Grass-fed and animal welfare grew 15%
Not long ago, those items were only found in specialty retailers or a portion of an aisle in a conventional retailer. Today, they are readily available across all types of brick-and-mortar and online retailers. The rise of eCommerce means shoppers can reach for their phones and search for any product at any store, at a direct-to-consumer seller, or with an online megastore. Retailers are forced to adapt to changing preferences, products, and technology.
Product Intelligence Gives Power to Retailers
Retailers can remain competitive in this complex and fragmented marketplace by using Product Intelligence, which is data that looks at products beyond just the labels. Product Intelligence serves as a single source of truth that includes product imagery, ingredients, nutrition facts, certifications, claims, and product attributes that aren’t always explicitly stated. This data allows retailers to optimize their assortments and adapt quickly to meet shopper preferences and ultimately increase share of wallet.
Speed is of the essence in modern commerce, and automation allows retailers to keep pace with innovation. That is all possible because of automation that is built into the foundation of Product Intelligence.
With Product Intelligence, retailers can achieve 3 important tasks behind the scenes and see the benefits in the checkout line:
- Connecting Product Assortment to Personal Preferences: Retailers need the necessary data to increase shopper discoverability and expand their assortment to meet customer needs. When shoppers base their buying habits on preferences, they opt for stores with the right product assortment for themselves. Data that enables retailers to stock the optimal choices—whether the exact items shoppers seek or comparable alternatives—is crucial to connect products with personal preferences.
- Streamlining Speed to Market: Product Intelligence’s automation goes beyond the label to enrich scanned data with additional attributes based on ingredients and nutrition information. In turn, data onboarding is a quick process and ensures current information is always accessible and actionable.
- Maximizing Activation Through Flexibility: Modern commerce is dynamic, and retailers need technology needs that is just as responsive. Product Intelligence lets retailers pivot when a new trend emerges or leverage data to enhance their eCommerce platform. An investment in Product Intelligence provides endless use cases without adding endless costs.
Select the Right Product Intelligence Solution
Modern commerce is exciting, and it is certainly not going to slow down soon. Product Intelligence is and will continue to be the smartest resource a retailer can have to differentiate themselves, meet shopper preferences, and grow. Learn more about SPINS Product Intelligence and find out why it is the right fit for retailers of any size.