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Increase in online shopping accelerating race for customer loyalty, research finds

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Increase in online shopping accelerating race for customer loyalty, research finds

The Digital Business Collective is encouraging FMCG brands to invest in their online experiences in order to take back control of their product sales.

London 10th, December, 2020: The Digital Business Collective (DBC), an initiative involving BORN, and dotdigital to help FMCG brands drive direct customer engagement by accelerating digital channels and initiatives, today announces the results of a study which found that the pandemic-induced boom in online sales has left FMCG brands vulnerable - with consumers more likely to buy own-brand products, and less likely to make spontaneous purchasing decisions when grocery shopping online.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers on their grocery shopping habits, found that when grocery shopping in a physical store, four out of five (80%[2]) UK consumers agree they are likely to make a spontaneous in-store purchase from a brand they recognise and trust. This decreases to just three in five (60%) when grocery shopping online. This decrease could be due to the fact that just 16% of consumers cite brand as an important factor in influencing which product they buy when shopping online.

This change in consumer behaviour could present a challenge for many FMCG brands as they try and attract and retain consumer loyalty online. The Office for National Statistics’ revealed that online shopping in the UK has risen by 46% since February[1]. This is a trend that is set to continue as the DBC research uncovered that 23% of consumers will only partially go back to physical stores post-pandemic, while 17% plan to maintain the shopping habits they adopted during lockdown, and a further 17% plan to increase their use of online shopping.

Nicole Wilson, Consultant at the Digital Business Collective said: “COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown drastically changed UK consumers' shopping behaviours, as thousands of people who habitually did in-store shopping for necessities like groceries, began to do it online. We wanted to understand the way in which this shift to online shopping changed the way these consumers interacted with FMCG brands.”

Wilson added: “The results of our survey highlight that FMCG brands face a battle for customer loyalty as online shopping increases, with brands losing control over how their products are sold to consumers. At the Digital Business Collective, we believe this presents an opportunity for FMCG brands. By investing in digital channels, FCMG brands can take back direct control of the way they engage with their customers and can help them to build long lasting customer loyalty.”

“With online shopping set to continue, brands need to ensure that they are able to convert all of their online customers — the loss of a good online customer is expensive. Therefore, it is essential brands don’t fall at the last hurdle and are able to provide a seamless online experience, so consumers remain loyal, and don’t switch to a competing business. DBC is here to help,” commented, Justin Broomes, Strategic Partnerships Manager, dotdigital.

Stephen Waller, Partner and MD of Commerce at Born group added: “The results of this survey highlight both a challenge and opportunity for FMCG brands. As online grocery shopping increases; brands are losing autonomy over the way in which their products are sold in traditional online marketplaces. With consumers set to increase their use of online grocery shopping, brands need to focus on creating their own immersive online channels that cut through the noise and attract digital consumers in order to survive.”

To find out more about how the Digital Business Collective are helping FMCG brands to take back control of their direct customer engagement, visit here: www.digital-business-collective.com.

[1] Rhian Murphy, “Retail Sales, Great Britain: August 2020,” Office for National Statistics, September 18th, 2020,

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/august2020.

[2] “Digital Business Collective: Consumer Buying Habits Study,” Digital Business Collective, December 7th, 2020, www.digital-business-collective.com