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  • Can you take a similar online approach to connect with consumers and drive results for your business?

    The crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people around the nation (and the world) live their daily lives. From remote work orders, to online schooling, to web-based fitness sessions, to virtual birthdays, folks of all ages have been forced to adjust to a world in which mandated shelter-in place and social distancing directives have all but eliminated  familiar routines and replaced them with a “new normal.” 

    Businesses are Evolving to Meet Changing Consumer Demands and Behaviors

    Ordering Food Online during COVID-19 Pandemic

    And consumers aren’t the only ones adjusting! Many businesses are adapting on the fly, beefing up ecommerce capabilities and delivery options as local health ordinances and the fear of catching the coronavirus forced many shoppers to remain at home. Take the food industry, for example. Online grocery sales through Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and Peapod saw a hug uptick, as did companies like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats in the meal delivery sector. 

    On the topic of food, one niche area that has experienced a significant change relative to consumer behavior is the snack market – particularly as it relates to shopping for items and consumer demand. 

    Niche Products and Markets Face Challenges but Also See Opportunities

    During the pandemic, demand for snacks has increased, as has the volume of items purchased. And it makes total sense. Leading up to the initial lockdown in March and for a period of time afterward, consumers rushed to nearby stores and shopped online in order to stock up on “essentials” (remember all the toilet paper hoarding?). Those essentials included certain types of food. When the shelter-in-place directive hit and work/school relocated to the home front, traditional eating habits changed somewhat (especially among kids). Factor into the mix that snacks are considered one of the ultimate comfort foods and a go-to elixir during times of stress, and it’s no wonder that the snack market has skyrocketed.

    Inventory and supply chain (i.e., delivery) challenges notwithstanding, the increased demand and changing consumption patterns among snack fanatics has created tremendous opportunities for established brands.    

    Businesses Must Get Creative to Survive the Downturn

    Frito Lay logo - ecommerce site

    One snack-centric company that identified an opportunity early on and pivoted to meet the evolving needs and growing consumer demand was Frito-Lay. According to a Business Insider article, sales of the company’s flagship brands – including Cheetos, Doritos, Lays, and Tostitos – experienced a considerable surge as the pandemic began to hit closer to home during February and March. Turns out, salty snacks sit high atop the list when it comes to food items driving sales growth among retailers, as noted by data from data analytics and market research company, IRI.    

    That was great news for Frito-Lay. But next the company had to figure out – and fast – how to best capitalize on the changing consumption patterns and increased demand among consumers, the majority of whom were at home due to the shelter-in-place ordinance. 

    eCommerce and Internet Marketing Can Rejuvenate Your Business

    One part of this opportunistic solution involved prioritizing resources so retailers could keep Frito-Lay’s top brands in stock and on shelves. That meant reducing the production of non-key brands and reducing/eliminating distribution to non-at-home distribution sites, such as schools, camps, hotels, and restaurants. But the centerpiece of the salty snack strategy was a brand new, direct-to-consumer website – www.snacks.com – through which anyone with internet access and a credit card could seamlessly satisfy each and every Dorito desire and Lays longing.

    The site was launched in 30 days and offered consumers the ability to package up their favorite snack brands in a custom order and have it delivered directly to their door. The site has been a tremendous success and has enabled Frito-Lay to drive business during the health crisis while learning more about their products and consumers at the same time.

    How Can You Leverage Ecommerce, Digital Marketing, and Other Web-based Strategies to Connect with Consumers and Drive Business Results?

    Ecommerce Website Digital Marketing

    While the pandemic may seem to be somewhat subsiding and shelter-in-place restrictions are slowly easing, the behavioral effects of the pandemic – especially when it comes to shopping – will be long-lasting and perhaps even permanent (in some cases). 

    Many consumers who were reluctant to purchase items online were forced to do so during the lockdown and now see the value. Convenience, ease-of-use, advanced technology, product selection/availability, rapid delivery, cost savings – all of these factors will drive more and more users online to purchase a wider range of items.

    As a small business interested in growing, building a brand, and generating more revenue, here are some key elements to consider:

    1. If your business doesn’t have an online presence, consider launching a website (like yesterday!). 
    2. If you have a website, but it doesn’t allow consumers to purchase items online through your site and have them delivered, consider implementing eCommerce functionality (using a platform like Shopify). Contact experienced web designers that will develop the most useful ecommerce site for your business. 
    3. If you’re not leveraging digital marketing techniques to attract more customers, sell more products, and grow your business, consider implementing a customized program. This could include online/social advertising, paid search, Google Ad Words, SEO, mobile optimization, and more.           

    So much to do, but where to start? Exults, a full-service digital marketing company, has helped customers of all sizes across a range of industries with their digital marketing needs. So, if you’re considering launching a website, offering ecommerce capabilities, or need assistance with digital marketing, it’s time to bring in the professionals, and grab your piece of the pie! 

    Ready to Drive Your Marketing Results to the Next Level? Contact Exults Today!

     

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