You just launched a new plant-based food product in the market. You are eager to get your new product SKU stocked on the shelves at retailers across the country but then you realize one thing...It’s SO MUCH HARDER than you originally thought. You have a tough time convincing major retailers that your product is worth a look because you don’t have sufficient evidence to back up your claims. It seems like the only way to convince retail (Big-Box) buyers is using the old “pay-to-play” method which significantly hurts your bottom line.
Over the past century(Pre-COVID), our industry (CPG) seemed to be one of the “unlucky” industries that relied heavily on retailers to sell goods and unfortunately it came with a lack of useful customer data that you may need to survive and thrive among the sea of competition in this day and age.
Virtual space is much easier to come by than physical retail space. However, whether you choose Big Box retail as your channel of distribution or online retail like Amazon - both are MAJOR hoarders of first party data.
The problem this poses for emerging brands (especially) is first party data means everything to early stage brands. This is the data that can inform key product decisions that help your business not only survive but thrive!
Additionally, first party data can help prove brand growth and success which only helps with category expansion - something every brand strives for in gaining more shelf space.
Amazon owns nearly 50% of all e-commerce in the United States. Amazon has such a stronghold in the market that most consumers continue to spend a majority of their shopping time. This leaves CPG brands with little to no choice but to sell on Amazon in order to maximize their online customer reach.
To answer the original question, No - Amazon is not your friend when it comes to first-party data. They too have a key competitive advantage which is being the masters of collecting and interpreting mountains of first-party consumer data. This data is how they deliver hyper-targeted marketing and offer personalized product recommendations. (In fact, in Jebbit’s research on trust and consumer data, consumers ranked Amazon as the most trusted company, suggesting that it’s not how much information companies collect but how they use it to benefit the consumer that cultivates consumer trust).
Amazon has also taken over the grocery industry with their recent Whole Foods acquisition and are doubling down on their private label brands. Their competitive advantage of first-party data can certainly be a big disadvantage for you as a brand and without that data you can’t create elevated personalized shopper experiences for your customers like Amazon can.
Simple - Sampoll!
Sampling campaigns can generate mountains of first-party data, and is an often overlooked tactic when marketers think about brand activation strategy.
This is a simple work around where your brand has the opportunity to interact directly with customers and collect as many data points as you can. By creating experiences that are meant to elicit volunteered information—or declared data—marketers can seek the exact insights they need instead of proxies for that information.
What might this look like in practice? The martech startup, Sampoll is currently helping CPG brands with both their in-store and online customer data collection.
How to collect first party data In-Store with Sampoll
You can collect valuable first-party data with Sampoll’s Staff/Ambassador reporting application for in-store demos. This mobile tool makes it easy for your in-store demo staff to easily input customer feedback on your product and collect other pertinent information “in the field” like opt-in emails from customers so you can follow up with personalized offers/recommendations based on what product they tasted at your demo! Sampoll’s intelligent reporting dashboard automatically shows actionable customer data to you in near “real-time”.
Digital Engagements with Sampoll XM
Sampoll XM offers custom-tailored “customer activation” experiences such as branded pulse polls, virtual wine tastings, cooking experiences and guided meditations so CPG brands can seamlessly gauge consumer interest in your brand and the products you are offering.
Sampoll XM offers templatized digital quiz-like experiences that are fun and can lead consumers to personalized product recommendations based on their lifestyle and preferences. Even Sampoll’s Conversational Bot Experiences can become one of the most engaging experiences for consumers with a proper branded facelift and an attractive user interface. The possibilities on Sampoll XM are vast and will help gather customer insights CPG marketers only dreamed of before tools like Sampoll existed!
Retailers may own the customer experience at the point of sale, but that doesn’t have to block CPG brands from forging relationships with consumers directly. It’s time to turn to “declared data” to power your customer journey!
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