October 2021

Convenience Store Categories – Are You Ready for the Rebound?

3 m Read
Category: Retail
Read Time: 3 minutes

Despite the challenges presented to businesses in the past year and a half, one somewhat bright spot has been performance in convenience stores. Thanks to recognition of c-stores as an essential business, nationwide they were able to grow sales in edible and non-edible grocery, general merchandise and health and beauty categories.

Much of this growth can be contributed to safety concerns, as c-stores may not have been as crowded, and had fewer out-of-stocks than the larger format retailers. So, what steps need to be taken to ensure c-stores continue this upward trajectory? Here are a few suggestions, based on Convenience Store News’ Industry Report 2021:

1. Make customer safety a primary focus.

While you may not have the space to reinvent placement and/or floor layout, you can make small changes that help customers enjoy a safer experience. Review your flow to ensure your shoppers have room to stay distanced, with visible cues, such as policy signage, sanitization stations, etc. to show the ways you are protecting your shoppers’ health.

2. Make a connection.

COVID isolation has been difficult for most people. The lack of social interaction, as well as staying at home for long periods have added to general stress and the feeling of going “stir crazy”. Even the most introverted of introverts are seeking human interaction.

On top of that, there is a continued labor shortage, which means you cannot afford to ignore your employees’ wellbeing as they take care of your customers. Along with the increase in wages, there are small changes, including regular training and physical support when interacting with customers, to help employees feel secure while working with occasionally sensitive or irritable customers.

3. Provide a faster experience.

After the last year and a half, the explosion of online shopping has given consumers the expectation of fast responses from online ordering, requiring many to become accustomed to same-day or next-day shipping. Speed has become an expectation. This, combined with a general shopper desire to not be in close proximity of other customers for long periods of time, a quicker check-out experience is paramount.

One simple change in-store can impact these suggestions together, possibly improving the way your business runs in the future. By replacing the plain black and white retail price/description tags on shelves with a color image shelf strip of the product, retail outlets can improve their speed and quality of shopper visits. How?

First, customers typically go into a store knowing what they need. The ability to quickly locate the product and match it with the correct retail price can be the difference between a seamless transaction and clogging an aisle (with frustration and possible purchase abandonment). Further, image tags/strips have proven to reduce out of stocks and face-overs. Image tags ensure that your layout matches your planogram and the items customers want are in stock and in the correct location, giving the customer a better experience overall.

Next, with today’s current labor shortage, many chains are running into issues securing professional reset crews to stock their shelves in a timely manner. Utilizing image strips allows a store to utilize existing staff to reset shelves without requiring the expertise or time required to read detailed planogram layouts. Your employees can spend more time taking care of customers rather than managing the supply on shelves. Also, the register operates more effectively because customers will not need to fill the check-out area to verify prices that are not clear on the shelf.

Finally, image strips and tags enable the customer to quickly and easily find the product and price, which enables a smoother transaction that helps to naturally provide a faster and easier shopping experience for your customers.

Plus, in addition to all these benefits listed, many of the costs related to creating image strips and tags can be offset by outsourcing the cost of image strips/tags to vendors. Your customers win, your employees win, and you win, all at no additional cost and minimal effort to you. (Be sure to check with your vendor partners for details on their funding programs for image strips and tags!)

All in all, while the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 have been difficult for everyone, c-stores have had some early successes by making it easy for shoppers to find and purchase the items they need. And a good store layout, with shelf edge programs that include images on product strips, have helped to drive more sales in this category.

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eCommerce in Canada: Growing at the Right Time

3 m Read
Category: eCommerce
Read Time: 3 minutes

The past two years in Canadian retail have been difficult to say the least, given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. If there was a potential bright spot for brands and retailers during this time, it was that shoppers took to online purchases well. And 2021 looks to continue growing—eCommerce is now considered a “primary growth driver of retail” in Canada, according to eMarketer .

In the past, the Canada market was quite different than its North American counterpart to the south, as online purchasing was in the single digits as a share of overall sales. However, in the last year, Canada eCommerce sales reached 12.7% share of total retail sales—the first time to reach double digits—in 2020. Comparatively speaking, United States eCommerce sales accounted for 14% of overall retail  sales. So even though Canadian consumers still buy in-store more than their U.S. counterparts, the gap has shrunk. And while the U.S. showed strong year-over-year growth (32%), Canada’s jump (75%) represented the second highest growth rate in the world, behind only Argentina.

 

Retail Ecommerce Retail Ecommerce Sales

 

What does this mean for brands and retailers? This means that there is growing acceptance of shoppers to consider products and purchase them without visiting a place in person, even though there is still room to grow. As more people become more at ease with researching and buying online, the brands and retailers that present the most welcoming and engaging product pages will enjoy more and better sales growth.

Toys: A Seasonal Staple

One especially hot category for these final months of the year is toys, with holiday gift-giving helping drive that demand. For brands selling in Canada, this represents an added opportunity by creating an engaging environment for shoppers to experience the products virtually.

And with the flexibility that online product pages can provide, there are great options for creative ways to engage shoppers and move them from browsers to buyers. For example, for  —the rich media and brand-building assets that go beyond basic product description—there’s a secondary potential increase in sales. Toy brands, on average, experience a 19% increase in conversions when shoppers engage with rich content presented on a product page. So, for a brand that’s not leveraging Enhanced Content—or a retailer that’s not enabling it on their site—you are missing out on sales.

Lifts in sales conversion can go even higher in the toy category, when specific features such as video galleries are added to the mix. Syndigo saw lifts as much as 43% from shoppers who engaged with a video gallery online. And in a category like toys—where creativity and imagination are part of the excitement—creating that feeling online with Enhanced Content can be just the thing to push sales higher.

Get it Before the Holiday Rush

Given the benefits of adding Enhanced Content to a product page, both brands and retailers in Canada should be considering these capabilities before the busiest shopping time of the year. Based on the current trends and projections, online shopping will continue to grow, and those companies who establish themselves now will take share from those that don’t.

Here are three steps that both brands and retailers should consider to make sure they are leveraging online content:

  • First, make sure the Core Content is complete, accurate, and built to retailer taxonomies (if you are a Syndigo client, we help to ensure that).
  • Next, add in the Enhanced Content capabilities to drive more conversions: everything from Engaging Hero images to interactive hot spots, 360-spin images, video carousels, and more. These are the things that convert more people.
  • Finally, track page and product performance to measure the impact of these widgets. By experimenting and tweaking the mix of content, you can make the most of all content online.

Syndigo can help both retailers and brands in Canada drive more sales, more efficiently, through a mix of complete Core information and the engaging capabilities of Enhanced Content. The toy category is especially suited for more developed product pages, given the engaging nature of the products. However, brands and retailers should consider how Enhanced Content capabilities can benefit products across all categories. Learn more about Syndigo Enhanced Content here, and see how the toy category can benefit here.

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Boost CPG eCommerce Experiences with Enhanced Content

3 m Read
Category: Enhanced Content
Read Time: 3 minutes

The world of consumer-packaged goods (CPG) is a large one. From electric toothbrushes to lipstick, there’s always something for consumers to shop for in the CPG category. Ironically, one of the biggest benefits of shopping online for these items can also be the biggest challenge: endless assortment options. That’s why CPG brand owners know the importance of ensuring their products stand out from the competition.

Sifting through the choices

CPG brands need to identify their “wow factor” to pop in the crowded market. Moreover, they need to be able to communicate every last detail about their product for full transparency. Especially with the growing eCommerce activity, providing interactive content in lieu of an in-person experience is increasingly important.

Experience 30% conversion lift with Enhanced Content

Today’s digital shoppers crave product content that demonstrates exactly what they can expect from the item, helping them narrow down their options to a specific style, shade, or application. In the end, this means better buying decisions, reduced return rates, and higher sales.

Guarantee 100% visibility of your content with Engaging Hero

 

Bringing your products to life with Enhanced Content

Through the use of the Engaging Hero and In-Line Content from Syndigo’s Content Experience Hub (CXH), CPG brands can effectively create an immersive online product experience. Knowing that shoppers seek convenience, rich content like demonstration videos, lifestyles images, comparison charts, and other interactive elements can make the shopping experience—and the purchasing choice—that much simpler.

Drive conversion as much as 390% by leveraging engaging content

  • Engaging Content

As a CPG manufacturer, just submit your brand assets once to publish them in Syndigo’s retailer-optimized layouts and to syndicate to the recipients you need—all while maintaining full data accuracy.

19% conversion lift with comparison tables

 

Highlight when & how to use your product to drive trial, customer satisfaction, and conversion

  • Boost CPG eCommerce Experiences

 

Add recipes or pairing recommendations to entice purchase and add to the basket size

 

Demonstrate the steps needed to properly use the product

 

Keep your content fresh each season

 

Connect with your shopper—tell them your story!
  • Enhanced Content
We’ve been in the business of helping companies manage, validate, optimize, syndicate, and elevate their product content for two decades. Serving Enhanced Content to amplify the shopping experience is a key part of that equation. With a recipient network of over 650+ sites, partnering with over 1,000 brands, and delivering over 3.5 million impressions a year, you can trust us to support your brand launch, provide guidance, and measure success along the way.

Start leveraging Enhanced Content for your CPG products today!

 

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