TGG is always curious about the innovative ways brands are staying relevant and fostering resilience in today’s uncertain environments. While we previously discussed the fundamental importance of investing in eCommerce strategies for both B2C and B2B organizations, this past year’s dramatic shift in the consumer landscape has also inspired new avenues of growth beyond investing in digital capabilities.
“While digital innovation is extremely important, all companies see this as a necessity and therefore, in order to differentiate against competition, brands need to find a different way to showcase their value. Especially in a time where there are evolving and new consumer needs, it’s important that brands evaluate their innovation roadmap to ensure that their plans meet consumers where they are and where they will be post-pandemic.” – Grace Cho, TGG Strategist, Lean Growth
Below, we take a look at some notable product and service extensions taking place in a wide range of industries:
Expanding Service Offerings
As this last year ramped up last-mile delivery services and curbside pickup, grocers like Jewel Osco are taking a stab at new ways to reach their shoppers with self-serve grocery pick-up locations. This comes in the wake of consumers’ desire for quick, safe, and convenient shopping experiences– and the enhanced convenience piece is expected to stay around this upcoming year. Fresh Market is emphasizing their stellar customer service focus with the recent launch of The Friendliest Curbside Experience in America.
Big box stores have also looked to extending their service offerings to customers in the coming year. Walmart recently announced a partnership with Ribbit capital, backer of fintech orgs Affirm, Credit Karma, and Gusto, citing plans to expand their financial services offerings to shoppers through the creation of their own fintech startup. Walmart is finding a way to expand beyond its main markets, and further serve a population of consumers who have not previously had traditional banking experiences.
Leveraging Unused Products
In other instances, companies are finding themselves in excess of products they aren’t sure what to do with. This was the impetus behind American Airlines’ new wine delivery service. As COVID-19 has impacted the ability for airlines to serve beverages on flights, AA has found a way to leverage unused wine in their inventory. And the reason goes beyond new revenue streams as it envelops customer experience and engagement.
“‘Though revenue is important, Flagship Cellars is moreso a way of engaging with customers, even when they are not traveling with us…” -Jackie Wattles, CNN
Last year, restaurant chains such as Subway and Panera started their own grocery stores to make use of perishable items that weren’t being used in their kitchens due to lockdowns. They saw an opportunity to provide users with the quick and safe experience they desired.
And Subway continues to find even more new revenue streams with their recent partnership announcement with Broadstreet Licensing Group, a brand licensing firm, suggesting that shoppers may soon see Subway branded items in the grocery aisle. This crossover for restaurants into both grocery and big box stores alike is a trend that Tiffany Samuels, Sr. Project Consultant, Menu & Packaging at Chick-Fil-A, predicted in a Courageous Minds Only conversation we hosted in July of last year. Since then, Chick-Fil-A has started selling their highly coveted Chick-Fil-A Sauce and Polynesian sauce in retailers across the country.
Other brands took the opportunity this past year to place bets on creative product line additions. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, found a unique opportunity to tap into the pet care category with their launch of Doggy Desserts, as consumers are spending more time at home with their furry friends. And personal care brand Harry’s recently announced the addition of a deodorant and antiperspirant line to their offerings, despite the category seeing a decline in sales over the past year. In a recent interview with Retail Brew, Harry’s General Manager, Jaime Crespo, cites that the overwhelming consumer demand for these products from the brand was the driving factor behind the launch:
“‘This has been the most-requested product ever in the history of Harry’s,’ Crespo said… 1,600+ customers wrote in or called Harry’s to campaign for sweat control products.” –Halie Lasavage, Retail Brew
During this time of uncertainty, companies are taking sometimes bold and courageous steps to stay relevant to consumers beyond just having a strong digital presence, and that proactive thinking will come in handy as brands move to stay relevant in a post-pandemic world.
How is your organization thinking about innovating beyond eCommerce? What is one bold step you are wanting your brand to take in order to stay top-of-mind to consumers? Here at The Garage Group, we help BigCos courageously innovate in uncertain consumer landscapes. Get in touch with us>>