The global Covid-19 pandemic has seen a jolt in the Australian FMCG industry that has left many industry players wondering if the game has been permanently altered. Customer demands are shifting and the retail environment has become more complex and fluid than ever before, leaving grocery retailers little option but to adapt rapidly and meet customer expectations at scale.
This seismic evolution in FMCG has brought about marked changes in the landscape, building a broad awareness amongst consumers of the advantages of e-commerce – ranging from the convenience of purchase to the prospect of speedy deliveries. This growing interest saw the digital sector growing 22.3 per cent in Australia last year, with more than 61 per cent of Australians now citing e-commerce as their preferred method of shopping.
Whilst younger Gen-Z and millennial buyers have been comfortable with online shopping for some time, the forces of the pandemic have prompted customers across the board to want to engage with brands on their own terms, channels and devices – which has seen social media and social commerce growing rapidly in importance. PayPal’s 2019 mCommerce Index revealed 27 per cent of Australians shop via social media, a figure that rose by 17.9 per cent following the advent of Covid-19.
The massive growth of e-commerce due to Covid-19 and the emergence of social commerce is nudging Australian businesses to deliver more robust digital self-service options for their clients, including chatbots that communicate with shoppers about their questions and inquiries in more human ways and digital concierges that guide customers in product selection and checkout. Brands are also under pressure to expand their digital channels for younger demographics – the so-called digital natives – who expect to be able to engage with a brand and get information via their preferred digital channels. While 63 per cent of Australian businesses used social media to engage in two-way conversations with customers and connections last year, live chat, voice assistants (such as Siri and Alexa), and messaging platforms (such as Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp) will need to be included in the digital channel mix going forward.
Regardless of the touchpoint, customers now expect the same prompt, personalised and consistent experience at every stage along a customer journey that cuts across both offline and online channels. They require uniformity in the information they’re provided – whether offline or online – and trust that they will not have to repeat themselves when they’re in contact with customer service and are passed from one agent to another.
Meeting these new consumer expectations across every channel requires the adoption of advanced CX systems capable of truly meeting customer needs. Whether in terms of marketing, commerce, conversion or care, retailers’ CX solution should provide brands with a single view of engagement with the consumer across all channels – including phone, email, SMS, live chat, social media and messaging platforms.
Emplifi CX Cloud systems are designed to meet the needs of digital consumers today in the wake of the ongoing upheaval in the industry. Our unified CX platform offers a single source of truth across an organisation, empowering brands to meet fast-changing customer expectations across all touchpoints. This means that different teams will have access to the same information and data about the customer to offer a consistent experience no matter the touchpoint. This single source of truth across various departments within an organisation also allows for better collaboration between teams.
Likewise, the Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud platform delivers a similar unity in consumer experience for a subset of e-commerce that is expected to proliferate markedly in Australia by 2025 with a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.3 per cent and a projected market volume of AU$50.235 billion. With social media stores positioned as the next frontier for B2C brands to stay ahead of the game, social commerce is fast becoming the point of focus to connect, convert and monetise today’s shoppers.
Australian FMCG players cannot afford to miss out on emerging opportunities in social commerce. With social media already playing such an important part of consumer product discovery and brand affinity journeys, online stores built into platforms such as Facebook and Instagram ensure consumers will be able to make purchases from the brands they love on these channels, with checkout and payment options directly available in the solution. Brands will need to increasingly expand from their own direct-to-consumer e-commerce websites to also offering purchasing options natively across shops from multiple social media platforms – including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest.
Emplifi’s CX platform comprises the Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud, Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud, and Emplifi Service Cloud. It also includes powerful livestream shopping capabilities from the recent acquisition of Go Instore. Learn more at www.emplifi.io.
About the author: Varun Sharma is VP JAPAC at Emplifi.