It’s clear that the direct-to-consumer business just got a big shot in the arm from the shelter-in-place orders that many of us are now living under. Even though these restrictions are temporary, they have trained many new consumers to use online services to order their CPGs and have them delivered. This includes food, beverages, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and other packaged goods.
Many of these new on-line shoppers will never go back to physical shopping. Once they discover the convenience of home delivery, they will rely on it permanently. What does that mean for CPG brand builders? As we have mentioned before, online consumers will tend to stick with the brands they know. They will not be as likely to stumble upon new brands, or make a notion or an impulse buy.
This means, the older, more established brands will get stronger as more and more shopper go to “same-as-last-time” repeat ordering. Sure, there will be more paid pop-ups, paid also-boughts, and paid side-bar advertising.
Did we say paid? Yes, paid! It will be harder for new products to gain traction on-line. There’s no tactile discovery, inspection, or comparison like in a store, it’s just photos. And who wants to shop for a new product that they have never heard of or seen before? It’s going to be tough on new CPG brand builders for these reasons.
So where is the opportunity for new products in this environment? Let’s take a look at some accelerating trends that can give us a big clue:
There has already been a big surge in pre-packaged cook-and-eat or blend-and-drink branded food products, especially “healthy” choices. But now they will get a big boost as consumers will prefer the perceived “safety” of having food delivered rather than exposing themselves at the stores. Ultimately, the producers will have to convince the consumers that their products are safe. The demand is for recyclable, clean, and safe packaging.
One problem we are already seeing is missed, lost, or wrong deliveries. This is especially true of the personal shopper space where someone goes through the store for you and collects and delivers your list of goods directly to you. This job is at the bottom of the pay scale and the folks doing it for financial reasons may not be well trained. The big demand here is for dependable, clean, and safe delivery systems.
House cleaning products and disinfectants will be in increased demand, including soaps, cleaners, and disinfectant wipes and gels. Now that many people are cleaning their own houses, there will be a demand for robotic cleaning machines and devises.
There will also be a big demand for earth-friendly cleaners as sewers and septic systems choke on non-biodegradable and toxic cleaners.
There is already a ridiculous demand for toilet paper. What’s that all about? But whatever, we need more of it evidently and that also goes for tissue, paper towels and the like. How about a machine that eats cardboard and produces paper products? With more home deliveries, we are all drowning in cardboard!
We are stocking up on all the basic needs, from flashlights, to aspirin and band aids to emergency food and drugs. Also batteries of all sizes and shapes will become more In demand, especially as more pandemics and environmental catastrophes show up the limits of the infrastructure. The opportunity is clearly growing for all manner of emergency and survival equipment. For instance, we had to use masks just last fall for the climate change caused fires in our state, now we are using those same masks again in the pandemic. Folks will want to keep a supply of masks around at all times.
Improved cellular service is a must with wider band width as everyone streams at once!
There is already a huge demand for better, more efficient, safer video communications platform. The pandemic shutdown has sent record numbers of people to their screens for social as well as business contact, all at once, overloading the existing systems and exposing them to hackers.
There is a demand for a better video platform that can handle groups without the one-at-a-time protocol that doesn’t exist in physical gatherings, where participants can circulate, mingle, and speak to those they choose to while muting the others.
The pandemic and subsequent recession will create a big demand for the economy size of just about everything. Folks will want to save on volume purchases. This means a couple of things: one, products that are underpriced for their value will be in demand; and, two, producers will be producing more of their products in larger packages.
The trick is now to demonstrate value by entering competitions where your products beat higher priced products. The tides are changing fast from the snobby days of “Nothing good can come in a $5 package” to “What can I buy that delivers $10 worth of value for $5?”
As folks spend more time at home and avoid the hospital and the doctor as much as possible, the demand for health products increases. Folks have to now take responsibility for their own health. They know that has to happen at home. This is creating a big demand for products shown to improve immunity, health, diet, and overall wellbeing.
Exercise equipment is in increasing demand as folks try to stay fit at home. Runners, climbers, and resistance equipment are suddenly in demand.
This is just a small sampling of the opportunities for new products that address the increasing mega trends brought about by pandemics and environmental challenges. In a word, frivolity will die with disposable income. Practicality will grow in demand. What new products can you think of that you wish you had right now? Time to get started! Good luck and stay safe!