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The customer journey is evolving. Evolve with it.

Here’s how to make your high-impact merchandizing unmissable, even as the customer journey has shifted to spending less time in-restaurant. 

With mask mandates being lifted across the nation we’re seeing a stronger push to return to in-person events and dining but some things that shifted over the past two years are probably here to stay. For example, in 2020 alone, we saw a 36% year-over-year increase in drive thru visits, a 68% increase in digital ordering, and a 25% increase in user growth of online food delivery services. Times are changing and the decline of time in-restaurant must be addressed by re-evaluating the customer journey and capitalizing on new customer touchpoints. 

But what could that look like? Smart merchandising at every touch point. This secret weapon is strategically deployed at moments of influence, guides and suggests consumer decisions and is built using YOUR menu, products, and brand. Smart merchandising is flexible to consumer needs and deployable in a variety of scenarios or channels so you can meet the customer wherever they are in their journey.  

Customer journey merchandizing must be: 

1. Seen 

Remember: unseen is unsold. Focus design on your brand’s primary visual assets that are big, bold, and simple. Additionally, prioritize visual elements like colors, shapes, and symbols as they align with how the brain and eye process information. 

Having merchandise in the right places along the customer journey goes a long way. That could look like an intersection of critical decision moments, in adjacent stretch areas that make sense, or even in completely new placements as digital and off-premises continually grows. 

The ideal merchandise placement along the customer journey understands pressures, stress, attention deficit, and consumer behavior. After all, studies show people are exposed to eleven million brand messages each year and at best can only remember maybe two or three things about a brand. So, determine what you want to say and make it seen. 

2. Understood 

Customer journey merchandizing must have a clear next step. Try to understand what motivates a customer and where this intersects with their purchasing journey to create a messaging strategy that incentivizes purchases.  

Consider these questions when building your merchandizing: Are we reinforcing existing habits, capitalizing on new ones, or changing behavior? Is this a value play, limited offering, new offering, or encouraging trial? What are the top behavioral drivers of our target consumer, and are those reflected? Is the messaging succinct and does it call the viewer to action, and is it easy to follow in a world filled with directions? 

76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.

3. Felt 

Use tonality and imagery that reinforces your brand’s distinct character and purpose in a way that resonates with target needs to help you build brand connection through emotion.  

Instead of speaking to who and what, think when and how. Note what type of visceral response you are striving to achieve no matter the ordering channel. 90% of customers expect consistent brand interaction across all channels. Determine whether that looks like humor, novelty, intrigue, confidence and trust, or surprise. Consistency is key. 

4. Remembered 

You must understand your customer and the habits that drive preference, then, reinforce or change them. This could be done through the execution of a frictionless merchandizing experience, ensuring ease of access when ordering or picking up, reducing barriers to trial, using existing behavior and habits to your advantage, and developing a cadence strategy that considers time, location, and mindset to build new habits, or reinforce current ones. 

On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic- 66 days to be exact.

As we continue to adjust to life in a pandemic, it is vital to understand how the change impacts our customers and what we can do to continue providing the best services possible. Customer journey merchandizing is one of many strategies Ad Cucina is ready to help you take on. To see what Ad Cucina can do for you, shoot us a message below!