The Consumer Lens: Refocusing in a blurred channel landscape

By Integration Consulting

The past two years have seen consumers make unprecedented shifts to new channels. Whether these changes in behaviour will persist is a fiercely debated issue that will not be resolved until the longer-term reality of the situation is clear. Even pre-COVID, while people were not shifting channels completely, the lines between them already starting to blur with consumers traversing channels as part of the same purchase.

Three tendencies have led to further channel blurring:

  • Where we buy health and beauty products from has become less defined – Expansion beyond traditional mass market and specialist retailers to increasingly include other store types such as clothing and homeware. This is compounded by players in other categories entering the health and beauty space (e.g. Lululemon).
  • Online retailers are meeting more of our needs – These now go to great lengths to replicate the physical health & beauty consumer experience, offering returns, virtual try-outs etc.
  • Ever-broader definition of a sales channel – Anywhere a target consumer is spending their time is effectively a sales channel. We should therefore consider Instagram, TikTok, Amazon Alexa and even games as channels where companies should be engaging target consumers with meaningful and well-received content.

With this blurring of channels, the very concept of a “channel” as a way to organize your sales efforts and go-to-market strategies is losing significance. What matters now is where consumers choose to spend their time and what journey they take to engage with your brands.

For companies, the key questions include: Are you present in these spaces? Or are you losing share?

To navigate this emerging landscape, the present report aims to offer practical guidance to support your business in refocusing on the consumer. Integration Consulting have used the health & beauty industry to provide examples of dynamics that apply to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) more widely.

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