Five tips for investing in media in q-commerce | Comment and opinion

Consumer behavior is constantly changing, which means so is the world of commercial media. This can leave some of us unsure of how best to invest our precious media budgets.

A key change, born out of the pandemic, is the growth of the rapid commerce market. But with a return to pre-pandemic shopping habits and tighter budgets, many marketers are wondering: how should I invest in this platform and who should I invest in?

While the market has experienced a period of explosive growth – fueled in large part by the pandemic – it is important to keep in mind that q-commerce is a fast-moving and relatively nascent market with both benefits and challenges.

The good news is that, even in a post-pandemic world, the market has continued to grow year on year, with one in 10 UK households now using q-commerce. Therefore, if you are a brand with SEO and an increased share of your sales come from these platforms, supporting with media budgets might seem logical.

The urban appeal of q-commerce is even more pronounced, with nearly a quarter of Londoners using the services once a week, moving away from the age-old trend of “weekly shops”. This is another advantage: the possibility of reaching new audiences such as the urban and affluent buyer. Add to that the ability to leverage specific buying missions such as buying “distress” diapers or the “meal for tonight” opportunity, and q-commerce can be an effective platform to acquire new buyers and boost conversion.

However, there are challenges. First, estimates on the future size of the market have declined given the cost of living crisis and the anticipated move away from q-commerce impulse buys and back to planned stores. And, even today, q-commerce accounts for a modest proportion of total UK grocery sales, meaning any investment needs to be well thought out and proportionate.

However, for the right products, fulfilling the right missions, q-commerce has a role to play within your media mix.

So what are our top five recommendations for media investment in q-commerce platforms?

1. Be strategic about which partners to invest in

In a fragmented market that has seen the consolidation of multiple players, it’s important to be strategic about which partners you work with. Consider those that have a clear affinity with your brand, whose buyer base matches your target audience, and ideally can report on your media’s performance so you can test and learn.

It is also important not to spread media budgets too much among several partners, but rather to focus on a few.

2. Get notified with campaign planning

The relatively new media areas of q-commerce platforms can pose challenges, and campaign planning is likely to vary from traditional retailers. To get the most out of these partnerships, consider being more creative and planning collaboratively. Setting clear expectations upfront about the level of campaign reporting you will receive will also help you understand performance and ultimately make better investment decisions.

3. Capitalize on Upper Funnel Opportunities

Q-commerce should be considered part of a full funnel connected commerce campaign. Holistic planning will allow you to better capitalize on the q-commerce shopper’s “distress” states of need, directing them to the app to complete the purchase.

4. Don’t expect good ROI from the start

It is important to keep in mind that investing in q-commerce will have to work very hard to deliver a positive ROI for your brand. However, it can help you achieve a number of other campaign goals more easily.

Although impressions may be more limited compared to other channels, the powerful targeting capabilities of q-commerce apps can help you reach exactly the right target audience.

Additionally, the ability to leverage specific “missions,” coupled with the demand for immediate delivery, means shoppers may be more willing to try new products, which can prove effective in acquiring new customers. The frictionless experience of in-app ordering and lightning-fast delivery can also provide a positive brand experience for shoppers.

5. Partner With Brands To Exploit Different Missions

This is a key opportunity within q-commerce. Take the upcoming Qatar World Cup, for example: with some matches being played in the middle of the day, shoppers might not want to leave their homes to visit the store. Next is q-commerce, through which brands can partner to provide shoppers with an easy and convenient solution to get a selection of their favorite drinks and snacks delivered just in time for launch.

It remains to be seen how sustainable the operating model of q-commerce is from a profitability perspective. Labor and passenger operating costs mean high value orders are needed just to break even. As a result, we expect to see the continued consolidation of super-fast q-commerce players.

In addition, a turbulent economic landscape and the cost of living crisis means there is uncertainty about the remaining demand for q-commerce services, as people return to traditional weekly shopping lists and priorities move from convenience to value.

Nevertheless, even taking into account the most adverse impact of the cost of living crisis, the q-commerce market is expected to grow from today to 2030. Consumer demand for these services is also clear: q-commerce platforms are now partnering with retailers (Deliveroo and Uber Eats have partnered with Waitrose, Co-op and Asda), and traditional retailers are even investing in their own fast delivery offerings to compete.

In summary, if investing in q-commerce is right for your brand, invest with caution. And while the future of the market is uncertain, rest assured that there is a great opportunity to test and learn in this exciting and rapidly changing field of retail.

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