Tag Archives: consumer behavior

Meal Kits Rebound

Meal kits have been around for a number of years. When they first launched, the novelty and ease of use quickly drove the subscriptions up. But sales plateaued as competitors proliferated and differentiation between companies was missing. After all, how many meal subscriptions does a household need? The cost of the first sale was high, and competitors all seemed to be trying to reach the same target market. Growth stalled.

But, the coronavirus pandemic is changing the dynamics of the market once again. With more people staying at home, restaurants closed, and fear of the virus in crowded places such as supermarkets, meal kits are primed for a resurgence. According to Nielsen Research, consumer spending on meal kits in April of this year is nearly double the level from the same period a year ago.

Restaurants also are getting in on the action with Panera Break readying a launch of its own make-your-own salad and sandwich kits. It is being joined by other dining chains such as Denny’s, Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, and others. Doing an Internet search for “meal subscription boxes” brings up dozens of options for meal and snack subscriptions!

Environmental conditions have a big impact.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of environmental scanning in marketing.
  2. What are the environmental factors that are impacting the meal kit industry?
  3. How can meal kit companies use this information to retain and grow their customer base?
  4. Divide students into team. Have each team research one of the following meal kit companies, or another of their choosing:

Hello Fresh: https://www.hellofresh.com/

Home Chef: https://www.homechef.com/

Sun Basket: https://sunbasket.com/

Blue Apron: https://www.blueapron.com/

Freshly: https://www.freshly.com/

  1. How are these companies different? How are they similar? What is the value offered by each company?
  2. Have students build a SWOT analysis chart for the company.

Source: Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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Back to Basics: Toilet Paper

We consumers are a strange bunch. One minute we are buying in a predictable way, at the usual times and in the usual patterns. Then, boom! Suddenly the world changes seemingly overnight and consumers take drastic and unusual shopping actions.

In this case, what was once a stable item – toilet paper – became a hot product in high demand as the coronavirus hit the U.S. According to Nielsen, in the first week of social distancing guidelines, toilet paper demand increased 120% versus the same time last year. Customers began buying toilet paper in bulk and ratcheted up hoarding of the commodity product. This type of reaction is not uncommon during times of stress when consumers feel a need to control at least one aspect of their lives.

Why the shortage though? In part, it is because toilet paper manufacturing and distribution flows through an efficient, tightly-controlled supply chain. Since it is a bulky product to ship and shelve, retailers keep low inventory on-hand and depend on frequent shipments to replenish stock.

On average, the volume a household consumes toilet paper is about 141 rolls per year. But, during the current crisis, consumers are going through more toilet paper at home since more people are working at home and not venturing out to restaurants, retailers, and other out-of-home events.

Be kind. Share.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the elements in the supply chain and marketing channel.
  2. Diagram the supply chain and marketing channel for toilet paper.
  3. Show a brief video about toilet paper supply chain: https://youtu.be/By2mmIUzG-w
  4. Another video choice: https://youtu.be/NiQKvfo3l94
  5. View Cottonelle’s Web site and it’s plea for kindness and sharing: https://www.cottonelle.com/en-us/share-a-square
  6. Where are the stress points in the supply chain and marketing channel?
  7. What can be done to better produce and manage products such as toilet paper during times of crisis?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; Nielsen Research; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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