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Q&A: What brands need to adapt to today’s unpredictable and accelerating pace of change

Q&A: What brands need to adapt to today’s unpredictable and accelerating pace of change
(Image credit: Image: Adobe Stock)

This post is sponsored by Acosta.

As the pandemic has spurred a shift in the shopper journey to become increasingly digital, manufacturers and retailers have been forced to adapt, and adapt quickly. In this interview, Acosta Chief Growth Officer John Carroll discusses the changes that the grocery retail industry has experienced over the past year, and what brands — and Acosta — are doing to keep pace with the changing landscape.


Who is Acosta and how has Acosta adapted to keep pace with changes in the industry?

Acosta connects people with the brands they love acting as a go-to-team for integrated, best-in-class sales and marketing solutions. We enable clients to win in the modern marketplace by delivering progressive solutions and exceptional service. 

Given the unpredictable and accelerating pace of change, it is critical to have a go-to-team that enables you to win. Acosta is 100% focused on providing sales, marketing, and commercial solutions to drive client and retailer businesses. We provide selling solutions to get the product on the shelf, commercial services to proactively influence the shopper at the digital and physical shelf and marketing to get the product off the shelf. Across the path to purchase Acosta provides simple, transparent, scalable integrated solutions to meet client and retailer needs. Acosta helps you stay a step ahead, anticipate and act on evolving shopper needs and fuel improved performance.

What changes have occurred in the industry that have caused a change in the shopper journey?

The pandemic has created years of change in just one short year. The key industry changes are an increase in omnichannel retailing, focus on health and wellbeing, urbanization of America, income bifurcation, growing shopper diversity and an accelerated sustainability focus.  These industry shifts impact brands and retailers as they change the shopper journey and the path to purchase. With all of these shifts, the most significant is the shift to an increasingly digital shopper journey.

As the shopper journey and path to purchase become increasingly digital, what are the most important things for brands to consider?

Acosta works with all clients utilizing our Acosta CARTS™ model to optimize the digital shelf. The Acosta CARTS™ process is a creative, results-driven solution to drive engagement for the “always on” shopper and focuses on five key components:

  1. Content: Digital shelf content is all of the imagery, product text, video and descriptions that are used to present content to shoppers; 
  2. Availability: Having the right brands, packages and pricing in stock all of the time; 
  3. Ratings and Reviews: The actual consumer reviews and star ratings of actual product and service experiences; 
  4. Traffic: Using targeted digital media with shop now functionality; 
  5. Search: The way shoppers narrow down their set of product results by interactively searching for and retrieving requested information-can be either Organic or Paid. 

The content improves conversion, and the availability delivers assortment and in-stock options, which drives consumer satisfaction. The ratings and reviews improve search, brand trust and placement; the traffic drives awareness and conversion; and the search placement drives findability, which ultimately drives performance results for clients.

The Acosta CARTS™ process drives client results across all e-commerce and digital solutions through cutting-edge digital shelf optimization, product and packaging innovation, reputation management support, digital brand awareness creation, demand generation, rich analytical capabilities and unmatched deduction and backroom support.

How does Acosta help clients drive purchases along this new shopper journey?

Acosta helps brands as a scalable, focused, proactive extension of the client team focused on accelerating results. Acosta’s i4 process utilizes:

  • insights to keep clients a step ahead;
  • influence to win the ties for client business;
  • integration across the path to purchase;
  • and impact to deliver plans and beyond. 

Overall, Acosta has a robust roadmap of capabilities, including data analytics and visualization, retailer visibility, supply chain planning, advanced retail services and image recognition and AI. All of Acosta’s capabilities drive growth for manufacturers in the new omnichannel environment.]

John Carroll is chief growth officer at Acosta. He has more than 30 years of experience and success in CPG, food and beverage, and packaging and manufacturing. Carroll has held numerous senior leadership positions in brand, sales, commercial, general management and operations. Before joining Acosta, he was general manager and vice president of e-commerce for Coca-Cola. Carroll earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and communications from Florida State University and a Certificate in Advanced Financial Management from Emory University. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards for his work, including Winner of Best Global Advertising for Sprite and Supplier of The Year for several customers.