Elsewhere we have explored some of the wider social impacts of advances in transport technology. Here we are going to consider how new mobility patterns will influence impulsive purchasing behaviour, and the impact this will have on consumer packaged goods.

When products are successful at interrupting consumers in their everyday lives, they are more likely to initiate impulsive behaviour, whereby they see a product and buy it with little or no forethought. This behaviour is typically applicable to food and beverage brands whose products are most commonly purchased in physical supermarkets, local convenience stores and petrol stations to name a few.

Changes in transport will generate new mobility patterns, new behaviours and new locations in which people interact with products and services, therefore, we need to ask ourselves some new questions. 

What becomes of the impulse purchases that currently take place in the humble petrol station, if petrol stations cease to exist? If consumers are re-charging their electric vehicles at new locations and more people are using mobility services to switch to door-to-door transport, what will become of the impulse purchases that currently take place in local convenience stores near bus stops and train stations? How can food and beverage brands which are often impulse buys find new ways of interrupting consumers so they can interact with brands outside of these traditional retail locations?

As the current system in which public transport and private cars are distinct. This gives way to increased car-sharing and other models of car usage, the implications for impulse purchasing is huge. If drop-off / pick-up areas replace parking spaces at popular destinations, then new retail opportunities present themselves. 

Whilst we must accept that companies like Ocado and AmazonFresh are disrupting the wider consumer packaged goods sector by providing online services to purchase such products, which will decrease footfall in physical retail locations such as supermarkets. The introduction of new transport systems will further radically alter the way we buy products such as soft drinks, snacks and confectionery. Therefore, to increase brand awareness and drive sales, brands will need to identify new opportunities to meet consumers impulse needs. 

The most forward thinking businesses will look beyond meeting consumer demand for ease and convenience, and strive to create new meaningful moments between consumers and their products. They will need to appreciate innovations in all kinds of fields, including new forms of mobility. They will then have to identify relevant unmet needs in people’s everyday lives, and develop propositions, which engage and excite consumers with new moments and occasions to interact with their products. 

We’ve suggested a few speculative scenarios about how changing mobility patterns can lead to new retail moments.





Stocked and ready

MyCar is an invented car hire service which offers personalised micro-sharing experiences and free floating drop–off and collection by MyCar drivers. MyCar partner with a range of brands to enhance their customers experience by offering food, drinks, entertainment and relaxation services. 

Ava is organising a weekend trip with her boyfriend to the wine yards in Surrey to celebrate her birthday. She decides to hire a MyCar for the special occasion, to be delivered to her house on Saturday morning. The MyCar car arrives at Ava’s house promptly. She is delighted by the service as the driver removes his foldable bicycle from the car and packs her luggage in its place. 

The driver points out the hamper of snacks, and hot and chilled drinks stored in the side of the boot, available for their journey. Ava chooses a Go Ahead breakfast bar, and her boyfriend Tom, grabs a bottle of Evian, a Tropicana and a croissant. 

They get into the car to find the satellite navigation set-up to direct them to Surrey, and remark with excitement ‘What a great way to start the birthday trip!’ as they enjoy their MyCar breakfast.





Recharge you and your car

Lucozade could launch a ‘Recharge you and your car’ campaign to drive brand awareness around the benefits of drinking Lucozade to energise. They sponsor electric car charging points around Central London, and transform them into Lucozade charge zones with vending machines for people to buy a Lucozade when charging their car. 

Jerome is on his way to the gym when he is notified his electric car battery is low. He touches the screen to display charging points near his gyms and is intrigued by the Lucozade icon in a car park a few streets away. 

Jerome sees an orange and red charging station and pulls into the charging space. As he puts his car on charge he notices several cool features on the charging station; the handle has red rubber padding for better grip, and there is a vending machine to the side. Once on charge, Jerome checks out the drinks on offer, and selects the new Lucozade Booster using the display screen. 

The payment automatically adds to the electric charge bill, and the bottle is dispensed down a slide and comes to rest on a branded drinks mat. He takes the Booster and flips the cap, then takes a big gulp of Lucozade. He can taste the freshness of the orange – it makes him feel energised. Whilst he is waiting for the car to charge he pops in the gym and does a quick cardiovascular workout.





On-demand for everyone

It’s a hot summers day in a city park. It is packed with groups of young people hanging out and having fun. BBQs are cooking, Frisbees are being thrown and laughable sunburn marks are a certain. Danielle logs onto Facebook to tell Coca-Cola’s Messenger bot that she is thirsty and shares her location.

Minutes later, curiosity is sparked amongst the circles of crowds, as a van pulls up alongside the park entrance. Imagine a Coca-Cola Company autonomous van branded similar to their Freestyle vending machines. People make their way towards the van and notice multiple displays on the sides of the van and begin to browse drinks on the various touch screens. 

Danielle chooses Fanta to cool down, and a bottle of Summer Fruits Oasis for her friend – she opts to have the Fanta dispensed into a cup with ice. Once paid, the vending machine serves her drinks via a multi-dispensing hatch
below the screen. 

Other people around her select refreshing juices, like 5 Alive and Capri-sun.

When the van signals to move, those that have finished their drinks toss their cans, cups or bottles in the recycling unit, and everyone heads back to the park to rejoin their friends.

Also published on Medium.