At Netplus, we help restaurant and grocery brands beat competitors by outsmarting instead of outspending. That’s why we keep a close watch on the trends, ideas and insights that matter most to your bottom line. Here’s what we’re watching this month.

The Era of Unbranding

Younger consumers—even those with six-figure incomes—are price obsessed, argue both AdAge and RetailDive. And thanks to disruptors from Aldi/Lidl to Brandless to Amazon, there are more low-cost alternatives than ever before.

Where does this leave legacy brands? First, they need to re-assert their relevance by authentically responding to consumers’ changing expectations (like clean labels, social impact and convenience). Moreover, they must leverage their superior digital presence to reach consumers with compelling value propositions before they step foot in the store.

Read more: Marketers’ Millennial Dilemma via AdAge

Customer Experience Fuels Casual Dining Growth

Legacy brands from TGI Fridays to Domino’s to Starbucks are ambitiously testing ways to increase the reach and convenience of their offerings. The speed at which they implement new products and technologies transcends guest expectations to provide a valuable first mover’s advantage.

Compare these to Applebee’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, whose lukewarm and oft inauthentic approach to change resulted in stalled growth and slumping market shares, and the message becomes clear: Innovations in customer experience are crucial to survival in the future of casual dining.

Read more: Americans Love Ordering Pizza on Facebook via Bloomberg

Flatlining Facebook Engagement

Source: BuzzSumo

Marketers across the board are battling slumping engagement rates due to increasingly crowded timelines and shrinking organic reach, which can only be combated with targeted messages and equally targeted distribution.

The remedy? Less content, BETTER content and smarter paid promotion. Additionally, brands should evaluate the strategic role of Facebook and find new channels/tactics to supplement its inherent limitations. Email me today to receive a free advance copy of our upcoming ebook, which details exactly how to do so!

Read more: Facebook Engagement for Brands and Publishers Falls 20% in 2017 via BuzzSumo

WalMart Readies for War with Amazon

WalMart, the world’s largest retailer, partnered with Google, the most popular search engine, so that WalMart may begin fulfilling orders made through various Google properties. The move accelerates an already inevitable clash of titans.

Brands need not panic at the continual proliferation of digital grocery/retail options, but they should begin to earnestly test its waters. Like we said in July, make 2018 the year to find a partner that fits your needs, test it, learn from it and grow.

Read more: Amazon vs. Walmart: Which One Will Prevail? via Knowledge@Wharton

Final Tasting Notes

Yelp opens search and location data to advertisers.

How brands can take a note from Sun Tzu.

Restaurants’ limited time offers get even more limited.

L2 Research names the best & worst food brands in digital.