Kroeger Introduces Kroger Ship

The trend toward on-line grocery shopping continues, as The Kroger Co. has introduced a new service that will compete directly with Amazon, Walmart and on-line grocery delivery providers like Instacart and Shipt according to a recent SupermarketNews article.

Kroger Ship, a direct-to-customer e-commerce platform that enables consumers to order from a selection of groceries on-line and have them delivered to their home is now being tested in four markets: Cincinnati; Houston; Louisville, Ky.; and Nashville, Tenn.

On-line shoppers can select from 4,500 Kroger own-brand products as well as more than 50,000 center store groceries and household essentials.

Home delivery via Kroger Ship is free for orders over $35 and costs $4.99 for smaller orders.

Read the full article…

Forbes Was Right: 4 Ways Your Grocery Store Might Change this Year

This past December Forbes published an article suggesting we should expect to see more changes at the grocery store this year as the industry adapts to various competitive pressures and emerging shopping habits.

“The last year has been a trying one for supermarkets that face not only changing technology and consumer demands but heightened competition on price,” the article said.

The article predicted four key trends for 2018, which were:

  1. More online shopping options
  2. Mobile payment acceptance
  3. Meal kits
  4. In-store drinking and dining

At the half-way-or-so point, it seems these predictions are on track. And clearly all four predictions focus on improving processes as well as customer service and the shopping experience!

Guess we can all stay-tuned to see if these trends continue…

 

More Curb-side Pick-up at Target

In a recent SupermarketNews article, Target announced it has added Drive Up curbside pickup service to 200 more stores in the Midwest.

The article went on to report that due to the expansion, more than 800 Target stores in 25 states now offer Drive Up service for online purchases of groceries, household essential items and other products, and plans are in the works to add additional locations next month.

Another example of consumer preferences impact on supermarket and retail decision-making!

Read the full article…

Improving Online Grocery Shopping

According to a recent posting and discussion on LinkedIn, supermarket chain Kroger is exploring driverless grocery delivery.

Kroger plans to partner with an electrical start-up Nuro to test delivering groceries without drivers in a pilot program later this year. Nuro’s first vehicle is designed to move goods, not people the write-up noted.

Certainly the trend among retailers has been to make online grocery shopping cheaper and easier. For example, Walmart recently partnered with Postmates to expand its online grocery delivery service.

Wonder what will be next?

Read more…

Better Supermarket Customer Service Yields Greater Revenue & Loyalty

A recent Progressive Grocer’s article shared data from a new report from by KPMG LLP,  which found that companies providing “the best personal, individualized experiences to customers” see higher revenue growth and improved brand standing and loyalty.

The “2018 U.S. Customer Experience Excellence Analysis” also ranked the top consumer “champion” brands according to customer experience delivered.

Among those that consumers ranked highest for customer service delivery were:

  • H-E-B
  • Publix
  • Wegmans
  • Amazon
  • Hy-Vee

Read the full article… 

 

Martin’s Supermarkets Expands On-line Shopping

According to a recent Business Briefs article, Martin’s Super Markets, a mid-west chain, is continuing to roll out of its online shopping service, which they call Groceries To Go, and which is now available at 12 of their 21 stores.

The Groceries-To-Go service costs $4.99 per order, the article explains. The process is also straightforward, as once users go online or download the app (on either iPhone or Android devices) and create an account they simply shop and choose a pickup time, and then pay. Someone at their chosen store then sends an email confirming receipt of the order, and then sends another email when the order is ready for pickup.

To pickup their order, customers simply park in designated areas and then text or call to announce their arrival. A “Personal Shopper” then brings the groceries and loads them into the customer’s vehicle.

Pharmacy prescriptions, alcohol and tobacco products are not available for online ordering, the article said. Log on to www.martinsgroceriestogo.com for more information.

The trend toward online shopping and an enhanced customer experience continues…

Employee Engagement at Hy-Vee

According to a recent SupermarketNews article, Hy-Vee Inc. has introduced a benefits program for part-time employees.

Calling the move a “first of its kind in the retail industry,” the Midwestern grocer said the program offers 11 benefit options to its more than 58,000 part-time staff ages 19 and older. Spouses and dependents also are covered by the plan, whose options include:

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Short-term disability
  • Accident and critical illness coverage
  • Hospital indemnity
  • Group  and individual life and disability insurance
  • Auto, homeowner and renter insurance
  • Pet insurance

Read the full article… 

“Smart” Supermarkets!

According to an article published on LInkedIn, Wal-Mart recently opened its first “smart store” supermarket in Xin’an Wu Road, Bao’an District, Shenzhen.

We first read about the “smart supermarket” concept in a piece published by AgThentic, a sustainability and innovation consulting firm focusing on the food industry. In a 2016 article, they referenced the increasing popularity of online grocery shopping and click-and-collect services, and predicted the model was set to change how consumers “will do their weekly shop.”

The article went on to say, “Incorporating predictive technologies into the online shopping experience will allow consumers to access discounts on their favorite brands or re-order the same essential items each week without having to individually add them to a cart. These features have huge implications for convenience… By using data collected from your previous purchases, retailers can understand what you buy and how often you buy it, and send you friendly reminders when you’re running low. Say goodbye to the days of getting halfway home and realizing you forgot to buy toothpaste.”

In addition to helping consumers shop with ease, these same practices are also beneficial to supermarkets as they look to manage inventory and reduce food waste. “Consumers expect to see an overstocked display of cosmetically attractive produce,” the article said.  “To compensate, supermarkets throw out up to 40% of food before it even reaches store shelves.”

AgThentic predicted  retailers of the future will use consumer data to understand how to market and sell ‘unattractive’ or ‘imperfect’ produce, citing examples in Australia that are already doing so.

Read the full article…

Buy a Car at Walmart?

Continuing a trend of expanding its product offerings, Walmart has progressed from standard “retail” products to food to pharmacy and, now, to cars!

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Walmart has expanded their CarSaver program with car-buying kiosks in 250 stores.

As you may know, CarSaver is a digital automotive marketplace based in Miami, Florida. The program leverages CarSaver’s network of certified dealerships, banks and insurance companies to support its car ­shopping and buying assistance to Walmart customers.

According to the article, every vehicle bought through a CarSaver kiosk at participating Walmart stores also comes with a lifetime warranty.

The article went on to quote Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration, “We’re constantly looking for innovative services that help us save busy families money and time. CarSaver’s unique platform helps our customers understand the true cost of ownership, while also helping them save money with buying, financing, leasing and insuring a new or used vehicle.”

According to a report in Adweek, CarSaver uses its car dealer network to provide a better customer experience, including upfront pricing.

Read the full article…

6 Food Trends for 2018

According to a recent article by fooddive.com, some of last year’s food trends such as healthy ingredients, complex flavor profiles and environmentally sustainable offerings will once again shape the food industry this year.

Their “top 6” predictions with respect to consumer demand this year are:

  1. Botanicals: Plants and flowers are springing up in food and beverage items as more consumers become interested in their potential healing properties.
  2. Transparency: Shoppers will continue to grow more interested in where their food comes from and how it was handled along the supply chain.
  3. Ethnic cuisine: Spicy flavors do well in the U.S., and many shoppers are exploring beyond basic hot sauces as food makers highlight more authentic, ethnic flavors.
  4. Science-based foods: A few futuristic products are already in stores and restaurants, and more will soon be on the way as companies work to develop and scale up state-of-the-art foods to meet the public’s growing appetite for these innovations.
  5. Sustainability: This trend has moved beyond merely producing food in an environmentally conscious ways and selling it in recyclable packaging.
  6. Indulgence foods: Comfort foods containing butter, lard and other fats and oils will be back in style.

Read the full article…