All posts by pdonehue

2020 Saw Big Growth in Omnichannel Shopping!

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that omnichannel consumption grew by 50% this past year, and nearly half of all consumer goods purchases were made via e-commerce.

The report was based on new research from Nielsen.

Not surprisingly, both food and nonfood products have seen marked shifts in omnichannel shopping since the COVID-19 outbreak, and the number of shoppers who deem themselves as “heavy” or “exclusive” online shoppers for everyday items jumped 133% from September 2019 to September 2020.

The article went on to quote Nikhil Sharma, vice president of North America consumer analytics at Nielsen, who said, “Within the U.S., new behaviors have emerged that retailers and manufacturers must acknowledge, accommodate and swiftly act on — especially as online shopping habits begin to solidify. While we do expect a return of some kind to pre-pandemic habits, consumers will not be returning to a pre-pandemic retail environment.”

Order History Tool Most Popular as Consumer Preferences Shift
The article also pointed out that, when making online transactions, 29% of consumers polled by Nielsen found the order history tool to be the most helpful feature when shopping for nonfood items.

In a final statemen Mr. Sharma added, “Undeniably, consumers have more choices than ever in their path to purchase, meaning as consumer needs and preferences continue to evolve, it is crucial to have an omnichannel strategy in place to sustain and grow momentum in 2021.”

Holiday Marketing in Supermarkets

Spectrio is one of the nation’s leading end to end technology-enabled customer engagement marketing companies, and they shared some simple and innovative ideas for in-store holiday marketing.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Set the holiday mood in your store. First thing first, decorate and embellish your store so it has a holiday feel. Consider adding a few lights, holiday wreaths, or trees. Or, simply update your in-store digital signage so it includes relevant seasonal content.
  2. Create a holiday-themed in-store photo op. While you’re setting up your store for the holidays, create a specific scene that can be used as a great holiday-themed photo op. A photo op is a background or unique element that customers take a photo of and share on social media. This helps spread your brand across social media as people share their user generated content.
  3. Design a high-quality holiday overhead music playlist. It’s not enough to just put on a holiday music radio station. You should curate and use a high-quality overhead holiday music playlist. What makes it high-quality? It’s a list of songs that will please customers — but not annoy your employees.
  4. Infuse your store with holiday scents. Amplify the season by tying it to the sense of smell. Use scent marketing to add fresh holiday smells to your store like peppermint, evergreen, or pumpkin spice.
  5. Update your website. As you create holiday promotions, make sure customers know about them in your store, as well as online. Update your website so customers can clearly see the holiday specials and deals you’re offering. You might also consider combining this step with an email campaign. Spread the message about your holiday promotions by creating email campaigns to send to your customer list. Don’t just send one email. Create a plan for promoting up to the holiday and featuring individual sales, deals, and events.
  6. Create a plan to give back. Don’t make the holiday season all about buying gifts. Also, focus on giving back. Partner with a local charity and donate proceeds or run a food, gift, or clothing drive to spread holiday cheer with your local community.

DoorDash Now Offering On-demand Grocery Delivery

According to a recent article published by Restaurant News, “last-mile” food delivery provider DoorDash is now offering on-demand grocery delivery arena, led by the launch of its new DashPass service.

DashPass enables customers to place orders with participating grocery retailers at DoorDash.com or via the DoorDash mobile app and have their groceries delivered directly to their homes by DoorDash.

Defined as the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination, the focus of “last mile delivery” is to deliver items to the end user as fast as possible.

DashPass delivery service is provided via a $9.99 monthly subscription, for which members receive unlimited free deliveries and reduced service fees for orders of at least $12. Customers also can order groceries via DoorDash on a per-order basis for a $3.99 standard delivery fee (depending on the service area), with no minimum order amount.

In a separate article published by SupermarketNews, it was reported that DoorDash, which recently became publicly-traded, built its reputation as the country’s top food delivery provider by strategically going after suburban markets.

As consumers continue to exhibit an increasing demand for convenience as well as quality and choice, retailers and their strategic partners continue to respond with innovative solutions such as this.

More Technology for Food Shoppers

Our previous few posts have focused on technology in supermarkets, used both by the stores themselves and the shoppers.

Along the same trend, as reported in a recent SupermarketNews article, Walmart will literally launch a “technology-driven” pilot in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2021.

The new plan involves a partnership with self-driving car company Cruise to operate an entire fleet of all-electric delivery vehicles powered with 100% renewable energy. The project will support the retail giant’s initiative to reach zero emissions by 2040.

As part of the pilot, customers can place an order from their local store and have it delivered, contact-free, via one of Cruise’s all-electric self-driving cars.

“Technology that has the potential to not only save customers time and money but also is helpful to the planet is technology we want to learn more about,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product, Walmart U.S.

“This year, we’ve had our foot on the accelerator expanding our pickup and delivery services, so customers can get the items they need quickly and safely,” he continued.

So, the trend continues…

Digitized Food Shopping?

89% of U.S. grocery shoppers now use a smartphone at the store says research from Acosta.

The data was published in a recent SupermarketNews article, which stated the current figures marked an increase when compared to the 67% who said they used smartphones while shopping in 2015.

“Mobile-assisted grocery shopping is here to stay and offers a great opportunity for brands and retailers to truly meet the needs of today’s shoppers,” said Colin Stewart, executive vice president of business intelligence at Acosta. “By delivering an end-to-end approach from mobile recipe/meal planning and list making to e-commerce and an in-store experience that is enhanced by mobile, they can not only attract more customers but also engage with them in new and meaningful ways, during the pandemic and beyond.”

Some additional data that might be of interest includes:

  • 58% of consumers polled report being comfortable using digital and online tools to help with food shopping, compared with 42% in 2017 and 35% in 2015
  • 70% reported using a grocery retailer’s app while shopping
  • 34% of shoppers said they view their grocery store circular online
  • 30% of grocery shoppers said they redeem online/mobile coupons downloaded to their smartphone, up from 24% in 2017 and 19% in 2015

Interesting Updates from Winsight Live!

You may be familiar with Winsight Grocery Business as a source of “information and inspiration” for supermarket industry leaders.

Among other things, they track and report on the trends they believe industry leaders should be aware of in order to be prepared for emerging changes and developments affecting their stores.

One of their tools is “Winsight Live,” a video production featuring insights and relevant updates from various industry experts. For example, in the most recent installment you can hear about:

  • The status of supermarket “technology wars”
  • An update on Kroeger’s robust restocking/pick-up-and-delivery plans
  • Consumer concerns

You can watch the video here.

Is Your Supermarket “Digitally Mature?”

A recent study by digital insights firm Incisiv named BJ’s Wholesale Club, Publix, Brookshire Grocery, Target and Costco Wholesale among the nation’s most “digitally mature” grocery retailers, according to a recent SupermarketNews article.

Incisiv defined digitally mature grocery retailers as those that “invest in their front-end shopping platform as well as back-end integration, fulfillment, customer service and operational excellence to deliver an optimal, end-to-end customer experience.”

As technology continues to march forward at an increasingly rapid pace, it will be interesting to see if the process enhancements also enhance customer engagement.

Post-COVID Supermarkets?

Agilence, Inc., a data and analytics reporting company, recently conducted a survey of decision-makers in the grocery industry about how COVID-19 has impacted their business, how they’ve managed this change, and what plans they have in place for a post-pandemic world.

Among the current practices that most retailers plan to continue long-term post-COVID are:

  • Curbside pick-up (75%)
  • Sneeze barriers at checkout (60%)
  • Cleaning of carts per use (50%)

The practices many plan to continue for 3-6 months post-pandemic are:

  • Associates fitted with PPE (62%)
  • Six-foot separation at checkout (60%)
  • Specialized hours for seniors (45%)

Interestingly, 87% of respondents said they think “safety & cleanliness” will be an important component of their marketing/brand message over the coming year.

Developing or enhancing proprietary online food delivery service was also identified as a priority by most respondents, and 93% said they plan to increase their spending in IT over the next year. Below is a graph indicating the types of technology initiatives in which grocers plan to invest:

investment categories
Anticipated Supermarket IT Investment by Category 2020 – 2021

Top Stories on How COVID-19 is Impacting Supermarkets

A recent SupermarketNews article shared the latest news on retailer and consumer response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the top stories were:

  • Of shoppers polled by Acosta, 38% said they stocked up on groceries at the start of the COVID-19 crisis and would do so again if another shutdown occurs.
  • More than 4,000 of Walmart’s 4,700 U.S. stores will expand their closing time from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. by Aug. 17.
  • Two of the largest retailers are expanding their delivery options, including beyond grocery items, in their bids to challenge Amazon’s e-commerce dominance: Walmart & Kroger
  • Whole Foods launches free virtual home economics classes,

The article also features a slide show depicting new and emerging news related to the pandemic’s impact on the grocery retail sector.

Read full article…

Pandemic Fuels Online Food Shopping

Canadian food and drug retailer Metro Inc. has experienced a coronavirus-fueled spike in demand for online food shopping, which experienced tripled-digit growth this quarter.

The SupermarketNews article quoted Metro President and CEO Eric La Flèche, who said, “Our food business experienced high levels of sales, as the large portion of restaurant and foodservice sales transferred to the grocery channel.”

Certainly the “new normal” has had an impact on businesses of all types, forcing organizational leaders to find new ways of providing value and an enhanced customer experience, as noted in our previous post.

Read full article…