A recent SupermarketNews article reported that H-E-B has opened a state-of-the-art technology center in East Austin, Texas, that will serve as a “hub of innovation” for its digital team and Favor delivery service.
The article quoted Jag Bath, chief digital officer of H-E-B and CEO of Favor, who said, “The center will play an essential role in keeping both Favor and H-E-B as digital leaders.”
As we have previously shared, innovation and technology have become driving forces in the food industry. As summarized in an article posted on bouncepad.com, grocery shopping as we know it is shifting. Retailers are leveraging technology to target issues consumers have struggled with for years, now offering online shopping and home-delivery along with related offerings geared toward providing more convenience for busy shoppers.
In-store experiences have also begun to mold to the modern consumer, using integrated technology solutions and secure touch-points like tablet enclosures, which help supermarkets with cross-sell services, offer personalized deals, guide shoppers around the store and increase sales.
Click here for a slide show featuring H-E-B’s new technology center.
Raley’s, a West Coast supermarket chain, has implemented Date Check Pro from Pinpoint Software Inc. to better manage shrink.
In a recent SupermarketNews article it was reported that Raley’s adopted the system after determining that a technology-based solution supporting inventory management would aid ongoing efforts to provide customers with the freshest and highest-quality products. Previously the chain took a more operational approach to flag out-of-code items by bolstering team member training and auditing processes to best manage disposal of expiring products.
Date Check Pro provides real-time updates and proactive notifications on close-dated inventory, establishing more consistency and accountability versus traditional rotation and spot-checking methods, in which out-of-date items can be missed by human error, according to Raley’s. In turn, the grocery chain said it’s able to ensure that it’s offering shoppers the freshest products and recoup savings on what would have been expired shrink
While their approach to customer service and providing an enjoyable shopping experience may be anything but traditional, Stew Leonard’s has a tried-and-true motto: “The customer is always right!”
As reported in a recent SupermarketNews article, there are aisles filled with animatronic singing poultry and vegetables, stuffed creatures that flip, and a selfie station where customers can pose for pictures with Clover the cow in a replica of Stew’s milk truck.
Yesterday & Today
For those who have been customers over the years, these “extras” are common place. Ever since the first Stew Leonard’s opened in 1969 they’ve been tabbed as “the Disneyland of Dairy Stores.” Today the grocery still relishes the country-fair atmosphere.
But the zaniness has not compromised how vital customer service and product scouting are to the growing company. (There are now six Stew Leonard’s locations now in New York and Connecticut, with a seventh planned for New Jersey in the fall).
“Customers rule when it comes to choosing what products the stores sell,” says Stew Leonard, Jr., the president and CEO who took the business over from his dad in the 1990s. “You’ve got to listen to the customers really and hear what they have to say.”
Read the full article…
According to a recent SupermarketNews article, supermarket salaries grew in 2018 in an effort to secure a more diverse mix of skills and experience to meet the demands of an “omnichannel” business model. “Omnicahannel” is defined as as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless.
“Compared with last year, you see the pretty steady increases that you normally see. But the biggest thing goes beyond the numbers, and that’s the new positions being created,” said Jose Tamez, managing general partner at Austin-Michael. “That’s more of an indication of what’s trending — be it a digital role at a senior level, an omnichannel role or customer experience types of roles. Those particular roles have been in retail for some time but in other segments, such as department stores or fashion. Now they are making their way into grocery.”
According to research done by HubSpot, organizations that currently providing the “best” omnichannel experience to customers include:
- Virgin Atlantic
- Bank of America
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:
Read the full article…
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…
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…
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…
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:
- Botanicals: Plants and flowers are springing up in food and beverage items as more consumers become interested in their potential healing properties.
- Transparency: Shoppers will continue to grow more interested in where their food comes from and how it was handled along the supply chain.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sustainability: This trend has moved beyond merely producing food in an environmentally conscious ways and selling it in recyclable packaging.
- Indulgence foods: Comfort foods containing butter, lard and other fats and oils will be back in style.
Read the full article…
According to a recent Business Insider article, Kroger is once again taking a bold step forward in trying to enhance the customer shopping experience by “rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores,that could change grocery shopping as we know it.”
This new development, which is called Kroger Edge, will be installed on store shelves in place of paper price tags, and will digitally display pricing and nutritional information, and even show video ads and coupons for various products.
The technology will enable the chain to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, thus freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.
In the future, the technology will communicate with customers’ smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.