It is likely you have witnessed the struggle that many businesses face with attracting, retaining, and engaging employees; and supermarkets continue to face their share of the challenge.
A recent SupemrarketNews article shared some interesting perspective on the importance of incorporating recognition into the employee engagement and people management process.
The piece referenced the fact that February 22nd was “Supermarket Employee Day,” which is among the programs The Food Industry Association (FMI) is using to “recognize talent, achievement, and industry initiatives that make a positive impact in neighborhoods.”
This is not a new concept, as retailers have held Supermarket Employee Day-themed special events for several years, which, according to the article, have included offering their employees special promotions or discounts, along with in-store signage and social media posts.
The piece also quoted an infographic from FMI, which states “In the face of natural disasters or global pandemics, these frontline heroes keep communities going. Show them your gratitude.”
In addition, FMI is providing a list of talking points for messaging:
- The food industry feeds families and enriches lives, and supermarkets are the cornerstone of their communities
- There are more than 40,000 stores that sell food and grocery items in the U.S. alone
- Millions of supermarket employees come to work daily to keep shelves stocked and to provide communities with essential services that help them survive and thrive
- Supermarket employees maintain the critical pipeline of food and consumer goods that sustain the health and well-being of their customers
- Supermarket employees have personified compassion and courage when communities have most needed to be encouraged
Continuing the theme of our previous post, a recent SupermarketNews article reported that Walmart is software giant Salesforce Inc. to help retailer customers improve local pickup and delivery services.
San Francisco-based Salesforce is a provider of customer relationship management tools. According to the article, they will make the Walmart Commerce Technologies’ Store Assist local fulfillment app and Walmart GoLocal’s delivery services available through its Salesforce AppExchange.
Walmart said the arrangement will provide retailers with access to the same scalable technologies that Walmart uses and enable real-time order visibility and reliable local pickup and delivery.
“Retailers are looking for ways to improve cost efficiency while meeting their customers’ needs, no matter where or how they choose to shop,” Harsit Patel, Walmart GoLocal vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Fulfillment from stores is an effective way to achieve these goals and serve customers quickly and reliably through local delivery.”
Read the full article.
A recent SupermarketNews article reported that the number of Self Checkout lanes (SCOs) in the U.S. has increased 10% in the last five years, estimating that they now account for nearly 40% of lanes in grocery chains in the U.S.
Sharing data from shopper intelligence leader Catalina, the article also reported that more retailers are make shifts from manual to SCO lanes to offset “shrinking margins from inflation, respond to social distancing protocols triggered by the pandemic, and take advantage of automation technology.”
Based on a small local poll, we’ve concluded that shoppers most often prefer the self checkout option when:
- Processing smaller orders
- Processing orders without coupons
- Processing orders without alcohol
Some additional insights presented in the article based on the Catalina data included 39% of shoppers used both lane types in 2021, depending upon their shopping mission. 49% of shoppers preferred the personal attention offered in the manned-only lanes (MCO), while only 12% of shoppers were steadfast SCO-exclusive fans. Breaking down the behavior of the hybrid shopper, their transactions were split 50-50 between MCO and SCO, with MCO accounting for 68% of sales and SCO for 32%.
Similar to our local findings, the study said SCO-only shoppers had smaller baskets and bought less than hybrid and MCO fans.
Generally speaking, it strikes us that offering a healthy mix of MCO & SCO options enables shoppers to leverage the technology to enjoy greater flexibility and convenience.
What’s your take?
A recent SupermarketNews article announced that the Kroger Co. is working with Itasca Retail, an inventory tech company, to deploy a new software system for receiving deliveries.
The “Magic DSD” solution will be installed in nearly 2,800 Kroger stores enabling a direct-store delivery system that automates various receiving tasks for products such as bread, dairy, beer and soft drinks, which will be delivered directly to the stores rather than to distribution centers.
The piece went on to share a statement that this approach reduces out-of-stocks and saves labor costs, and also gives associates more time to focus on serving customers.
Read the full article…
A recent SupermarketNews article reported several supermarkets have been recognized as being among the country’s best retailers.
Based on a survey of more than 10,000 U.S. consumers who have shopped in-person inside retail stores in the past three years, Newsweek’s 2022 America’s Best Retailers list ranks companies according to five criteria:
- Customer service
- Shop layout
In addition, the survey also asked about the likelihood of the respondent to recommend a retailer to friends and family. Overall, over 150,000 evaluations were collected on retailers in 39 categories. The top three to 10 retailers (based on category size) receiving the highest scores in each category were recognized as America’s Best Retailers for 2022.
Wegmans Food Markets, Publix Super Markets, and Harps Food Stores garnered the top ratings for supermarkets, followed by Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods Market.
Top finishers in the discount supermarket chains list included Trader Joe’s, 99 Cents Only Stores, and Aldi.
Read the full article…
As things continue to change and, hopefully, improve, in the retail grocery arena, 7-Eleven has taken a step forward in home delivery.
According to a recent SupermarketNews article, the convenience giant is improving its online delivery app with the introduction of 7NOW Gold Pass, a subscription program for $5.95 a month that will waive delivery fees for members.
“With the 7NOW Gold Pass subscription, there is no added fee for typically 30-minute delivery of more than 3,000 products, ranging from fresh food and drinks to household items, snacks and groceries,” the article said.
The piece went on to explain that the new service pays for itself in about three delivery orders per month.
Another example of how the customer experience is driving innovative ideas for continually improving retail grocery business practices.
A recent SupermarketNews article announced Instacart is helping supermarkets better compete with restaurants with the rollout of Ready Meals, a new prepared meal ordering and delivery service for grocery stores.
According to the article, chains such as Publix Super Markets, Kroger and Ahold Delhaize USA’s Giant, Food Lion, Hannaford, Stop & Shop and Martin’s are offering customers the service via the Instacart app’s Ready Meals Hub, a new in-app destination for prepared foods.
Deliveries are made to homes or offices in as soon as 30 minutes, Instacart said.
Another good example of supermarkets finding innovative ways to provide a better customer experience!
As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
A good example involves the impact COVID has had on product sampling, a long-standing practice in supermarkets that came to a screeching halt due to concerns about safety.
“While some retailers and shoppers may be dipping back into onsite product sampling, the ongoing uncertainty about COVID-19 and the continual emergence of variants have put a proverbial crimp in plans to fully bring it back,” said Senior Editor Lynn Petrak in a recent Progressive Grocer article.
The good news is that digital product sampling platform Sampler has stepped in to bridge the gap through a newly-formed partnership with grocery wholesale distributor UNFI to send product samples right to consumers’ homes.
Users can create an account on the Sampler platform and identify preferred products, and then UNFI handles the delivery.
“UNFI sells over 275,000 unique products from thousands of national, regional and local suppliers,” explained company President Chris Testa. “Working with Sampler, we can help deliver a solution for brands wanting to generate greater trial and consumer awareness for their products.”
Another good example of improving the customer experience through innovation and resiliency!
Giant Food, Publix Super Markets, H-E-B, Wegmans Food Markets, Albertsons Cos. and Big Y Foods are among the latest grocery chains to provide COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
Pfizer COVID booster shots are administered at least six months after completion of the initial Pfizer two-dose vaccination series. Eligible patients include seniors, long-term care residents, those ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, individuals ages 18 to 49 at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions, and people ages 18 to 64 at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings.
Big Y Foods, a New England chain, is now providing the Pfizer COVID booster, as well as the Pfizer and Moderna third COVID vaccine doses, at all of its pharmacy and clinic locations. On Sunday, the Springfield, Mass.-based chain kicked off “Big Y’s Big Vax Week,” a series of on-site immunization clinics — including COVID and seasonal flu shots — through Oct. 2 at all 71 Big Y supermarkets in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
As part of their first-ever chainwide vaccination event, Big Y will be giving patients who receive a vaccine a coupon for $5 off $25, as well as other giveaways. In addition, Big Y said it will administer COVID booster shots at all Big Y pharmacy locations regardless of where people received their original Pfizer COVID vaccine series.
“Helicopter, nylon, radar, jet engine, canned beer, sunscreen—all these inventions are the legacy of the Great Depression of the 1930s,” wrote Alex Petrunenko, Product Evangelist at Creato. “We might not know all the innovations of the coming years brought by the COVID-19 crisis, but we know for sure there will be more companies leveraging low-code technology across different industries.”
A good example of innovative improvements such as those listed above was reported in a recent SupermarketNews article, which announced that Walmart plans to pilot an Internet-of-Things (IoT) “smart box” from startup HomeValet for home delivery of perishable foods.
According to the article, the “smart box” test will begin this spring in Bentonville, Ark. Participating customers will be able to receive deliveries from their local Walmart store in a temperature-controlled box located outside their home. Three temperature zones inside the box will allow for storage of frozen, refrigerated and pantry items.
The “smart box” can interact with the courier’s mobile device to provide access and complete “hands-free” fulfillment of the order.
“This gives customers the ability to receive secure, contactless deliveries with peace of mind, knowing their grocery items will stay fresh,” explained Tom Ward, Senior VP of Customer Product at Walmart U.S.