Category Archives: Grocery shopping trends

Nowhere to Hide: “Beacons” are How You Might Be “Found” in the Aisles!

In Time Magazine’s March issue, a Tech Briefing explained how retailers, such as supermarkets, can tempt shoppers with digital coupons based on each shopper’s location within a store.

The article explains that the technology is already built-in to certain smart phones in the form of a small transmitter called a “beacon.”

By using Bluetooth technology, “handsets can pinpoint their [shopper’s] position to within as little as 2 cm by receiving signals from the beacons. ”

Then the retailer can send special offers to the customer’s cell phone or simply monitor a shopper’s movements. Of course “they” won’t be able to see you unless you’ve installed their apps and granted them access… but for many, Big Brother is another step closer!

 

Future-Markets?

futureA recent Supermarket News article posed the question, “What will a grocery store look like in 50 years?”

Well, as the article explains,  a New York-based food design agency intends to find out, and sooner than you might expect. The group, known as Studio Industries, next year intends to open a “pop-up” store in New York that envisions a grocery store in the year 2065.

The Future-market will include “smart shelves” that will display a unique offering to every shopper based on an embedded “Food ID” chip; and featured products will include limited varieties of “single origin” chips resulting from food manufacturers having embraced crop rotation and other sustainable agricultural practices.

Sounds interesting… and what might we think “future” customer service will entail?

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Try a Hot New Restaurant in the Grocery Store!

storerestaurantThis past Sunday USA News reported a record number of consumers are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the grocery store!

The article explains that in-store dining is one of the fastest-growing segments of the grocery industry, according to Chicago-based researchers NPD Group. Sales of prepared foods, which include in-store and takeout dining, are up by nearly 30 percent in the last five years.

While in-store dining comprises a small percentage of overall store sales, but the upward trend shows no signs of petering out.

“It’s not what’s paying the bills, but an adjunct to our core business,” said Rob Johnson, a spokesman for Bashas’, a grocery chain based in the Phoenix area that also operates AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City.

NPD analyst Warren Solochek attributes the popularity of supermarket dining to the variety of choices, value, healthier options and, most importantly, convenience.

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Regional Supermarket News Focused on Market Basket!

Joy at Market BasketA new Whole Foods just opened in Nashua, NH, an opening that had been hungrily anticipated for the city and surrounding communities. But, despite the eager anticipation, most of the grocery news here has been centered around Market Basket!

Finally, there is an agreement for Arthur T and his family to buy the 50.5% of the Market Basket chain that they did not own. Employees are back at work, the trucks are delivering product (and being unloaded!) and in less than a week, the aisles are about 70& full — a remarkably quick turn of events.

In the first few days after the agreement, there was joy in the aisles as employees hugged one another and hugged customers. How unusual is that?!

Moving ahead, most watchers wonder what, if anything, will change. With somewhere between $500MM and $1B of debt (in a chain that historically has had no debt), can prices remain as low as they were? Will working conditions change? Will customer service continue to be outstanding? Will all of the customers come back…or have they found other alternatives that they are happy with?

PS — In addition to the joy at Market Basket, customers at Hannaford (where many shoppers from Market Basket shopped during the trouble) are thrilled with the settlement. Hannaford was so crowded that there were no parking places. The Hannaford shopper is celebrating the settlement too.

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Why Move Into the Grocery Business?

A recent article in The Guardian asks the question, “Why would Amazon want to move into the grocery business”?

People who watch the Amazon model at work know that to Amazon, volume is king. And with a $1 Trillion food market in the USA, how could Amazon not play? But with the infrastructure that needs to be built, the high level of customer expectations, the inherent problems with perishable items, can Amazon work their magic? Or, as the story suggests, is Amazon using its learning for a bigger purpose — one that is in keeping with the rest of their business?

“Skepticism about AmazonFresh’s viability has fuelled speculation that its real purpose is not, in fact, to turn the company into a mega-grocer but to cement customer loyalty and to test-run speedier delivery, honing Amazon’s edge in other areas.”

We know that Amazon tested the AmazonFresh concept for almost 5 years in Seattle before rolling it out to Los Angeles, San Francisco and, most recently to San Diego. Whether or not they succeed in these (and more) markets, AmazonFresh will disrupt all of the markets they play in. We will need to wait to see how that plays out….

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Another Chain on the Rise?

growth2Our last few posts have been about Market Basket, where employees and customers seem to have banded together to try to save the culture at Market Basket—a culture where service, low prices, and employee engagement are the norm. There is no clear outcome yet. But there are so many other stories about the supermarket industry…

According to a recent article in Retailing Today, for the fourth year in a row, Aldi’s has been recognized as the low price leader. But low prices aren’t the only story at Aldi’s. “Aldi maintained a top five ranking in the categories of good private label brands, accurate pricing and tags and sustainable environment / green policies. It also earned top-five rankings in three new Market Force categories such as courteous staff, fast checkout and nutrition/health information.”

And if you don’t have any Aldi’s near you, just wait!

According to this recent article, Aldi operates 1,300 stores in 32 states and plans to open 650 stores this year.

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Kroeger to Acquire On-line Retailer Vitacost

A Supermarket News article last week reported that Kroger Co. has agreed to acquire Vitacost.com, a leading Internet retailer of vitamins, supplements and healthy living products, in a deal the company said would accelerate its nascent e-commerce strategy.

Kroger officials said Vitacost would help to jump-start its e-commerce strategy by providing a team with extensive e-commerce experience and a “substantial platform that includes technology and ship-to-home fulfillment centers to serve customers in all 50 states and internationally.”

Kroger currently offers Internet shopping only in its King Soopers division in Denver and through its newly acquired Harris Teeter division, which operates an online order and pick-up service. Vitacost also provides Kroger with a portfolio of products and brands in the fast-growing health and wellness categories.

We have shared several posts about the slow-but-sure move toward on-line grocery sales, and this is another good example of the continuing trend.

Your thoughts?

Grocers to Discuss Digital Marketing Strategies

Progressive Grocers reported, this week, that they will be moderating a webcast during which representatives from Price Chopper, Raley’s, and SpartanNash will discuss digital marketing strategies.

The announcement goes on to explain that, “today’s grocers face the challenge of adapting to new and emerging digital technologies with an infrastructure and processes that were developed before smartphones became ubiquitous.”

The webcast will explore the various ways in which mobile and digital technologies are transforming the food retailing landscape. Topics will include organizational functions, shopper engagement, consumer perspectives on digital shopping, and how to best develop insights relative to shopping experiences.

Several of our posts have focused on digital shopping and social media marketing, and it will certainly be interesting to review a summary of the event, which is scheduled for mid-June; or, if you’re able, possibly to attend the webcast!

Additional information can be found on the PG Website.

Supermarket Bakeries Making Dough!

According to an article in the Dublin Business Wire, U.S. Market Trends estimates that retail sales of the in-store bakery goods market reached $12.8 billion in 2012 and is continuing to grow despite consumers’ focus on healthier eating habits.

“The market has been challenged by the economy and health and diet concerns,” the article states. “Yet many consumers still choose to indulge and have an increasing desire for fresh rather than packaged foods.”

Though comprising a relatively small percentage of perishable dollar sales at most retail stores, in-house bakeries are a thriving and growing part of the U.S. food landscape.

“In-store bakeries help create and build an image of freshness and quality that carries over throughout the rest of the supermarkets they occupy, and help support the convenience of one-stop shopping that is so essential for mass merchandisers and warehouse clubs.”

The result of retail’s reliance on in-house bakeries, combined with higher price points, has allowed the in-house baked goods market to experience dollar sales increase every year since 2008. It is expected these gains will continue through 2017 and beyond.

A surprising combination of statistics given other predictions and trends… it will be interesting to see how this sector performs.

Supermarkets Dealing With a Sea Change in Soft Drinks

According to Beverage digest, carbonated soft drink volume declined 3% in 2013.  This follows a 1.2% decline in 2012 and a 1% decline in 2011.

This decline happened in spite of huge budgets set aside for marketing, advertising and promotion expenses.  Both Pepsi™ and Coke™ have spent significant funds to try to stem the tide.  Pepsi announced that they are going to spend $600MM more and Coke is supporting its brands with an increase of $1Billion in the budget for marketing, selling, advertising and promotion. 

Replacing both regular and diet brands of soda are water, tea, and energy drinks.

What does this sea change (let’s face it, these declines are a sea change!) mean for supermarkets and convenience stores when stopping in to pick up a six pack of Coke or Pepsi was a regular event for many shoppers?

Do they stop in as often for water or energy drinks?

Do stores get the regular “go with” items that used to come along with the soda?