Tag Archives: 2016 grocery shopping trends

Surprise Ranking for Top 3 Retailers in the U.S.!

We all know that Walmart and Amazon are “the” major retailers in America and, as noted in a recent msn.com article, they were rated first and second, respectively, in Kantar Consulting’s ranking of the top 50 U.S. retailers of 2018.

What was surprising, though, was the identity of the third-place winner. America’s third-biggest retailer is a grocery store!

Possibly you’ve already surmised that the third-place finisher on the list of top retailers in the country is Kroger! As the article states, lots of folks say that shopping at Kroger is a pleasure! The chain consists of just over four thousand stores in 42 states, and its headquarters are in Cincinnati. It is a low-priced grocery store that’s most popular in mid-western, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern states.

But of all things, Kroger is known most for its high level of customer service. It’s nice to see an organization that is customer-focused also be among the top in their trade!

Unique Customer Service at Stew Leonard’s

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…

Food Waste!

In a recent video report, Phil Lempert, “Supermarket Guru,” referenced a United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization statement indicating one-third of food gets spoiled or wasted.

That translates to approximately $1 trillion per year, or double the dollar volume of the grocery industry as a whole!

As you are most likely aware, to reduce food waste we have to control environmental conditions including temperature, moisture levels, and UV exposure all across the supply chain including on shoppers homes.

The Spoon reports that a group of researchers led by Giovanni Salvatore at ETH Zurich have developed a biocompatible microsensor that can be directly applied to food and is safe to eat. The sensor is made from a combination of edible materials such as magnesium and a compostable polymer made with corn and food starch.

But there is a problem – making them is currently very expensive, compared to pennies or even fractions of pennies for traditional RFID tags.

However, Salvatore predicts that these biodegradable sensors will be part of our everyday lives within 5 to 10 years.

Online Food Shopping Trend Continues to Grow

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that three sizable supermarket chains are enhancing their e-commerce offerings.

Albertsons is offering an introductory special in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a program that involves a strategic partnership with Tom Thumb.  Shoppers will receive $10 off and free delivery for the first order placed online or via a Tom Thumb delivery app, with orders arriving at households within one-hour delivery windows.

Supervalu also announced that the company has been testing three e-commerce providers at its retail banners in separate markets, and that home delivery and click-and-collect options will be available by the end of the year in 25% of retail stores, which is about 50 stores.

Harris Teeter also announced plans to expand its e-commerce offerings through grocery delivery service Shipt to the Charlotte, N.C. metro area.

Charlotte customers who sign up for an annual membership with Shipt prior to the launch on Oct. 26 will receive $25 off their first order. According to the article, Shipt membership costs $99 per year for unlimited deliveries; delivery is free on all orders over $35.

It seems the trend toward online shopping is continuing to grow. While the vast majority of grocery shopping still takes place in stores, industry experts predict this pattern may change during the next decades.

Data provided by Statista indicate that this year approximately five-percent of U.S. consumers prefer shopping for groceries online. The total U.S. online grocery sales amounted to about 7 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and are expected to rise to 18 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.

Instacart Expands North from Boston: Helping the Elderly…

Instacart is expanding to 17 new ZIP codes in Massachusetts according to a recent Boston Globe article.

The San Francisco-based company, which allows users to order groceries online for delivery in as little as an hour, said this trend toward online shopping can help “aging residents navigate the necessities of hometown living.”

The article went on to say Instacart currently has 7,000 active users in the Boston region, and hopes to more than double that number in the next year. The company also has about 100 employees and some 300 delivery contractors in the Boston area, with plans to hire up to 50 more contractors for the new expansion.

Customers can opt to pay $5.99 per delivery or frequent shoppers can pay $150 per year to waive all delivery fees.

Read the full article…

 

Supermarket “Personality!”

A recent discussion by a group of grocery executives focused on some big changes in the marketing and customer loyalty areas.

“When a customer visits your business, you’re not just selling the items on the shelf…,” says author .

“But rather the entire in-store experience, so make that experience exciting! Engage with your customers from the moment they walk through your doors.”

In a recent American Express Open article, Beightol listed a number of best practices for generating customer loyalty and engagement, which include:

  • Extend the relationship beyond the transaction through the use of social media
  • Make prudent use of “personalized” email messages promoting limited-time special offers or products of interest
  • Target lapsed customers through personalized email campaigns that highlight what’s different about your store
  • Send push notifications to loyalty program members
  • Recognize it is a consumer-driven world, and it is important to keep up! Refusing to innovate can be annoying to customers, which may prompt them to visit a more contemporary and convenient competitor next time around

“The goal should be to turn every customer into a loyal one,” says Beightol.

“How do you do that? Show the personality behind your brand!”

Bagging It?

baggingWhat are your thoughts when it comes to bagging groceries?

Should the customer bag the groceries, or should an employee?

What if customers strongly prefer to bag their own groceries, but the supermarket has an employee on-hand who typically handles the bagging?

These and some additional interesting questions were raised in a recent article posted by Pan-Oston, a fixture and display manufacturer serving the supermarket industry.

For the grocer, it often comes down to saving money or providing a better experience for the customer.

From the customer’s perspective, the opinions vary (see related article).

Pan-Oston reports that 14 of the 15 top retailers have implied that taking care of the customer and their needs is more important than saving money on their end.

Or as Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA said, “So often baggers or courtesy clerks are the last impression a customer has of a store, and because of this, superior bagging skills, along with friendly customer service, are critical elements to a positive shopping experience for the consumer.”

So the question is, “To bag or not to bag?”

Interesting Perspectives from Food Marketing Summit

A recent discussion by grocery executives on LinkedIn focused on key “take-aways” from the 8th Annual Food Marketing Summit in California, which included:

  • The new world of social media means the creation of new things for marketers to deal with such as Brand Jacking, Comment Bombing and Twitter Jacking to name a few. As an interesting aside, it was noted that more words will be posted on Twitter in the next 2 – 3 years than all the words written in books already in print!
  • The average shopper only spends 5 seconds shopping a category. Shocking news considering how much information most food marketers think that their package is communicating…
  • Although online food and beverage sales are still extremely low as a total percent of sales, the opportunities ahead in food industry for eCommerce are enormous.
  • Consumer emotions are the key drivers of brand choice

Grocery Stewardship Certification – Saving More than Just Money!

The Grocery Stewardship Certification Program (GSC) helps grocers enhance their operational sustainability with a proven methodology that provides for consistency and accountability. The key objectives are to review store-level practices and equipment with an eye to increasing energy efficiency, boosting revenue and lowering costs.

According to a recent post on LinkedIn’s Grocery Executive Network,  two retail chains – Hannaford Supermarkets and Weis Markets – have enrolled all of their stores in the program.

“Weis Markets has used the Grocery Stewardship Certification program to engage with our employees in new ways and as a tool to show our customers that we are always looking to adopt new sustainable practices,” said Patti Olenick, sustainability director for Weis Markets.

“Hannaford has found tremendous benefit from our work with the Grocery Stewardship Certification program,” said George Parmenter, Manager of Sustainability, Hannaford Supermarkets. “Using the workbooks for the second time, we’ve found a number of areas where our staff and procedures have significantly improved. Through assessing our work, the GSC has helped us to quantify our sustainability efforts as saving us more than $23 million per year.”

The article goes on to state that while there are a number of programs that focus on high performance buildings, the GSC program is the only certification program to expand into employee practices and procedures to engage all stores within a chain.

America’s Favorite Grocery Chains

A recent article in The Produce News shared data from a new large-scale study of more than 10,000 consumers conducted by Market Force Information, which revealed that Wegmans is America’s favorite grocery retailer.

For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent grocery shopping experience and their likelihood to refer that grocer to others. The results were averaged to rank each brand on a Composite Loyalty Index.

After not earning enough votes to make the 2015 list, Wegmans garnered double the votes in 2016, resulting in a score of 76 percent — enough to secure the top spot.

Publix ranked second for the fourth year with an earned a score of 75 percent, followed by Trader Joe’s, which slipped 5 percentage points for a score of 73 percent. Hy-Vee and ALDI rounded out the top five.

Here’s a summary of the study’s findings:

FavoriteGroceryChains