“The biggest challenges that grocery retailers face is excess inventory and profitability,” says Randy Evins, Senior Principal for Food, Drug & Convenience at SAP.
In a recent SupermarketNews article, Evins explains that grocers face the dilemma of keeping their margins low by spending less while still delivering quality products. More labor requires higher costs, but without the additional attention to fresh foods, products will not be up to standards.
The solution: Grocery retailers should leverage digital resources and process improvement to more easily monitor, plan and execute their efforts.
“It’s critical that grocery free themselves from the constraints of doing everything manually.” Elvin says.
“Automation of simple tasks can help ensure manpower is used in more critical roles rather than routine monitoring and conditions management.”
The article goes on to present ways in which digital information can help supermarket management better-understand what products are most popular and what are consistently undersold, as well as which processes are the best candidates for streamlining. They would then be able to better manage some of the more challenging yet vital areas of the business, such as the fresh foods and perishable sections, which typically comprise up to 50 percent of sales and more than 60 percent of profits.
In addition to leveraging technology to improve operational efficiency, Elvins also stresses the importance of using data to better-understand customer preferences, and to drive the customer experience (CX).
“Stores must differentiate from online by taking advantage of consumer senses, drawing consumers into the store, and using experiences to convert the sale,” he writes.
In-store events like wine tastings, and providing local product representatives and vendors throughout the store to offer expert opinions, are often popular offerings that aren’t possible online, thus creating greater brand-and-store loyalty as well as a competitive edge over online retailers.