Tag Archives: Grocery shopping trends

SCO or MCO?

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?

Are Your Stores Future-Proof?

A recent Progressive Grocer article shared data indicating approximately one-third of all retailers are fearful to make any change during these inflationary times.

The piece goes on to point out this issue’s alignment with the late Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” a book classic that has helped leaders across many industries better understand how to prepare for and manage disruptions.

The book’s research indicates that the best-managed companies often stumble during disruptions by failing to prepare themselves for future customer demand. As Christensen noted, “these companies – including iconic brands such as Xerox and Sears Roebuck – failed not because they were not well managed, but because the very management practices that have allowed them to become industry leaders also make it difficult for them to develop the disruptive technologies that ultimately steal away their markets… these companies have become hostage to their top customers.”

But retail leaders must also be aware that the pace of change and “technology disruption” might come faster than one thinks. As the article points out, it can be difficult to predict the future or the ever-increasing pace of change.

Further, as Christensen suggests and as others, including Simon Sinek, have warned, it is dangerous to project the future linearly, when in fact technology accelerates exponentially.

The article concludes that, by remaining hostage to one’s best customers today, retailers risk failing to allocate adequate resources to “future-proof” their business, while they have little understanding of how fast customer needs will change. This puts pressure on “late adopters” to react to those changes and adapt their service architecture to meet future needs.

Retail Grocery Predictions

A recent article published by Progressive Grocer predicts some big changes will take place within the retail food industry this year.

“We believe we’re in for the biggest shift in retail history, revolving around the dramatic change to digital mindsets,” the article said.

“The most important things in retail will become even more important. The things that have always been important to retailers — convenience, value and personalization — will continue to matter. In fact, they’ll matter more than ever. However, the ways that retailers deliver on those three core ideas is ripe for innovation.”

Their predictions for 2022 include:

  • The hybrid in-store and online model will continue to explode because it delivers convenience for shoppers.
  • Bundling will need to be redefined to offer even larger value to customers.
  • Personalized white-glove service will have to expand beyond the in-store experience.
  • As digital transformation accelerates, measuring results is going to become increasingly important.

Read the full article…

Necessity & invention

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!

5 Grocery Trends in 2021

The grocery business has been, as we all know, greatly impacted by the pandemic and shifts in consumer shopping habits and demand. The return of more grocery shoppers in-store has retailers breathing a sigh of relief, but supply chain issues and the associated challenges of getting stock into the store are concerning.

SupermarketNews recently published a report listing five key trends that have emerged this year:

  1. Fresh is back on track! With bakery and deli sections reopening and rebounding, things look bright on the perimeter.
  2. Supply chain issues linger, impacting center store most and increasing the likelihood of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) out of stocks.
  3. Beverage sales are up, with single-serve beverages making a comeback as consumers resume their more active lifestyles.
  4. Snacks have become more popular as all-day noshing buoys the category both in-store and online. It seems younger consumers are more likely to snack for lunch.
  5. Wellness and weight control have had a positive impact on demand for vitamins and supplements, but flu remedies are lagging.

Stockpile Alert?

A recent SupermarketNews article shared the results of Inmar Intelligence research that warned retailers and consumers alike that we could be in for another wave of consumer stockpiling.

With COVID-19 infection rates climbing and mounting concerns about the Delta variant, a surprising number of people are fearing the worst.

Of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed by Inmar, 69.4% said they’re considering replenishing a current stockpile of groceries and other essential products as transmission of the Delta variant increases.

Forty-six percent have already created a product stockpile in response to coronavirus, and 12% of those that haven’t done so said they now will stock up because of the Delta variant.

Another 32.8% said they’re not sure if they will build up their supplies.

Interestingly, sixty percent of consumers polled reported still having products in stockpile they created because of the COVID-19 outbreak! And sixty-five percent said they now plan to always have a stock of food and supplies for emergencies like the pandemic.

If these projections should prove to be accurate, grocery shopping trends could very well shift back to what we experienced at the height of the pandemic, which included larger average order size and an influx in online transactions.

DoorDash Now Offering On-demand Grocery Delivery

According to a recent article published by Restaurant News, “last-mile” food delivery provider DoorDash is now offering on-demand grocery delivery arena, led by the launch of its new DashPass service.

DashPass enables customers to place orders with participating grocery retailers at DoorDash.com or via the DoorDash mobile app and have their groceries delivered directly to their homes by DoorDash.

Defined as the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination, the focus of “last mile delivery” is to deliver items to the end user as fast as possible.

DashPass delivery service is provided via a $9.99 monthly subscription, for which members receive unlimited free deliveries and reduced service fees for orders of at least $12. Customers also can order groceries via DoorDash on a per-order basis for a $3.99 standard delivery fee (depending on the service area), with no minimum order amount.

In a separate article published by SupermarketNews, it was reported that DoorDash, which recently became publicly-traded, built its reputation as the country’s top food delivery provider by strategically going after suburban markets.

As consumers continue to exhibit an increasing demand for convenience as well as quality and choice, retailers and their strategic partners continue to respond with innovative solutions such as this.

Digitized Food Shopping?

89% of U.S. grocery shoppers now use a smartphone at the store says research from Acosta.

The data was published in a recent SupermarketNews article, which stated the current figures marked an increase when compared to the 67% who said they used smartphones while shopping in 2015.

“Mobile-assisted grocery shopping is here to stay and offers a great opportunity for brands and retailers to truly meet the needs of today’s shoppers,” said Colin Stewart, executive vice president of business intelligence at Acosta. “By delivering an end-to-end approach from mobile recipe/meal planning and list making to e-commerce and an in-store experience that is enhanced by mobile, they can not only attract more customers but also engage with them in new and meaningful ways, during the pandemic and beyond.”

Some additional data that might be of interest includes:

  • 58% of consumers polled report being comfortable using digital and online tools to help with food shopping, compared with 42% in 2017 and 35% in 2015
  • 70% reported using a grocery retailer’s app while shopping
  • 34% of shoppers said they view their grocery store circular online
  • 30% of grocery shoppers said they redeem online/mobile coupons downloaded to their smartphone, up from 24% in 2017 and 19% in 2015

4 Ideas for Supermarkets in the New Normal

The pandemic has changed the way people shop and what they care about most, says strategy-business.com. And most likely for the long term.

So, as a result, retailers’ strategies must also change.

“Whether the trip they’re looking to win is inside a store, curbside, or at a customer’s front door, emerging from the crisis on a strong footing will require retailers to plan around this new normal. Those that are best at sensing demand and responding quickly with engaging and brand-defining experiences will “win the trip” and see the highest return on their investments in those experiences, or return on experience (ROX),” the article said.

The piece goes on to suggest that retailers have likely seen growth in demand for certain categories, including food and beverage, personal care and wellness, home improvement, and pet care, as most of life’s activity has shifted to the home. Consequently, extra care (and inventory) in those categories will be necessary. Supermarkets also have an opportunity to “compete for trips — real and virtual — and reinforce their brand leadership by offering shopper resources, such as recipe ideas and educational content, in these categories.”

The authors suggest these four key ways that retailers can compete in the new marketplace:

  1. Improve and personalize targeting.
  2. Reinforce consumers’ category interests.
  3. Invest in targeted subscriber acquisition.
  4. Reimagine loyalty programs.

Read the full article…

Reinventing Grocery?

An interesting e-book, “Reinventing Grocery: The Timeline to the New Normal,” was recently released by co-creators Agilence and Date Check Pro.

With no sales or marketing messages, the publications shares straightforward content about several key issues affecting the supermarket business, such as:

  • How former “slow moving” categories may be worth further investment
  • The role Associates play in future customer acquisition & retention initiatives
  • Why cleanliness & safety protocols will arise as a key driver to new sales
  • Why a familiar industry adjacent to the grocery industry may emerge as a direct competitor
  • The DNA of the New Shopper

More information about downloading the e-book