Once again Wegmans has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the country, as they ranked #2 on Fortune’s 2018 list.
“Company loyalty runs deep at this more than century- old grocery chain, which spent $50 million on employee development last year (plus $5 million in scholarships) and filled half of its open positions internally,” the Fortune web site states.
The piece went on to share that staffers say “fulfilling” work gives them a “sense of purpose,” thanks to Wegmans’ mission of “helping people live healthier, better lives through food.” The civic spirit helps too: The chain reclaims millions of pounds of food every year to feed the hungry.
Salesforce was listed atop the list, which, according to the company’s website, measures companies on the following characteristics:
- Executive team effectiveness
- People-focused programs
- “Great Place to Work For All”
In a Great Place to Work For All, employees report high levels of trust, credible and respectful leadership, pride in the work, and camaraderie.
More than 315,000 employees provided feedback to determine the winners of the 2018 list. To be considered, companies needed to have at least 1,000 employees and receive enough survey responses to achieve a 95% confidence level with no more than a 5% margin of error.
While New Year predictions are typically made closer to year-end, The Kroger Company recently shared their insights as reported in a Food Business News article.
They first named eating styles as a trend, citing the various diets and lifestyles consumers are adopting in pursuit of improved health and wellness.
“More consumers are purchasing better-for-you products and subscribing to different eating styles, from vegetarian to flexitarian to keto and paleo,” Kroger said in the article.
Gut-healthy foods is another trend expected to explode in the new year, the article said. Kroger expects to see the development of organic kombucha in flavors such as blueberry ginger and raspberry hibiscus, organic apple cider vinegar, Greek yogurt and probiotic low-fat milk, noting that consumers are seeking foods that support self-care and healthy immune systems.
Consumer demand for low sugar and natural sweeteners also is forecast to drive product development next year, and the article cited research that indicated nearly half of consumers say they want to eat less sugar.
Plant-based foods will continue to gain traction in 2019 as well, Kroger says, as more consumers opt to reduce meat and dairy intake.
This past December Forbes published an article suggesting we should expect to see more changes at the grocery store this year as the industry adapts to various competitive pressures and emerging shopping habits.
“The last year has been a trying one for supermarkets that face not only changing technology and consumer demands but heightened competition on price,” the article said.
The article predicted four key trends for 2018, which were:
- More online shopping options
- Mobile payment acceptance
- Meal kits
- In-store drinking and dining
At the half-way-or-so point, it seems these predictions are on track. And clearly all four predictions focus on improving processes as well as customer service and the shopping experience!
Guess we can all stay-tuned to see if these trends continue…
A recent Progressive Grocer’s article shared data from a new report from by KPMG LLP, which found that companies providing “the best personal, individualized experiences to customers” see higher revenue growth and improved brand standing and loyalty.
The “2018 U.S. Customer Experience Excellence Analysis” also ranked the top consumer “champion” brands according to customer experience delivered.
Among those that consumers ranked highest for customer service delivery were:
Read the full article…
According to a recent Business Briefs article, Martin’s Super Markets, a mid-west chain, is continuing to roll out of its online shopping service, which they call Groceries To Go, and which is now available at 12 of their 21 stores.
The Groceries-To-Go service costs $4.99 per order, the article explains. The process is also straightforward, as once users go online or download the app (on either iPhone or Android devices) and create an account they simply shop and choose a pickup time, and then pay. Someone at their chosen store then sends an email confirming receipt of the order, and then sends another email when the order is ready for pickup.
To pickup their order, customers simply park in designated areas and then text or call to announce their arrival. A “Personal Shopper” then brings the groceries and loads them into the customer’s vehicle.
Pharmacy prescriptions, alcohol and tobacco products are not available for online ordering, the article said. Log on to www.martinsgroceriestogo.com for more information.
The trend toward online shopping and an enhanced customer experience continues…
According to an article published on LInkedIn, Wal-Mart recently opened its first “smart store” supermarket in Xin’an Wu Road, Bao’an District, Shenzhen.
We first read about the “smart supermarket” concept in a piece published by AgThentic, a sustainability and innovation consulting firm focusing on the food industry. In a 2016 article, they referenced the increasing popularity of online grocery shopping and click-and-collect services, and predicted the model was set to change how consumers “will do their weekly shop.”
The article went on to say, “Incorporating predictive technologies into the online shopping experience will allow consumers to access discounts on their favorite brands or re-order the same essential items each week without having to individually add them to a cart. These features have huge implications for convenience… By using data collected from your previous purchases, retailers can understand what you buy and how often you buy it, and send you friendly reminders when you’re running low. Say goodbye to the days of getting halfway home and realizing you forgot to buy toothpaste.”
In addition to helping consumers shop with ease, these same practices are also beneficial to supermarkets as they look to manage inventory and reduce food waste. “Consumers expect to see an overstocked display of cosmetically attractive produce,” the article said. “To compensate, supermarkets throw out up to 40% of food before it even reaches store shelves.”
AgThentic predicted retailers of the future will use consumer data to understand how to market and sell ‘unattractive’ or ‘imperfect’ produce, citing examples in Australia that are already doing so.
Read the full article…
According to a recent Business Insider article, Kroger is once again taking a bold step forward in trying to enhance the customer shopping experience by “rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores,that could change grocery shopping as we know it.”
This new development, which is called Kroger Edge, will be installed on store shelves in place of paper price tags, and will digitally display pricing and nutritional information, and even show video ads and coupons for various products.
The technology will enable the chain to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, thus freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.
In the future, the technology will communicate with customers’ smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.
A recent SupermarketNews article reported that The Kroger Co. opened a Culinary Innovation Center, which includes a commercial kitchen with multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, along with technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.
The renovations to the two-story brick building in downtown Cincinnati totaled $2.5 million, the article said.
“Kroger’s new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center,” said Daniel Hammer, vice president of culinary development and new business at Kroger.
“As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep + Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates’ culinary knowledge.”
Read the full article…
A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Target will begin offering same-day delivery to customers in three metro areas—Boston, Miami and Minneapolis—starting Feb. 1.
The move comes following the retailer’s December acquisition of Shipt, the article said.
The article went on to say that online retail is picking up speed at an even faster rate than previously thought, and that both Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen data suggest 70% of consumers will shop for groceries online by 2024.
The trend toward on-line shopping is a strong one for sure, but supermarkets by-and-large have significantly improved the level of customer service and the in-store shopping experience.
The question is, how can they combine the two “experiences” to build stronger levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty?
Read the full article…
A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Kroger has launched a new improvement initiative to accelerate changes in assortments and better customer service.
While Kroeger has been in the news lately for considering the sale of its convenience stores, the new “Restock Kroger” improvement initiative seems to be the bigger story. It will involve “an accelerated and more data-driven effort around pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a revamp of product assortments,” the article said.
“We will change the way people eat in the U.S.,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO. “If you are eating, we want to serve you. Unless you are eating in a white tablecloth restaurant, we want to be able to provide that meal for you.”
Read the full article…