SupermarketNews recently reported that Schnuck Markets will be providing 30-minute delivery with its “Schnucks Now” offering on smaller orders and fast delivery.
“The new service allows customers to shop from a limited assortment of fresh groceries, pantry, household essentials, alcohol, meals, and snacks, with delivery in as fast as 30 minutes with no priority fees and lower delivery fees,” the article said.
In today’s competitive marketplace, this seems like another step forward in providing an enhanced customer experience. As you may know, Schnuck’s has offered delivery and pick up options for some time, and has also partnered with DoorDash to provide prepared meal delivery.
The piece went on to quote Chace MacMullan, Schnuck’s Senior Director Digital Experience, who said, “‘It’s been something we’ve been talking about for a while. We partner with Instacart and together we’re always looking at different ways to innovate. Reach the customers where they are, and where they are in the delivery schedule.”
A recent SupermarketNews article reported the grand opening of Walmart’s 1.1M square-foot Next Generation fulfillment center, which will enable faster processing and delivery of on-line orders to wider geographic areas. The new concept facility will also bring about new jobs.
The piece quoted James Bright III, general manager, Fulfillment Center FC3040, who said, “As the first-of-its-kind for Walmart, our newly opened facility introduces an array of opportunities to our associates, including brand new tech-focused jobs. There’s never been a more exciting time to join Walmart Supply Chain.”
The new center will be the first of four next-gen FCs that will feature a new patent-pending process that is “powered by the combination of people, robotics and machine learning,” the article said. “This process will set a new precedent in fulfillment speed by streamlining a manual twelve-step process to just five steps. Once completed, the four new state-of-the-art FCs for Walmart could provide 75 percent of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping.”
Read the full article…
SupermarketNews recently reported that, despite internal systems improvements, retailers continue to struggle with labor and supplier issues, costing North American supermarkets over $349 billion in total sales lossesmdue to out-of-stocks and overstocks.
Reports of consumer discontent are common, with shoppers claiming one-out-of-five items they want to buy are out-of-stock according to new research from analyst firm IHL Group the article said.
“While there have been considerable improvements in systems and processes in recent years, labor challenges and continued supply chain disruptions issues continue to frustrate both consumers and retailers,” said Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group. “In addition, challenges from theft, mistakes by employees, and spoilage cause retailer’s inventory counts to be off as much as 25%, resulting in consumers having a shopping experience where they left the stores without buying 1 in every 5 items they planned to buy.”
You can read the full article here.
A recent SupermarketNews article shared the results of consumer intelligence and marketing specialist InMarket’s Consumer Loyalty Report.
In the grocery sector the average score was 1.93. However, the top five finishers faired quite a bit better. The top 5 chains were:
- H-E-B’s with a score of 4.63
- Market Basket with a score of 3.9
- Kroger at 3.8
- King Soopers at 3.77
- Fry’s at 3.76
“Grocery stores like H-E-B and Kroger were subject to heavy inflation and supply chain issues, with grocery and food prices increasing by 6.4% year over year by November 2021,” InMarket explained.
“However, these chains all scored well-above average total consumer loyalty… as consumers again chose to shop with brands they knew would offer them the right price.”
Innovative improvements in retail operations, pricing, merchandising, and customer service have been the norm over the past eighteen months, and the trend is continuing at a rapid pace.
Progressive Grocer recently reported on two prime examples.
Big Y Foods, one of New England’s largest independently owned supermarket chains, is enhancing its fleet logistics with new trailers equipped with state of the art refrigeration units and an electronic platform for remote monitoring and control.
The eSolutions platform provides continuous visibility of Big Y’s cold-chain assets via a centralized data stream that monitors trailer temperatures, location and movement, and also enables remote control of refrigeration units. The platform also:
- Provides notifications as trailers come and go from geofenced areas assigned to Big Y’s distribution center and key locations within its retail network.
- Finds unused or underused trailer assets, including those dropped by Big Y’s third-party logistics provider at vendor partners, where they may be idle for a few days until loaded.
- Monitors trailer precooling time to minimize fuel waste.
- Optimizes refrigeration unit performance for fuel efficiency and product protection.
- Helps avoid emergency call-out situations in which a refrigeration unit must be re-primed because it ran out of fuel. Fuel level monitoring sensors send dispatchers low-fuel alerts via eSolutions, and units can be programmed to automatically shut down before they run out of fuel.
- Shortens refrigeration unit uptime through the use of continuous analytic and diagnostic information
On a different front, St. Louis based Schnuck Markets Inc. has announced that it will be the first grocer to use a Check In feature provided by GetUpside.
Shoppers can use the free GetUpside mobile app to take advantage of personalized cashback promotions of up to 20%. The new Check In feature will make it easier for customers to earn cash back as, instead of snapping and submitting a picture of a receipt, they can just click “Check in” and GetUpside will verify each transaction.
These innovations are just two examples of how many of today’s supermarket chains are leveraging innovation and technology to improve processes and to provide a better customer experience.
Giant Food, Publix Super Markets, H-E-B, Wegmans Food Markets, Albertsons Cos. and Big Y Foods are among the latest grocery chains to provide COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
Pfizer COVID booster shots are administered at least six months after completion of the initial Pfizer two-dose vaccination series. Eligible patients include seniors, long-term care residents, those ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, individuals ages 18 to 49 at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions, and people ages 18 to 64 at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings.
Big Y Foods, a New England chain, is now providing the Pfizer COVID booster, as well as the Pfizer and Moderna third COVID vaccine doses, at all of its pharmacy and clinic locations. On Sunday, the Springfield, Mass.-based chain kicked off “Big Y’s Big Vax Week,” a series of on-site immunization clinics — including COVID and seasonal flu shots — through Oct. 2 at all 71 Big Y supermarkets in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
As part of their first-ever chainwide vaccination event, Big Y will be giving patients who receive a vaccine a coupon for $5 off $25, as well as other giveaways. In addition, Big Y said it will administer COVID booster shots at all Big Y pharmacy locations regardless of where people received their original Pfizer COVID vaccine series.
Making customer retention a first priority and finding ways to let customers know they are cared for were among the key focus areas to be addressed in a Customer Experience program offered by Progressive Grocer.
“As those who keep you in business explore a rapidly expanding landscape of options beyond your stores, customers need to know you care about keeping their business over time… [you must] become the most trusted partner to meet each customer’s needs, keep them safe, and ensure they know you’re listening and learning from their experiences,” they said in a statement.
The piece went on to pose some thought-provoking questions regarding customer trust and loyalty, and about finding opportunities to gain their feedback to ensure needs are being met.
“Customers have more options than ever to obtain what they need and want,” PG said.
“Retailers who don’t specialize in grocery or have never offered grocery items are expanding across the market to capture larger segments of your customers’ budgets. The intensely competitive nature of grocery requires constant communication with customers and attention to these imperatives: an omni-channel approach to customer feedback, prioritizing safety and building customer trust, and knowing exactly what your customers want.”
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
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:
- Improve and personalize targeting.
- Reinforce consumers’ category interests.
- Invest in targeted subscriber acquisition.
- Reimagine loyalty programs.
Read the full article…
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