Tag Archives: supermarket shopping trends

The e-Trend Continues: Saving Shoppers Time & Money

A recent “10 Items or Lessarticle posted by SupermarketNews identified steps taken by major food retailers that indicate the focus on e-shopping will continue to grow in 2017.

The article states that Wal-Mart Stores plans to have around 1,100 stores offering online grocery pickup this year, and that they are continuing with initiatives built around making fulfillment more versatile and/or efficient, such as offering discounts on online orders picked up in stores, and testing the idea of having store employees deliver orders to customer’s homes on their post-work commutes.

The piece goes on to report that Amazon said it was rolling out “Instant Pickup,” a free service offering its Prime members a curated selection of “daily essentials” available for pickup in two minutes or less. The service is available at five campus locations currently with plans to add more locations soon.

Even no-frills Aldi had issued a statement indicating it was getting into e-commerce for the first time through a partnership with Instacart in three cities.

“Our partnership with Instacart is another example of Aldi expanding our commitment to customer convenience and value,” Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi, said. “We know customers are looking for new ways to save time and money.”

As these new services are being rolled-out, it strikes me that supermarket chains will need to take an innovative approach to refining their work processes to reduce waste and cost.

See related article…about becoming more innovative.

Online Store “Made Easy” for Supermarkets

“We make it easy to take your grocery store online,” says Indemand a San Francisco-based plug and play platform for building an on-demand store or service.

According to the company website, their platform allows anyone to set up their own on-demand store without the need for any technical expertise. Customers can customize their solution, and also take advantage of a “mobile-first” solution.

While the service is available to “any” type of business, pricing plans for supermarkets range between $149 – $299 per month, plus a start-up fee and a per transaction fee.

 

Service v Price in Supermarkets?

Various articles and reports are consistent: supermarket shoppers want more convenience and better service!

One SupermarketNews article reported how consumer demand for service impacted operations at Meijer and the curbside pickup option it launched in some stores in 2015. The article quotes Peter Whitsett, EVP of merchandising and marketing at Meijer, “…[data] has put a spotlight on the huge demand for convenience, and the challenge for the big retailer to wrestle it economically. As retailers we’ve done a reasonably good job of managing price for products, but what we’re learning to do is managing price for service.”

The piece goes on to explain that Meijer assumed curbside pick-up would primarily serve for fill-in trips, but the company soon realized they “were 180 degrees wrong. Customers said ‘do all my shopping for me.’”

Similarly, Euromonitor International, a world leader in strategic market research, published a white paper “The New Definition of Convenience in Retail,” which indicates that, “Thanks to time-pressed consumers, the need for convenience is paramount and retailers, in all channels, are deploying tactics to get consumers what they want as conveniently as possible.”

Of course, the convenience of online shopping and grocery delivery means different things to different people. For urbanites, many of whom opt to forgo car ownership, transportation to and from the supermarket might be the key issue. Yet for others, as noted above, time might be the driving force.

So, what does this mean for supermarkets?

First, as noted by Meijer’s Mr. Whitsett, supermarkets will need to go beyond managing price and find ways to streamline and improve the work processes for providing added services and convenience.

Secondly, online shopping is poised to become a bigger part of the overall grocery shopping equation going forward, and grocery providers must find ways to compete in this arena – against the likes of Amazon and Walmart, this will not be an easy task!

As noted in an article posted on fooddive.com, “Grocery retail value should be re-framed to emphasize non-price factors such as freshness, quality, customer service and the shopping experience. 2017 could become the year when retailers stop primarily selling products and instead start selling services, solutions, and quite possibly stellar shopping experiences.”

“Quick” Customer Experience Analysis

As you most likely know, “Omnichannel” refers to a type of retail that integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (i.e., online, in-store, phone…).

While some say the concept is just a fancier way of describing cross-channel sales, others profess that “Omnichannel” goes further to encompass the continuity of the shopping or customer experience (CX).

To further illustrate this perspective, Todd Leach
VP, Client Insights at Service Management Group (SMG), an organization that focuses on customer and employee experience, writes that Omnichannel is changing consumer expectations and, in one of his blog posts, suggests that “speed” is high on the expectation list.

“Above all else, speed means seamless,” Leach says. “…and the idea of seamless is the root of an Omnichannel experience. Customer information must be available across multiple touch points throughout the customer journey to help make interactions with your brand both efficient and effective. Remembering a customer’s most-purchased items makes checkout a breeze…  a push notification lets them open your app when they come near a store… one-click check-out saves customers from having to give the same information over and over again. These small details make a huge difference in a smooth and efficient customer experience—and that translates to a favorable brand perception and a boost in customer loyalty.”

It seems the online and in-store experiences are merging to better serve customers. The question is, will this ongoing evolution and the associated impact on the customer experience also drive customer loyalty?

 

Shopping Experience & Center Store Growth

An AMG Strategic Advisors report defines “Center Store” as: Packaged Food, Beverages, Health & Beauty Care, General Merchandise, and Home Care.

Industry insiders say that center store sales have declined over the past several years.

However, a recent SupermarketNews article shares some interesting perspectives on this issue; and while the piece acknowledges the fact that growing center store sales is difficult, it also suggests a simple approach to solving the problem.

The article quoted Scott Lewis, VP, operations, at Harmon City Inc. , who said, “The answer [to growing center store sales…] is focusing on the shopper experience.”

“One benefit of being an independent grocer is the ability to react quickly to new consumers and trends. It’s hard to go to Amazon and browse for a new product — but it’s easy to do in a store. We try to create a treasure hunt in our stores where you’re going to find something new in those center store aisles. That’s what people are looking for in their shopping experience.”

The article also suggests pairing like products with their fresh counterparts as another method for enhancing the shopping experience and, in so doing, growing center store sales.

Read the full article…

Hot Food Trends for 2017

Empanadas

Understanding, and often predicting what shoppers want is an ongoing challenge for retailers of all types. While food shopping involves a regular choice of basics, consumers also experience shifting interests.

In a recent Huffington Post article,  ten “hot foods predictions” for 2017 included:

  1. Jackfruit – the the largest tree-borne fruit that saw a 420 per cent rise in interest among Pinterest users, thanks in large part to the vegan and vegetarian community which discovered its use as a convincing meat substitute
  2. Buddha bowls – ypically made with quinoa, avocados, sweet potatoes and grilled vegetables
  3. Empanadas – a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Spain and Latin America
  4. Clean-eating chips
  5. Octopus

 

Check-Out Free Stores?

A December 5th SupermarketNews article shared insights on the latest — and potentially most disruptive — development from Amazon: Amazon Go.

This new convenience store concept will offer consumers grocery essentials, convenience items and prepared foods-to-go without requiring them to check out.

The 1,800-square-foot test store, located in Seattle, is currently open to Amazon employees using the store in a beta test. It will open to the public early in 2017, the Seattle-based retailer said.

According to the article, these new stores will use proprietary technology allowing shoppers to take items from shelves and simply walk out with them to be billed later — “…a potentially big step toward meeting shopper demand for convenience while relieving Amazon the burden of costly  fulfillment as it pursues a greater impact on food retailing.”

“Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart,” the company said in a release. “When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”

Amazon Go — reportedly known inside the company as “Project X” — has been the topic of considerable speculation in recent months. Recent reports said the company was eyeing the potential to add as many as 2,000 such stores in the coming decade following a test period in major markets before 2018.

Wow! We didn’t see this one coming, but it is certainly a good example of customer-driven decision-making! And as some in the industry are wondering, might this be then next big “game changer?”

‘Tis the Season: Food Trends Predictions

predict1As the year winds down it’s time for the latest predictions in food trends!

Among the top expectations for 2017, as reported by a recent SupermarketNews article are:

  1. Functional food from South Asia
  2. Bowls of fresh foods available from the Deli
  3. Plant butchers – for the vegetarians among us
  4. Continued growth of healthy-food choices, including more goat!
  5. More creative sardines choices will emerge as a healthy choice, rich in Omega-3’s and protein

Read the full article…

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

What Food Shoppers Want… and Where They’re Getting it

New consumer research shared by retailleader.com indicates that shoppers really want three things when they shop for food:

  • Convenient locations
  • Friendly service
  • A pleasant atmosphere

Price is more important to grocery store shoppers than it is to c-store customers, who place a higher emphasis on cleanliness and other attributes, the article says.

And when it comes to delighting consumers, Trader Joe’s is the top-ranked grocery store, followed by Publix Super Markets and Whole Foods Market.

Among convenience stores, QuikTrip is the most popular, according to the research, which was conducted by Market Force International.

As we’ve suggested in many posts, providing higher-levels of customer service and engagement is one of the key requirements for supermarkets to satisfy and retain customers.