Grocery. It’s an industry so inundated with change every single day, it can be hard to keep up.
We have game-changing M&A activity (retail meets health care!) that we never would’ve anticipated until Amazon shook us from our apparent dozing. We also have innovations at shelf to speed up the shopping process (Amazon), community initiatives dedicated to making our country healthier, farmer benefits programs, bars and “grocerants” turning up in stores, meal kits, smaller urban footprints, traditional fashion retail diving into grocery and cashier-less check out … just to name a few.
At the core of most of these concepts is the customer experience. In a recent survey, I fielded among 60+ Padilla colleagues around their frustrations and future expectations for grocery, nearly all of the answers focused on surround-sound experience, online and offline.
So, what’s next? Of the experiential changes my colleagues wanted to see in-store, I pulled together five guiding principles that retailers will need to follow as they approach this new age of grocery shopping.
Be Human – Most of the survey respondents said stores with more proactive staff who help them make buying decisions would enhance their experience. Supermarkets are the last interaction the consumer has before purchase (both on and offline) – so make it a good one.
Teach – Shoppers are confused about what to buy, when, and how to use it. They’re also unsure of serious topics like GMO, natural, organic and sustainable. And with governmental oversight stalled, retailers should have a point-of-view and voice on the topics to help clear up the confusion.
Nourish – Over 15 million American households identify as food insecure and separately, only 1 in 10 Americans eats enough fruits and vegetables. The grocery industry has an opportunity to reset cultural norms and lead our nation in making healthy food more accessible and also changing human behavior.
Be Transparent – Nearly half of Americans don’t find brands truthful and millennials and Gen Z have come to expect that companies are socially responsible. They’re also truth seekers, which means more than ever before, retailers need to consider their responsibility to their communities, product selection, shelf placement and openness about every one of those decisions.
Personalize – Survey respondents also voiced the need for segmentation in-store and online based on lifestyle, generational and diet needs. That means embracing consumer data to determine how to evolve store layout and online options to be everything to someone, not something for everyone.
What do you think the grocery store of the future will look like? And what do you want to see?
Curious how we might be able to help with your retail strategy? Contact me.