Gone are the days of a weekly trip to your neighbourhood store to stroll the aisles in search of the items on your list… and perhaps a few others. Today’s shoppers check prices online; order meal kits to be delivered on home; purchase online and collect in store; split their purchases between online, direct from producer, and in store; shop at multiple retailers depending on where they are and what they are looking to buy.
We’ve seen the studies from experts like A.T. Kearney, many shoppers do not identify as having a single store where they shop. As a millenial shopper myself, I did not visit the same market or grocery store more than 10 times in all of 2016. I generally choose when and where to shop based on a trade off between time and money. If I had unlimited amounts of both I would probably narrow my shopping choices down to 3 or 4, including some specialty stores that have things I really love, but not all of my weekly shopping essentials. The reality is – there is a very real shift towards decreased loyalty in today’s shoppers – a fact that retail giants have had difficulty adapting to as they navigate how to maintain a core shopper base and also appeal to the more nomadic shopper profiles.
Technology is the biggest factor that will change food retail in the next decade. Forget about Amazon Go – we’ve already seen a litanny of technology changes that have automated the way we interact with retailers and our food. I recently entered a Whole Foods in Chicago, and before grabbing a basket and roaming around the store, I ordered and paid for a smoothie at a self-serve kiosk. A few minutes later, the smoothie appeared on the counter without even a glimpse of the person who made it.
Valli Herman discusses the advent of digital ordering, changing consumer preferences, and our new-found-relationship with food. In fact, in this new world of ‘groceraunts’, as she calls them, we may see increased automation on the purchasing side. Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert, also predicts that technology and more traditional techniques like in store grills and cooking demonstrations may be the next phase in helping consumers understand the origins and ingredients in their food.
Technology is helping empower shoppers so they can make personalized buying decisions depending on their values, diets, and budget. A Metro franchisee, McKeen Metro Glebe, has made strides to integrate technology to help consumers connect with their food. Their interactive touch screen displays provide shoppers with an inside look behind local products available in store so that shoppers can better understand the stories behind their food.
So while we may see technology take away some of the personal connection and loyalty that people have with grocery retailers, technology may also be the solution and the eventual next step to help people connect with their food.
“Grocery of the Future…” Read the entire article by Valli Herman.