Industry thought leaders have begun to chime in on what the top 2017 grocery store trends look like. A look through their predictions shows much agreement on where grocery eCommerce, marketing, and operations are headed in the next 12-18 months.
Here’s our take on six of the top grocery store trends.
1. Big data will further personalize the shopping experience
We all want to provide the right experience to the right customer at just the right time, but how do we do it? The only way to get there is with well-thought-out data collection and analysis. To earn customer loyalty, you must first understand what they want and how they want to receive it.
Big data is where it all starts. In fact, it’s the common thread that connects most of the grocery store trends and changes we’re seeing across the industry.
In 2017, there will be increased investment in big data collection and analytics so stores can give customers the personal, fast, engaging, and convenient shopping experiences they seek.
2. Stores will transition from being product-driven to being service-driven
Build it (or stock it) and they will come? Well, not necessarily. Many grocers already know that great product selection doesn’t guarantee customer loyalty.
The truth is, shoppers can find the products you sell in any number of bricks and mortar or online stores. What keeps them coming back to your store is the experience you give them when they’re there.
These experiences start with tried-and-true good customer service, but today’s shopper wants more. Forward-thinking grocers are meeting this challenge with innovative, personal, and engaging experiences like in-store coffee bars, wine tasting, healthy eating seminars, and farm-to-table markets.
3. The pursuit of the ultimate multi-channel customer experience continues
When online and offline experiences operate separately in silos, it creates friction in the customer shopping experience. More and more customers demand and expect a seamless shopping experience, whether they’re shopping online, in store, or through a hybrid of the two.
If they haven’t already, grocery retailers will begin to work more closely with their I.T. departments to seamlessly integrate online and offline offerings so they can provide their customers with the best frictionless shopping experience possible.
4. The focus on social media marketing intensifies
The digital/social revolution has changed everything for retailers. It’s unavoidable - today’s consumer is heavily influenced by what’s said on social media. Interactions Marketing’s Retail Perceptions report, “Social Media: Invest to Impress?” discovered that shoppers can be heavily influenced by a grocery’s social media efforts, which is why more chains are investing in digital advertising and interaction.
The report said that more than 75% of all shoppers expect their grocery stores to have a social media presence, and that there should be updates about deals and specials posted regularly.
Consumer interactions are what’s driving your brand’s image and can quickly make or break you. Brands must not miss this boat. In 2017, smart organizations will continue to invest more time and money on tracking and managing brand image through all social media channels.
5. Customers want transparency and easier access to product information
Today’s consumer is committed to healthy eating, wants whole, fresh ingredients, and cares about how food production affects the environment. They want to know that the brands they’re buying feel the same way. To meet this demand, the industry will continue to improve its transparency with clearer labels, health claims, and product certification.
6. New and faster ways to check out
One major contributor to a positive shopping experience is the ability to pay and leave a store as quickly as possible. So, one of the biggest in-store operational trends in 2017 will be new and faster ways to check out. More retailers will embrace self-checkout, mobile checkout, and handheld scanners that shoppers can use to scan and pay for their purchases while they shop.
Conclusion: Innovation will keep you in the game
We see a lot of exciting and innovative change on the horizon. Personalized shopping, new and exciting experiences, faster and more efficient check out: all of these grocery store trends are driven by the needs and wants of the consumer. Know your customer and be open to change, and you’ll grow your market share.
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