March 24, 2020.
Written by Sharoon Emmanuel
As the grocery industry is constantly evolving, businesses need to think about delivering their customers with personalized experiences. This is particularly important as disruptions in the industry have begun to alter consumer expectations and demands.
As consumers are quickly becoming more tech-savvy, grocers need to evolve with them by implementing different Omni-channel strategies to target customer at various touch points.
What is the Omnichannel Retail Approach?
Simply put, Omni-channel retail is focused on streamlining all the channels, or ways, your customers can purchase your product. It means that your mobile application, your website, your social media accounts, your physical store, your digital advertising and any other method that you use to connect with prospects & customers, are all unified and streamlined. The omni-channel approach considers all your channels as a single ecosystem of your brand.
The Current State of Omni-channel Retail
According to Google, nearly 50% of offline grocery sales are influenced by digital. This means that to win over shoppers, businesses should be developing digital shopping abilities and ways to compare prices and more. In order to bring in more customers, grocers need to look into convenient ways to shop.
By narrowing down the convenience gap, businesses need to focus on frictionless, intuitive, and even one-click online shopping experiences. Research reveals that 42% of people who’ve shopped online for groceries in the past year experienced time-saving, ease in locating their favorite products and seamless comparison between brands and prices.
The grocery sector is expected to foresee a radical change in the time to come as centers on creating comfort by allowing customers to shop online at any point of time.
Bain and Google recommends that every step of the online shopping process should incorporate cutting-edge tools that offer product details and insights into what wouldn’t be available in-store i.e. experience and the product itself. The areas where grocers can capitalize on are augmented reality, e-commerce automation and voice-activated shopping.
Data-Focused Marketing is Key
Earlier, the only way grocers could identify consumer preferences was by looking at receipts but now with the emergence of smart technologies, businesses are able to drill down every bit of data they can get their hands on for future improvements. To win in the long run, businesses need to digitize everything to gain valuable insights into their customers’ buying habits and preference to better market them and automate initiatives.
Create Experiences that Convert
The modern shopper of today expects to be catered any time, regardless of the geographical barriers on any device, and have the experience be frictionless.
A study by Forrester reveals that 60% of shoppers engage with brands they are likely to come across at multiple channels. However, Zendesk reports that 87% of online consumers believe that brands need to put more effort into providing better experiences.
To adopt the Omni-channel approach, businesses need to have a unified customer view where they can be able to access both historical and real-time data, i.e. what products the customers browsed, added to their cart, purchased in-store & online, left feedback on, communicated on what channels and at what time.
Also, they need to focus on enabling a digital experience that can deliver personalized content which is consistent across devices.
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Innovation in Grocery Shopping Now & Beyond
Walmart has recently filed a patent for VR headsets and sensory gloves that allow online shoppers to experience the store at the leisure of their home, helping them to not only see but feel their groceries.
Another great innovation has been done by Kroger and Peapod where they have incorporated voice-ordering technology to allow shoppers to fill up their carts with little to no effort.
Stop & Shop, Sedano's and Albertsons have now transited to automated warehouses to speed up their online grocery order fulfillment.
It’s Now or Never!
The Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen noted that innovation and widespread availability will quicken demand, with sales expected to hit almost $100 billion within the next two to three years.
If grocery retailers can incorporate technology, convince their customers to make repeat e-commerce purchases and provide practical digital tools to help them shop online, they will have a higher chance of gaining market share and earning brand loyalty.
By identifying the right strategies, businesses can leverage the Omni-channel approach to cater customers more effectively and create memorable experiences. With the right technology and marketing partner, grocers of today can take their grocery business to the next level.
In general, implementing an end to end omni-channel experience that meets the standards of the modern consumer can be a bit daunting. However, the transition scenario for grocery retailers is far easier as compared to players of other industry sectors.
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Originally Published April 12, 2019 12:00 AM, Updated April 12, 2019.