Grocery shopping network: The future or nowadays?
For a considerable while, the groceries sector seemed to have been spared by the e-commerce wave. Statistics showed that most people preferred to visit brick-and-mortar stores to do their grocery shopping. However, the year 2020 brought some changes into our lives that required people to adjust to almost every way they used to go about their lives, and retailing was not an exception.
The lockdown restrictions in most areas made it difficult for shoppers to continue with their in-person grocery purchasing habits. E-commerce has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of the pandemic. Online grocery shopping experienced a massive spike in growth during the first lockdown, with its mass-market share jumping from 5.7% in 2019 to 10% in 2020.
One of the most powerful tools that have risen to sudden prominence is retail media. It is the practice of featuring ads on a retail website, app, or other e-commerce platforms to influence the customer’s purchasing decision at the point of sale. No doubt, retail media is the present and future of grocery shopping, and it’s high time that marketers tapped into this fast-growing wave if they want to avoid sinking into oblivion.
Grocery retail trends: The rise of e-commerce
In recent times, searching and making purchases on the PC and mobile devices has become widespread. The amount of traffic associated with groceries that has been happening online has forced retailers to experiment with virtual stores. It might be interesting to note that some are investing heavily into the development of fully functional warehouses or ‘dark stores.’ As we embrace the widespread acceptance of e-commerce into the groceries sector, there are issues retailers should focus on. These are highlighted below.
The continued rise of e-grocery
There is a false belief in some circles that grocery e-commerce trends are a passing fade. However, all indications are that the wave is here to stay. Retailers are radically rethinking and reimagining the areas that can be optimized and made better. These include home delivery, click-and-collect, drive-through, and centralized lockers.
Enhanced customer engagement
Significant strides have also been made in enhancing customer experience. Retailers have been making efforts to blur the lines between online and offline shopping. There has been the introduction of initiatives, such as drive-thru pick-up or drop boxes whereby shoppers can order items online and collect them without having to leave their car. This kind of gradual convergence between in-store and web shopping helps create a seamless relationship between the customer and retailer.
Retailers have also enhanced their digital marketing strategies. Billboards and physical posters have become increasingly replaced by personalized adverts on e-commerce platforms and social media. It has helped to keep consumers engaged and drive sales.
The sophistication of personalization and CRM
Big data has enabled retailers to learn about their customers in a more profound way. It is partly because customers have become increasingly willing to engage with retailers through innovative loyalty programs, location-based services, and smartphone applications. All these efforts will ensure that there is a better shopping experience on behalf of the customer.
Efficient customer checkout
Efficient customer checkout systems have also been developed. It has helped reduce waiting time for customers and cut the retailer’s operating expenses. There has been the massive application of near field communication (NFC) technology which allows two wireless devices within proximity to beam data to each other. Some big retailers, such as Walmart and Target, are also experimenting with self-checkout systems, all in an attempt to make grocery more fulfilling.
Digital dashboards: Shop floor customer service
There have also been some efforts to equip sales associates with iPads and iPod touches that allow them to instant reaction to market trends, information on product recalls, customer reviews, and brochures that help them answer a wide range of customer questions.
E-grocery is also embracing dynamic pricing that enables retailers to offer their customers real-time pricing. For instance, there are service providers that vary their delivery charges based on the customer’s profile and desired delivery time.
How will retail media change the future of grocery shopping?
It is vital to note that the future of e-grocery will be more centered on the experience rather than just the commodities. Consumer choice will be based on the customer experience more than on any other aspect. For instance, service providers who allow customers to learn about food and wine will thrive better than those who just sell these. Therefore, the key is to strike a balance between technology and human interaction. While customers benefit from chatbots or applications giving them information, they also yearn for human connection, such as having a conversation with the customer services person to address an issue or have personalized recommendations.
As we wind up, the only certainty we can expect is a dynamic retail environment. For new players in the groceries market, this is an excellent opportunity to compete with giant corporations on a more-or-less level playing field. On the other hand, the big grocery corporations can easily adopt an e-commerce approach to trading by taking advantage of their ample resources. Whichever way, it’s definitely a new dawn of grocery e-commerce.