As we step into the new decade, especially after a year that saw epic disruptions across industries, the way consumers buy groceries has gone through tectonic shifts. With everyone embracing digital technology and web-based apps to order groceries, irrespective of age, background, social status, mainly owing to the ongoing pandemic, the new age of grocery retail looks nothing like how it was in the last few decades. After the innovation of the supermarket concept, this is one of the biggest changes that has swept the industry on a global scale.
#1 Fluid E-commerce
While e-retail was an option until not too long ago, it has become more mainstream than ever in the last year. The year 2021 is all about making the entire e-grocery experience as fluid and frictionless as possible. Retailers are also increasingly feeling the impact of third-party apps and aggregator marketplaces on not just brand affinity but also on the pricing differences, delivery experience and several more key aspects that would affect customer experience. This year would be all about finding the right balance between owning this experience and outsourcing it.
The year 2020 saw an increase in different pickup options. Flexible pickups, curbside pickups, dropoff points, authorised centres etc. grew increasingly to meet surge demand and also tackle challenges such as delivery slot unavailability, panic buying and more. The ongoing year would see how these options get absorbed into the mainstream and how retailers can find a balance between how many orders need to be delivered at the customer’s sites and how many would be picked up. It is also likely that predictive models evolve in this area where one could forecast these numbers with the help of technology tools However, availability of past-purchase data is crucial for this to become effective.
#3 Fresh Food Delivery
With lockdowns and scarcity in grocery deliveries due to constraints posed by logistics challenges, there was an impact on fresh food deliveries. Logistically, it poses another challenge altogether as these are time-sensitive. The behavioral change triggered by a year of ordering fresh food is set to stay and retailers need to figure ways to manage their deliveries and keep up the SLAs considering the urgency and perishable nature of fresh food.
#4 Loyalty Programs
The Amazon Prime wave is creating a rippling effect on the entire industry and every retailer - big or small - is launching their own version of it. Loyalty programs are not just a great retention strategy but also a sureshot way to get customer data which is critical not just to understand consumer behavior but also critical business. A lot of things such as demand planning, carrier decisions etc. are decided based on this data. Tying it tightly with the legacy systems and ensuring data security, synchronization and interoperability.
For grocery retail, the long-term association and familiarity is a huge deciding factor in addition to normal considerations such as cost, convenience etc. This personalization which goes for a toss to a considerable extent in omni-channel retailing needs to be compensated in other ways. This is a trend which grocery retailers are embracing and figuring out ways and means to achieve higher degrees of personalization to retain brand loyalty.
Are you equipped enough to meet the challenges in the new normal?
With 2020 just triggering a wave of changes, 2021 will be a key year where grocers are planning not just for the current but the next decade with future-ready technology that considers the evolving nature of the demands of the modern-day consumer and investing in intelligent logistics that forms the bedrock of keeping operations up and running even during times of disruption.
To learn more about FarEye’s intelligent logistics platform, sign up for a demo here.