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Most people will buy groceries online by 2024

Report suggests strategies for digital success

Consumers are increasingly turning toward online sales, and it's happening faster than previously expected. A new report from Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen finds that 70% of consumers will be grocery shopping online by 2024. And it’s leaving retailers unprepared. The same report last year predicted a majority of Americans would be shopping online within eight to 10 years.

The report also found that consumers could be spending $100 billion a year on online grocery by 2024. That is the equivalent to every U.S. household spending $850 online for food and beverage annually.

Even today, though, online shopping is pervasive: 49% of U.S. consumers shop for consumer packaged goods products online.

“The grocery industry is currently in the age of digital experimentation, where the roadmap on how to navigate and achieve real and profitable growth continues to evolve,” said Chris Morley, the U.S. president of FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and retail at Nielsen. “While analytics will continue to be critical for retailers and manufacturers to understand the digitally engaged food shopper on a deeper level, a collaborative approach to balancing physical and digital sales strategies is the key to unlocking omnichannel success.”

The study focused on the increasing importance of omnichannel retail, or integrating various methods of shopping. And it revealed six digital imperatives for omnichannel success for retailers and manufacturers:

1. Align organizational structures for omnichannel success: Integrate digital offerings in parallel with brick-and-mortar operations.
2. Address discrepant datasets: Scrub master data files for discrepancies; strength in data and accuracy is a critical component to successfully support online sale efforts.
3. Integrate forecasts to increase operational efficiencies: Integrate online and offline forecasting, so the right amount of inventory is available to meet orders through either channel.
4. Optimize shopper insights: Bring retailer and manufacturer shopper information together into a single, comprehensive view of customer insights.
5. Improve marketing and promotions: Optimize the management of omnichannel marketing and promotions.
6. Merge digital and in-store shelf capabilities: Manage the physical shelf and its digital counterpart to create a seamless shopping experience, where consumers see the same information both on or offline.

“People, process and technology are the trifecta for a true omnichannel collaboration model,” said FMI Chief Collaboration Officer Mark Baum. “No matter the maturity stage, food retailers and their CPG business partners will find value in leveraging these six organizational imperatives as they respond for a more digitally engaged consumer.”

Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @gloriadawson

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