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Avoid getting left in the digital dust

Avoid getting left in the digital dust

Welcome to the first IdeaXchange theme week! We asked all of our Xperts to answer the question: What keeps you up at night? This is what Bill Bishop had to say.

What keeps me up at night is the thought that food retailers are losing touch with their customers and don’t know it. Many in the supermarket industry underestimate how extensively digital has impacted the way people live and shop for food — and as a result, their relationships with customers are growing weaker and weaker.

The risk of losing touch is particularly high in two areas.

• Productive communications: The cornerstone of food retailer communications is the weekly print circular. As newspaper circulations drop and more people turn to screens instead, it’s changing the way they “read” information, and digital circulars aren’t yet delivering. Dialoging on social media is also not getting enough attention. Customers want it, but few retailers are using it to advantage.

• Better experience: Amazon focuses on delivering exceptional customer experience and so do most food retailers. For food retailers, however, there’s often a disconnect when the experience moves outside of the store. Customers also want to interact with retailers before and after they do their in-store shopping, but most grocers have been slow to pick up on this.

These are important challenges, yet at the same time, there is a veritable blizzard of new ways to strengthen and expand connections with customers. Sorting them out to find out what works and what doesn’t is important. Simply offering a digital option isn’t enough; the new option must deliver some benefit to shoppers. That’s how to maintain and strengthen your connection with shoppers.

What have you done recently to connect digitally with shoppers?

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