IDDBA president and CEO Mike Eardley used his keynote remarks at Dairy-Deli-Bake on Monday to emphasize the importance of developing an omni-channel strategy.
“We feel that omni-channel, e-commerce, digital merchandising — whatever terminology you want to use — is the topic for the immediate future. It's about taking care of the customer on their terms. We, the dairy-deli-bakery, have to be ahead of the curve to deliver value to our customers and stay in their value equation,” said Eardley.
He said it is important for the dairy, deli and bakery departments to be leaders in omni-channel within their companies because customers are generally loyal to their primary store when buying products in those areas.
“If your company doesn’t include dairy-deli-bakery in your e-commerce strategy, it’s bad for all of us, but it also costs the store dramatic revenue,” said Eardley.
European retailers have successfully used omni-channel to grow sales, Eardley said. At Tesco, customers spend more both in-store and online if they use click and collect.
In France, drive-through grocery shopping is expected to produce $12.9 billion in sales in 2015. However, shopping baskets have included fewer fresh items since drive-through was introduced.
“The U.S. is lagging in both [delivery and click and collect], but I believe our shoppers will engage quickly with whoever is first and best with either click and collect or drive solutions,” said Eardley.
Yummy.com is one U.S. online retailer that traditional supermarkets need to watch, said Eardley.
“They or someone like them will be coming along to try and take your business unless you start working on an omni-channel plan today to protect it first.”
At the same time, there are omni-channel opportunities for deli and bakery beyond delivery or click and collect, Eardley said.
Retailers can use digital to tell the product story before the shopper comes to the store and suggest other products the customer might be interested in.
Another option is to have a digital portal for ordering so that products are prepared, sliced or packaged, or even rung up, before the shopper arrives.
“No one is going to put up with being put on hold to order their party tray from the deli in a digital world,” said Eardley.
Finally, digital channels are a great way for customers to provide feedback to the store.
Eardley’s presentation was based in part on research from Brick Meets Click and RetailNet Group conducted for IDDBA. Full copies of the reports will be available to IDDBA members this summer.