Now that we’re approaching the end of the year, it’s important to take a step back and analyze what we learned from 2016 and how these learnings can be applied to 2017 initiatives.
Acosta recently released The Revolution of Grocery Shopping report, which analyzed five megatrends currently impacting the industry. What’s imperative, however, is that brands and retailers embrace these shifts and apply these new consumer behaviors into actionable strategies in the coming year. Acosta looked at some of the best practices utilized in conjunction with these megatrends and developed the top ten priorities to guide the grocery store of the near future:
1. Integrate health and wellness: Educate shoppers in-store and digitally to help them make smart food choices. Also consider how any in-store dietitians, pharmacies or other services in the wellness category can benefit customers during a single shopping trip.
2. Prepared foods: Expect the trend of grocerants and ready-to-eat meals to grow further as shoppers look for convenient, but quality, meal solutions. Retailers should provide nutritious options in this category, as well as more diverse types of meals.
3. Digital fusion: The digital retail experience now goes beyond just coupons with the concept of the endless aisle. At-home delivery options make shopping convenient, and retailers should leverage apps so consumers can meal plan and take inventory of their kitchens.
4. Localize: Shoppers want to feel a connection to their store and localizing your offerings and marketing messages can help them form a bond. A supermarket should be broadly appealing, yet reflective of its community.
5. Signature departments: Select a few particular categories to zero in on and amplify those areas to differentiate your retail offerings. If you think your customers will gravitate toward a robust pet section, for example, focus on diversifying your product offerings in this space versus an aisle they’re less likely to visit.
6. In-store technology: Retailers, especially, should experiment with, and embrace, new gadgets and tools, whether it’s mobile checkout or robots to monitor inventory. Find what’s right for your store and customers, and integrate that technology to stay ahead.
7. Environment and experience enhancement: Create a welcoming environment for shoppers that capitalizes on what today’s consumer wants — an enjoyable shopping experience. From creating an upscale store design and layout, to having concierges readily available, treating customers like guests makes your store feel inviting and more like a unique destination.
8. Partnerships: Encourage one-stop shopping by forming partnerships with other specialty retailers to keep consumers in store longer and make their trip more convenient. For example, consider partnering with a nearby retailer to supply small gifts and housewares for those who might be coming to your store to pick up a cake, balloons or cards for a birthday.
9. Next generation loyalty programs: Grocery shoppers have always responded well to loyalty programs, but they’re now looking to take it to the next level. Consider upping your program, and use something like airline miles programs as your inspiration to provide special bonus offers.
10. Center store revolution: The majority of profits are still tied to center store, but gone are the days of laying out aisles around operational ease and supply chain needs. Customers are looking for an intuitive store layout, so capitalizing on cross-merchandising to bring the center store to the perimeter is key.
Believe it or not, 2017 is just around the corner. Brands and retailers need to get on board and adopt these priorities today to better position themselves for the upcoming year.