You’ve heard of two-day shipping becoming standard across retail, but in the world of grocery, it’s more like 15 minutes. Why? During the height of the pandemic, delivery startups like Gorillas and Instacart upped the ante by promising lightning-fast 15-minute delivery windows for groceries. And while it’s hard to argue with the value that quick delivery times add to the customer experience, in the long term, the “blink and it’s there” strategy is not proving viable.
Grocers eager to reclaim Instacart business and the shopper data that comes with it cannot compete with a 15-minute delivery standard, but startups also can’t sustain it. According to Grocery Dive, Gorillas, for example, laid off 300 corporate employees in May, while Gopuff let go 3% of its global workforce at the end of March. At Groceryshop 2022, an Instacart representative acknowledged that the 15-minute model had become less viable due to inflation and the corresponding demand for lower prices.
While quick delivery may not stand the test of time, its underlying motivator – convenience – is still king when it comes to perfecting the customer experience, nurturing loyalty and attracting new business. As high prices rage on, what other forms of convenience can grocers bring to the table to stay competitive?
Serve up relevant products to shoppers
Personalization continues to reign supreme across the retail industry. Giant Food’s e-commerce program, Giant Flexible Rewards, for example, turned to personalized pricing, product recommendations and rewards to customers that tied directly to the in-store experience. By creating customer-specific offers based on order frequency, average basket size, purchase history, and more, you can get a running start on the competition, particularly as attitudes toward brand affinity continue to shift.
You can also leverage personalization to get ahead of supply chain disruptions that inconvenience customers. Transactional data can help you pinpoint the biggest fans of individual products. Then, if you know a shortage is on the horizon, you can alert those shoppers ahead of time and divert them to alternatives, saving them the headache and hassle of a surprise stockout.
Meet shoppers on their terms
Thanks to the influence of streaming apps, ride-sharing apps and social media platforms, consumers now expect on-demand service, which in the grocery context translates to easy access to food. Mobile ordering, frictionless checkout, omnichannel offers and efficiently designed store layouts can all help grocers deliver on this expectation.
Technology is also evolving how grocers engage customers within the store. A La Cross Hy-Vee location, for example, features all-digital shelf labels displaying product information and pricing. They also advertise products, services and promotions on over 100 TVs around the store. Customers can even use digital kiosks to place prepared food orders and access the company’s financial service offerings.
Meet more than one need
Convenience doesn’t just mean connecting customers to products faster. It can also mean providing services and products outside your immediate category. This saves customers an extra trip while helping you compete for market share against other types of competitors.
Sprouts Farmers Market, for instance, recently announced plans to open an in-store coffee bar in partnership with Phoenix-based, small-batch coffee roaster Press Coffee. This store will serve as a test run before opening up 30 new locations next year. The strategy formed in response to an insight on the popularity of grab-and-go items after a $4.99 deli sandwich ignited a viral video campaign that garnered over 10 million views. Sprouts now intends to offer more prepared foods and grab-and-go options that will help the chain compete with restaurant offerings.
De-stressing & dressing up the grocery experience
Ease can take many forms. How can you make the shopping experience less stressful and more enjoyable for customers, especially given the tough economic realities many are facing? Can a trip to the grocery store become a personally and socially enriching event?
Grocers like Hy-Vee, Whole Foods and Sendik’s are opening stores with a greater focus on transparency, education and community building. Hy-vee, for its part, has launched a food hall complete with fast-casual dining options, a sit-down bar with 32 taps, an outdoor patio and multiple restaurants. At Whole Foods, customers can look forward to educational, experiential elements like a meat-cutting room for observing butchers and certified cheese experts providing guided cheese pairings.
Before convenience can happen, you need data
Whether you’re structuring an offer, planning partnerships or launching new programs, none of these forms of convenience will resonate unless they’re rooted in a solid foundation of comprehensive customer insights—and for that, you need enriched first-party (1P) data.
Are you positioned to gather data from all your customer touchpoints, including in-store purchases? Pay close attention to potential gaps in your pool of insights, particularly outside your digital channels. Do you have mechanisms in place to identify and understand in-store customers and their preferences?
You need to make sure you have a clear picture of ALL your customers, from in-store to online and loyalty to non-loyalty. Otherwise, you’re basing your decisions on only a fraction of your new and existing customer pool.
Start today with Bridg
Our data and audience platform was built to help brick-and-mortar grocers solve the anonymous or unknown in-store challenge. We can help you form unified, privacy-safe profiles of unknown, known, loyalty and non-loyalty customers with access to SKU-level purchase histories and hundreds of attributes for analysis. With a reliable source of customer intelligence and unique insights, you’re positioned to make the best decisions on how to deliver added convenience to the customer experience.
Ready to start reimagining convenience? Contact us to learn more.