What tech tools do independent grocers need to compete with e-tailers?
Amazon.com was the boogeyman at the National Grocers Association’s Annual Conference last week in Las Vegas. The Seattle-based retailer was the focus of several panels and sessions, featured in booths on the trade show floor and the topic of many networking conversations.
In two of the educational tracks, Connected Commerce and Attracting Shoppers, audience members heard about how to compete effectively with Amazon and other e-tailers by growing customer value and moving shoppers through the levels of engagement. They also heard experts stress the importance of bringing the retailer’s knowledge of the customer in-store to any digital program.
“If we as independents run great stores, technology will be the tie breaker with our chain competitors,” explained Noah Katz, co-president, PSK Supermarkets, a 14-store group operating in New York City. PSK also uses continuity programs to reward loyal shoppers and, most importantly, the data collected from all personalization programs is being analyzed to attract new customers, retain existing ones and reward the most profitable ones.
Mr. Katz and others said e-commerce programs can provide a wealth of shopper data. Product selection, shopping behavior and the impact of specials are just a few of the data points available. Retailers with established programs are considering how to mine this shopper data to better target customers. Personalized offers and strategies to change online shopping behavior are just the tip of the iceberg.
“The pinnacle of shopping data is average basket growth over time. We all want better profits and sales, and the way we do it is by taking the information already available and give the shopper real value,” said Grant Lunde, manager of digital marketing at Unified Grocers.
Overall, the state of the independent supermarket sector is good. NGA released the results of its national grocery shoppers survey conducted by Nielsen, which revealed high consumer satisfaction among independent supermarkets. Eighty-two percent of respondents who primarily shop at an independent supermarket reported being very/extremely satisfied compared to 65 percent being very/extremely satisfied with a national chain. Findings also showed independent grocers perform highly in featuring fresh food, locally-grown produce and high quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
- National Grocers Association and Nielsen Preview National Grocery Shoppers Survey Findings at The NGA Show – National Grocers Association
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can independent grocery retailers most effectively deploy technology to compete with internet food retailers, including Amazon? Where do you advise them to focus their efforts to make use of shopper data?