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Food Dive: Knowing your Audience is Key to a Grocers Success

In any industry, knowing your audience is the key to success. This is especially true when it comes to today’s Grocer success and the grocery retail landscape. While technology adoption is quickly changing the way that grocers do business, it doesn’t mean that every retailer immediately needs to go out and adopt every piece of technology.

In fact, some retailers’ shoppers might not be ready to adapt to these changes. As such, it’s essential to explore what retailers need to consider about their customer-base and what to take into account before implementing new technologies.

Grocers Success in Knowing How Savvy your audience is. 

An important aspect to consider is how tech-savvy your shopper is, which can help determine how likely they are to adopt new initiatives. Amazon, being a business born from technology, has seen success in its rollout of new programs. For example, its Amazon Go store concept has been widely accepted by shoppers visiting the store and as a result, as many as six more of these self-service, cashier-less stores will be opening across the nation.

More traditional stores may have shoppers that are happy with standard check-out platforms and hesitant to switch over to new gadgets and processes. Walmart stores recently learned this lesson the hard way and had to end its Scan & Go pilot after it was poorly received by shoppers that perhaps weren’t as willing to try the new technology. Compare this to Sam’s Club’s successful, streamlined and user-friendly Scan & Go initiative that allowed shoppers to use their smartphones to scan bulk items and pay directly within the app instead of using the self-checkout lane. Knowing where your shoppers stand on this spectrum can help you build new programs that won’t intimidate or confuse your base.

What fulfillment options will your shoppers embrace?

As new fulfillment options continue to garner popularity, retailers must figure out which ones will best fit their shoppers’ needs. One thing to consider is geography — how close are your shoppers to your store? If you’re in a metropolitan area, click and collect can be great for on-the-go customers nearby. However, if your shoppers are further away, such as in a rural setting, ship to home may be the more convenient option.

Generational differences can also play a large role in how your shoppers fulfill their orders. According to FMI, Generation X and baby boomers are adopting the online grocery trend mainly through standard ship-to-home fulfillment and online orders for in-store pickup. Both of these options offer a lower barrier to entry for adopting more modern online grocery options. Millennials, on the other hand, have increased their use of same- or next-day delivery options, showing more willingness and opportunity to obtain perishables online.

The type of products your shoppers are seeking is also essential to learning their tendencies and inclinations for fulfillment options. According to Nielsen, vitamins, pet supplies, cosmetics and toilet paper are the top items fulfilled via delivery; vitamins, laundry care, cleaners and toilet paper are the most popular for in-store pick-up; and curbside pick-up orders most often consist of chips, fruit and vegetables, milk, bread and canned foods. It’s clear that shoppers currently are more comfortable having non-perishable items delivered and picking up perishable food items. By examining what your customers are purchasing, you can build a comprehensive fulfillment strategy for online purchases, one that ensures you retain a substantial share of consumers’ wallets.

This article was originally featured in Food Dive.

Learn more about how Mercatus Integrated Commerce Platform helps grocers success by enabling a convenient and simple single platform solution that covers all channels, and your customers get a great experience—every time.

Sylvain Perrier
Sylvain Perrier is President & Chief Executive Officer at Mercatus. He has more than fifteen years’ executive-level experience in retail technology, and has dedicated his career to driving the success of grocery retailers with pragmatic, easy-to-use technology.