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How Grocery Retailers Can Learn To Thrive In The Face of Change

Get and stay ahead using customer experience, front-line employee engagement, POS tech and supply chain planning.

  • Over the past three years, the pandemic, associated lockdowns, and economic impacts have changed our routines time and again, creating an inflection point for consumers, employees and grocers alike. This disruption resulted in consumers and employees redefining and reconsidering their relationships with companies they once relied on, creating an opening for new brands and an existential need for grocery retailers to reinvigorate current relationships. In addition, the rise of Gen Z’s expectations, purchasing power and role in the workforce makes evolving to meet the modern customer a must. Additionally, recent advancements in point-of-sale (POS) solutions and fulfillment systems are providing new ways to address the needs of modern consumers while reducing the strain on front-line workers.

  • To effectively capitalize on this moment, as well as moments to come, grocery retailers need to become learning organizations, expanding their ability to analyze and interpret current experiences while anticipating future trends. To drive ongoing success, you’ll need a learning agenda at the organization and team levels, a holistic view of operations across existing functional siloes, and insight into existing gaps and opportunities.

  • Deconceptualizing Customer delight.

Consumer buying habits and expectations have fundamentally changed. Consumer loyalty is waning, and what once resulted in delight is now a minimum requirement. Over the past year, 71% of consumers worldwide have switched brands at least once.

  • Modernizing the Employee Experience.

The pandemic prompted front-line workers to re-evaluate their relationship with their jobs as they looked for more stability, safety, value and purpose in their day-to-day lives. Grocery workers were particularly affected because of the truly essential nature of their roles and the personal risk they took to continue doing their work. Now that most hazard-pay programs have expired, many grocery employees are looking for more.

  • A Prime Time for POS.

The POS system is the lifeblood of the grocery business, connecting customers, employees and management; gathering essential data; and tying in gas rewards, loyalty programs, customer apps, digital coupons, and more. Investing in modern POS technology and other integrated systems is another critical way to empower front-line workers and enhance your customer experience.

  • Deliver More With A Streamlined Supply Chain.

Like POS, supply chain and fulfillment were once considered back-end. When business is running smoothly, customers never even think about the concept of the supply chain. Consumer anxiety has grown, however, after experiencing recent and memorable shortages of items that we used to take for granted. Today, “supply chain” is a new household buzzword as continued disruptions and shipping delays lead to rising frustrations. While pandemic-era shortages are behind us for now, supply chain issues are a continued reality in grocery stores, with sporadic shortages occurring across categories.

  • Taking the 1st Step.

Each of these issues is vast, complex and interrelated, which can initially seem overwhelming. While these topics are complex, there’s also an element of simplicity in each one. To make meaningful changes, it’s helpful to start by revisiting and updating your foundational value proposition: What is your brand promise? Who is your customer (now), and what do they want? What do you need to do (differently) to meet them where they are? What do your employees need to thrive? How do you measure and celebrate success?

SOURCE: Progressive Grocer 4/3/23

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