The grocery industry has faced its fair share of challenges over the past few decades. Digitization has caused many shoppers to adjust their purchasing habits in favor of e-commerce solutions, technology has raised the stakes on in-store personalization, and a renewed focus on sustainability has raised standards for grocers across the country.
A new year brings new consumer grocery trends, and, now that 2019 is in full swing, grocers could be left wondering if their inventory is up to date. Are they prepared for the onslaught of customers who are going to seek out specific food categories and products in order to keep up with popular diets and wellness trends?
If we could look into a crystal ball and predict upcoming retail trends, well, we probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog post.
Though we don’t have psychic abilities, we do have the power of research on our side. After spending time with some of retail’s most influential experts at National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2019, we are fairly certain of the direction that retail is headed this year.
The world of retail is ever-changing. With each year comes a new host of strategies and tactics to consider, new ways to understand consumer thoughts and purchasing habits, and new technology that sets out to make us more efficient and effective.
The one event that sets the stage for the upcoming year in retail is the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, which just concluded its 2019 event. While we took away many lessons about how grocers should adapt to changes within the world of retail, there were a few overarching takeaways that we wanted to call out that affect the entire industry.
The annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show is a prime opportunity for grocers to come together, share knowledge, and ideate on growing trends and ways to capitalize on them in the upcoming year. Executives from some of the world’s largest retailers take the stage and share their expertise, providing attendees and exhibitors with enough takeaways to spur strategic decisions throughout the year, and create products, campaigns, and content that inspires consumers and drives industry innovation.
Recent research found 51% of shoppers expect a remaining shelf life of eight (8) or more days if paying full price for perishable food products, while 73% said they expected at least 15 days on non-perishable (center store grocery, OTC/Vitamin) products. The study done by UW-Whitewater in partnership with Date Check Pro provides grocers with a rare insight into how expiration dates and shelf life impact a shopper’s willingness to pay.
When it comes to choosing how a store, or even if, a store should markdown products expiring soon, there are many options to choose from and factors to consider. Are your shoppers drawn by big savings, or is the focus more on an upscale shopping experience? How much product will need to be marked down in any given week? Will you use the same strategy across all departments, or vary it based on storage requirements? Just to name few.
In today’s rapidly-changing grocery environment, supermarkets––especially those in high-competition areas––are investing in new ways to stand out and provide a unique experience for customers.
Of course, taking any significant step in a new direction can bring just as much anxiety as it does excitement. Company leaders want to make sure they’re investing in more than just hype. They need to make decisions informed by hard data and reliable market intelligence.
Although many still characterize online grocery shopping as “niche” activity, recent numbers suggest it’s about to grow very soon and likely very rapidly. a January report from Toronto-based e-commerce platform provider Unata found that one in three U.S. consumers intends on grocery shopping online this year––up 64% compared to those who actually did shop for food items online the year before.
Consumer trends are a strong force in influencing grocery store inventory from year to year––something inventory managers need to keep their finger on. Unfortunately, finding the time to pick through market research is easier said than done for busy store leaders.
To help you paint a clearer picture for the rest of this year (and likely beyond), we’ve gathered some recent consumer grocery trends that may be worth considering when planning inventory changes in the near future.