Much has been said, written and done in light of the pandemic. This is especially true regarding the changes it imposed on our daily lives, our interactions in public, our social (distancing) lives and our shopping habits. I have even suggested in a prior blog the apparent disappearance of generational gaps where boomers adopted online faster than expected while Gen-Z found the joy of cooking at home.
In the Grocery industry in general and the independent grocers in particular, we saw two distinct groups of operators; those who realized the need and rose to the occasion to implement an eCommerce/curbside pick-up solution. Hundreds of owners made sure their stores proved their nimbleness as they executed long awaited plans in matters of weeks. On many occasions, such investment proved to have an immediate impact as retailers have seen ecommerce jump up to 20% of their total sales.
The other group that remained idle or prolonged their decision also saw a modest increase in sales which is attributed primarily to having restaurants and other hospitality businesses remaining closed for weeks.
Now that markets are gradually opening, shoppers are excited about the return of the opportunities for eating and/or carrying out, now that shoppers realize the increase in pricing for essential items at grocery stores and grocery sales volumes are gradually getting back to their normal volumes, it becomes almost a must for grocers to return to basics and make sure they communicate with their shoppers, strengthen their retailership with their shoppers and gain control over their conversation with their shoppers.
Traditional means of communications are no longer the shopper’s desired touchpoints. In this shopper centric era, shoppers are reluctant to engage with the paper-based weekly ad mailed to them or clipping newspaper coupon inserts. They expect things to be more digital and connected with the eCommerce purchases they became accustomed to. They expect to communicate either through web, mobile, email or text. They expect not to carry coupons but rather have those automatically redeemed after they have clipped through their mobile or web interaction.
If there is one thing that we all have seen and learned was that grocers that have built relationships with shoppers prior to the pandemic have seen shoppers increase their average spend dramatically, reduce trips and also consolidate their trips to a single retailer.
This may well be one of the biggest opportunities for grocers to keep their higher average spend and sales. But in order to keep their top shoppers and to keep such average basket values high, they MUST gain control and start communicating with shoppers in a personalized and digital way.
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