Groceryshop 2019 Recap

By Kerry Young on Sep 27, 2019

In its second year, Groceryshop 2019 attracted over 200 CEOs and 3,000 attendees from 30+ countries to the Venetian in Las Vegas. All types of brands and retailers were represented from CPG, supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, discounters, eCommerce businesses, warehouse clubs, and grocers of all sizes.

EnterWorks was excited to attend and discuss the impact of data, automation, customer experience, and digital transformation with attendees. It was great to see familiar faces in the industry, visit with some of our customers, and talk to people about the power of PIM and MDM.

There was a lot of buzz around major shifts in consumer shopping preferences and behavior; radical transformation across c-stores and supermarkets; all things eCommerce; and emerging technology, namely AI.

Let’s take a look back at one of our favorite conferences of the year, with key takeaways from the EnterWorks team.

Key Takeaways from Groceryshop 2019

 AI is getting ready to really take off

We heard from Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig as she shared insights about AI in retail, including statistics drawn from their research, which found that 40% of retailers plan to invest in AI/machine learning solutions in the next 12 months.

She also shared that cost and accuracy are the two main factors that cause retailers to limit the scope of AI deployment. Retailers that lack the data structure to support AI implementations will be at an even deeper disadvantage.

Personalization looks different in grocery

According to the same Coresight Research report, real personalization is challenging for retailers. Retail experts shared that, as technology evolves, product recommendations should be more aspirational than transactional – i.e., not just about repeat purchases. Again, a lot of this goes back to not just collecting data, but making sure it’s clean, and then analyzing it in the right way. It’s also important to know your customers and their dietary restrictions or preferences (Vegan, non-GMO, etc.), but also be able to relate your customer data to other data entities, like location to account for regional tastes.

On another note, retailers must find the right balance between personalization and privacy. Businesses must have the ability to closely comply with regulations around customer data privacy.

Data is crucial to the value chain – but there’s a problem

Throughout the week, we heard about how data is critical to delivering the right customer experiences and streamlining operational efficiency. Companies are collecting a LOT of data these days. Mass amounts, in fact, on everything from products, ingredients, recipes, customers, operations, inventory, site performance, vendors, etc. The problem is, companies still aren’t equipped to make their data work for them. Data analytics teams and the right data management infrastructure are desperately needed by companies to help transform their heaps and heaps of data into actionable business insights.

When it comes to content, consumers want it all

A common thread throughout many discussions is that consumers across all generations are looking for more information than ever before.

Sustainability, ingredients, and sourcing are increasingly important to shoppers. They want to know what brands stand for, and they also want to know about everything that goes into their food and other consumable products. Product content must include descriptions and searchable attributes – but it also should include visual and even interactive content to explore. Brands and retailers alike must embrace the demand for enriched, high-quality, up-to-date product content and match that data to customer profiles as a competitive differentiator.

Online has its issues

New statistics were shared by Coresight that show that more than one-third of US consumers buy groceries online, BUT consumers buy only small amounts of groceries online. It’s an interesting finding, and one we talked about this recently in our article on the one grocery trend you need to follow. We pointed out that, while everyone focuses on how fast grocery eCommerce is growing, the industry also needs to pay attention to what consumers don’t like about digital grocery experiences – whether it’s direct to consumer (DTC), delivery, “click and collect,” etc. – and what they don’t like is a bad experience.

Frictionless – It’s what consumers want and what retailers need

So, what type of experience do consumers want? Frictionless – it’s what we heard over and over at the show. Grocery retailers must focus on providing frictionless experiences that are memorable for all the right reasons. Innovation will be key to making this happen. According to Coresight Research, “Aiming for frictionless in-store transactions, retailers will turn to technologies that remove the traditional pain points of brick-and-mortar retail.”

How Should Grocery Tackle Data Management?

The retail industry continues to be in a truly unique position – it is primed for growth and disrupted by unprecedented transformation.

At the core of all these trends is the challenge of managing data for the highest value.

During our discussions with food retailers and CPG leaders, we spoke about how Multi-domain Experience Management (MxM) takes data management from a back-office capability to a front-office revenue driver, which is critical to tackling all the trends mentioned above.

We’ve also observed that several retailers are seeing success in creating new environments and categories that allow shoppers to experience their products even before buying them – tasting, samples, community feedback, reviews and interactive guided displays based on preferences. The backbone for these initiatives is data and a platform to power such experiences. EnterWorks MXM platform is an enabler for these capabilities.

Several such initiatives are well underway with our customers across industries to enhance the customer journey across channels, leading to a better buying experience, improved customer loyalty, valuable feedback in social forums, and ultimately an uplift in sales.

Thank you, Groceryshop, for another great show!

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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