Digital technology is sweeping the grocery aisles (part 1 of 2)

by Lindsay Martinez • , ,

Recently, we attended Groceryshop 2019, a conference focused on emerging trends and technologies in the grocery industry. We heard from fascinating speakers from innovative brands like Boxed, Beyond Meat, Target, and P&G.

The push to create better online and in-store experiences isn’t limited to just one vertical; even the grocery space is quickly moving in this direction. Instacart has reshaped the way people look at their time as they no longer need to spend hours wandering the grocery store aisles, Amazon offers 2-hour delivery with Prime Now, Whole Foods offers deals and specials with just a flash of the phone at checkout, and weekly shopping box subscription are on the rise.

Shoppers now expect the convenience of online grocery shopping, an elevated in-store experience and only the freshest products from their grocer. In this two-part series, we’re going to explore why and how these changes are proliferating.

The traditional grocery shopping experience is under pressure to change

Despite a revolution in digital technology, consumers have continued purchasing groceries in largely the same way for decades – and continue to deal with inconveniences like long lines, lack of healthy, ready-made meals and items running out of stock.

Thankfully, new technology has begun to address these pain points, and shoppers are more aware than ever of how technology and AI (artificial intelligence) can change their relationship to a brand. In terms of how technology can be used to improve shopping, Supermarket News reported the following from customers:

  • 89% want faster checkout
  • 83% want faster shopping
  • 83% believe grocery stores can leverage technology to provide more choices
  • 69% would like grocery retailers to use technology to recommend better meal ideas
  • 51% believe that if grocery stores don’t enter the modern age, more people will seek other ways to buy food

Take, for example, the fact that many stores now offer a version of BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store), including drive-up or curbside pick-up. These services are becoming so commonplace that many consumers have begun to base their shopping decisions around the retailers who offer them.

In part two of this series, we’ll explore the speed with which market leaders are adopting and implementing digital tactics to improve the customer experience.

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