Trends in food and beverage grocery are a popular topic. They even became a common conversation starter at cocktail parties, nice-to-meet you, and other events. It is interesting to note that physical grocery store growth slowed in 2017, despite all of this focus.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the year was bad for the category. There was actually a little revolution. JLL’s 2018 Grocery Report highlighted a few trends that helped grocery shops reimagine existing locations and invent new ways to be innovative.
These are the top three trends in grocery stores from the most successful companies. And what can you expect for the next months when it comes to in-store food shopping?
New strides in data-driven technology
Data has been used by retailers and grocers to tailor the shopping experience. With new technological advances, data collection will now be more complete and useful. Kroger leads the pack.
The Restock Kroger Initiative takes data-driven strategies to new heights. Kroger’s research team (84.51deg) uses video analytics and infrared to track foot traffic and purchase patterns.
Kroger also uses algorithms to determine when products should be replaced based on their performance. This data will be compiled to stock and organize the stores and make them more customer-centric.
It’s like this: San Francisco has its sourdough, Boston has its baked beans and the South has its collards greens. Each area and each town has its own unique food culture that can’t be transferred to other places.
Kroger is examining these regional preferences and using data to better understand and respond to local tastes. It’s a waste of time, money, and resources to highlight or display a product that isn’t selling in a particular market. Even better, why make a shelf layout or display in every store if it is only effective in certain areas?
Partnerships for cross-industry influence
Grocers are giving new meaning to “there’s not I in team” because companies are joining forces across industries to offer shoppers a seamless, one-stop-shop experience.
JLL reports that “the most significant acquisitions will be between grocers, non-grocery businesses, that are focused on innovation and technology that can leverage digital networks, logistics and delivery, customer engagement, and customer engagement.”
Because busy shoppers can find everything they need at one place, the Walmarts and Targets of the world are so successful. Grocers can compete with mass merchandisers that offer food sections. This includes organic and artisanal, which are sectors that were unimaginable just a few years ago in big-box stores.
Many stores have adopted this trend. According to reports, Ace Hardware and Kroger have been in discussions to create pop-up hardware kiosks within their grocery chain. Since over a decade, Stop & Shop has featured a Staples section. CVS and Target teamed up to offer CVS-branded pharmacy services in each Target store.
These partnerships appear to be drawing inspiration from the pop-up model and Best Buy’s micro-store strategy. These mini-stores, which are similar to pop-ups in that they don’t require a physical store or long-term lease, are a good idea for brands who want to be present where customers are most likely to respond.
Whole Foods has just announced that their newest New Jersey store will feature a Plant & Plate home and garden shop-within-a store. The investment in a separate store section was made by the health food giant to sell housewares that can be used as a complement to their prepared and raw food products. Although not a partnership, it highlights the growing trend towards micro-stores as well as crossover shopping.
Private labels are big and natural
There was a time that shoppers were hesitant to buy store-brand products and preferred the brand-name version over imitations. These days are gone. The “Trader Joe’s effect” is causing private labels to rise in popularity.
Trader Joe’s is a well-known brand that sells private-label products while promising high-quality goods at a reasonable price. It’s a favorite among millennials.
Many grocery stores now follow suit. Aldi and other food markets like it, are also investing in whole lines of healthy, natural food. Aldi’s latest vegan line, Earth Grown joins a long list of private labels available in-store.
Albertsons also increased its O Organics label by 50% and reached a $1 billion milestone. The Simple Truth line of Kroger, which promotes organic and natural products, also reached $2 billion in sales last year.
Monitoring Pop-Up Success
Pop-up retail is not an add-on or a “let’s see what it looks like” to a retail marketing strategy. Pop-up retail is a real strategy and should be planned in advance. It must also be measured upon completion. It is crucial to track pop-ups in order to evaluate their value for your retail marketing plan.
Your pop-up is perfected by you spending time, money and resources. You have figured out how to best attract your target. Have you ever analyzed your measurable goals? How can you tell if your pop-up is a success? How do you measure success?
Pop-ups can be used to test ideas and help with future brand decisions. It is vital to understand how to measure the success of your pop up. This is not only for your popup but also for your brand. Here are the steps:
Stick to your goals.
First, it is important to define success before you host the popup. Also, it is important to define the goals.
This will be different for each company and pop-up. Your company’s goals may vary depending on what you need.
- Make buzz
- Get sales
- Create a brand
- Introduce a product
- Cross promotion can help you expand your customer base
- You can test a product, concept or service
- Relationships between cement and cement
- Help the community
It could also be a combination. It’s important to not dream too big. Your objectives should be concise and specific. Focusing on your goal will cause your pop-up to be unfocused. You won’t find success.
Set a goal that will lead to quantifiable metrics
Once you have defined your objectives and tailored your popup to achieve them, you can begin to consider how to measure the success of your popup.
Some indicators are more difficult to track than others. If your goal is to launch a product, or generate sales, it’s easy to track success by simply tracking the sales totals, and, perhaps, the number sold per SKU. These numbers tell a story. It is possible to compare the popularity of a product to others in your line, to compare sales in different markets, and, as accountants love to advise, to determine whether the product’s sales volume makes it profitable. The ultimate proof of ROI is tracking pop-ups and revenue results.
Online discussions, media conversations, and social media mentions can help you quantify brand buzz and build relationships. Compare brand awareness before and after the popup using the same social media metrics (likes share, follows, and shares). You can also conduct qualitative pre-post research with the market on brand awareness measures unaided or aided.
Do not confuse quality with quantity. Your product should resonate with your target audience. Sometimes your product may be more appealing in a different industry than you originally thought. This could lead to a change in product selection, or even your overall marketing strategy.
You can also partner with great brands from different categories, which can help you expand and complement your customer base. You bring your customers to them, and they bring yours to you. Together you can raise the bar for both of you in surprising ways. This is called “co-shopperation.”
The result of a partnership between consumer beauty retailer Sephora and B2B giant Pantone Color Systems to create their ” Color of the Year” Collection was pure magic for both brands. What was the ROI? What number of new customers did they reach? How many were converted by their joint activation. What percentage of votes were cast for the “color of year” ballot in comparison to previous years? What did the partnership do to change their customers’ perceptions? All of these measurable responses support the stated objectives of a great pop up experience.
You can also record video of your pop up shoppers to observe their traffic patterns and see how they interact with products. Also, you can capture footage of which displays they look at and ignore. Video coverage of pop-ups can be very useful in gaining insight on many levels.
Some companies are becoming more strategic in their data collection and interpretations. Samsung Connected Spaces, a new retail solution by the tech giant, gives companies complete insight into consumer behavior. A pop-up space can be rented by brands that includes Samsung technology, dashboards, and cameras. This allows for seamless data analysis. This is a comprehensive solution to track pop-ups.
Communicate, communicate and communicate
Foot traffic can help to quantify relationships and build brand trust. Sometimes, buzz can be generated offline or in real-life conversations. It’s crucial to talk directly to your customers to find answers to tracking pop-ups.
The HappyOrNot button lets you quickly and easily answer the question, “Are you satisfied with our product/service/experience?”
This type of communication with the customer is also a great way to understand the “why” or “how” behind the numbers. Why did this product succeed? What was the memorable aspect of this experience? And how can we improve it next time?
Apart from surveys, which are often overlooked by consumers and tend to favor unhappy or happy shoppers, candid conversations can prove invaluable. It’s important to remember that in-person, face-to-face conversations are a great way for insightful and anecdotal reports.