Digital Grocery’s Best Practices

By HOWARD KOVAL | VP Market Insight | August 17 2018

1010data recently attended the 2018 Digital Food & Beverage Conference on July 16th and 17th where retailers and brands convened to share and discuss online opportunities within grocery and non-grocery channels.Reflecting on the event, the presentations were informative and focused on consumer trends that were pervasive across the digital grocery market.

As we know, the ecommerce market moves fast, can be extremely disruptive and is non-forgiving. Those who don’t compete effectively may not have the opportunity to recover.

While discussing trends was a great way engage attendees, we think sharing some best practices would have been above and beyond what the event provided. Here are a few best practices we’ve adopted from our experience in working with clients across multiple industries:

  1. Know Your Market. Today, third-party data enables you to know more about the competitive landscape than ever before. Identifying emerging brands and the rise of private-labels is easier and more actionable. Kroger shared that 4 of the top 5 products they sell online are Kroger brands. Leveraging data that gives you access to product-level detail across retailers allows you to defend against competition before it’s too late.
  1. Focus on the Customer. Today’s consumers are fickle and constantly switch brands between purchase cycles. It wasn’t surprising to hear several brands and retailers discuss how important customer engagement is to their business. Understanding how consumers are shopping across all stages of their purchase journey helps you meet your customers where they are with the products they want to buy.

The GM of Walmart Grocery and Wholesale discussed the growth of consumer demand for performance enhancement products within several consumable categories, including protein & snack bars. Within 1010data’s Ecommerce Market Benchmark, we are seeing that online sales of bars are up 50% year over year and have an impressive conversion rate of 9%, which is nearly double the average across all categories online. Taking a growing customer preference like this and adjusting product assortment quickly to meet the need can make you a category leader.

  1. Be Nimble in Your Execution. Implementing strategies that can keep pace with the rate that consumers are changing their preferences is the final component to staying ahead of the market. You need information that gives you the ability to anticipate and respond to consumer trends and market movements before it’s too late. Walmart’s decision to leverage Jet to target urban shoppers is a great example of this. In their presentation, Walmart revealed that they discovered Jet customers over-index in large metro areas. With this finding, they shifted their strategy to promote Walmart versus Jet based on where the target consumer needed them to be.

Walking away from the event, one thing remains clear: the demand for digital grocery is happening and will continue to grow. Now it’s up to brands and retailers to work together to meet the needs of today’s consumers. While some of this will come from enhanced technology, success will be driven by knowing the context around your customer’s journey. Keep these best practices in mind and make sure your data can help you stay ahead of market movements and react quickly as they shift over time.