It’s no surprise that the top three retailers in 2023 are warehouse titans H-E-B, Costco, and Amazon. With control over their supply chains (from source to delivery), they maximize economies of scale, minimize consumer costs and increase flexibility to respond to consumer demands in near real-time. What can smaller retailers do to compete?
To grow long-term, retailers must align value propositions with what matters most to customers: price, promotions, quality, speed, and convenience. The success of these pillars lies in grocers’ ability to manage their data, communication tools, and operations.
That’s where advanced analytics can transform industries across the board. For retailers, data visibility can support marketing, inventory management, pricing models, and supplier relations.
When information across the supply chain is integrated, store managers can immediately know which goods are selling fast, which items are overstocked, and where promotions could help them move more products. When retailers know their customers’ personal preferences, they can target deals accordingly to increase sales.
Let’s look at how automation can help grocers get the key data for offering deep-level personalization.
Customers demand better and personalized offers—and mobile apps can provide that. Apptopia’s May 2022 study showed a 77% lift in grocery app user sessions year-over-year and that reviews mentioning the word “coupon” shot up 75% from April 2022. Unsurprisingly, the rise correlated directly with food prices.
The user-friendliness and familiarity of apps can help customers save time selecting their routine shops and can also find discounts on their favorite products. Grocers that offer shopping basket history tools, membership delivery discounts, or saved payment details for quicker checkout can increase convenience for the consumer and encourage them to create personal accounts.
Mobile apps are one of the best data-collecting channels. However, in order for shoppers to continue to use them, the app needs to be easy to navigate and add value. Integrating them with loyalty programs or promotions is one great way to do this.
Obtain A 360-Degree View Of The Customer
Mobile data alone simply isn’t enough. Retailers should look at their point-of-sale (POS), e-commerce, and mobile data sales holistically. This can provide a 360-degree view of the customer. Nevertheless, if a customer makes a payment in-store or online without signing into their personal account, how do retailers know which customer made the purchase? This is where loyalty programs come in.
1. Offer rewards for customers who make a certain number of purchases a month. Offering customers rewards for purchasing with you can encourage them to make payments through their personal accounts, allowing you to track their shopping history. Rewards can vary from store credit to reduced delivery fees or discounts on their favorite goods.
2. Provide loyalty cards for customers to make in-store purchases. When the customer uses their store card, you can capture data to track their personal in-store purchase history. If they forget their card, give customers the option to provide their email or customer reference number at the point of purchase. Alternatively, allow them to load their receipts into their mobile app or online account once they get home.
3. Train staff to ask if the customer has a loyalty account with you. If a customer forgets their store card and goes to make a payment, training your staff to ask if they have an account can remind them to take action.
To provide effective personalization to shoppers based on their interests, retailers must know what their customers are buying across the different channels. Whether customers pay online, in-store, or via an app, each new shopping habit should be recorded. This way, the customer can benefit most from hyper-personalization—you can send unique offers based on the channels they use and the products they buy on each channel.
Get Your Back-End Data In Check
According to Acosta’s online grocery landscape report (download required), more than 50% of American households do grocery shopping (at least occasionally) online. The growing demand urges retailers to integrate their online and offline shopping channels to create value for the modern omnichannel customer. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Update POS systems with automated alerts. While it’s important to train staff on new loyalty program processes, POS systems can also give them a helping hand. As the cashier selects the customer’s payment option, setting up automated alerts that ask if the customer wants to sign in for a loyalty bonus can remind the cashier to inform the customer of the rewards they could get. Present the cashier with options such as “storecard payment,” “pay with customer reference number” or “pay without loyalty bonus”—enabling you to capture the data in the system ready for integration.
2. Allow customers to log in on self-checkouts. Make the process quick by keeping private data away from the checkout tool. In other words, the customer should not see any personal information or shopping history. Simply their reference number or a nickname should appear in the corner of the screen as they make the payment so that they know they typed in the right account number. This can help prevent fraud.
3. Integrate your tools. Your marketing team should build reports that pull all purchases associated with each customer reference number—no matter the platform they use. Similarly, customers don’t want to wait a week to see if their in-store payment was traced to their account. All payment tools—mobile apps, e-commerce, POS, kiosks, and self-checkouts—should be integrated. This can give you a holistic view of the customer and their shopping preferences.
4. Communicate with the customer. Apps are a great place to communicate with customers. They can use them to conveniently see how many rewards they have when their online purchases are on their way, and what their shopping preferences are. If you can see it, they’ll also want to see it.
There’s a rising expectation for personalization across every industry. Retailers, large and small, must review their customer journey online and offline and ensure seamless integration to create a realistic understanding of customers’ unique preferences. Once grocers can target offers at a personal level, they’ll increase customer satisfaction and gain more effective control over their product movements.
Read the Forbes article here.