Innovating Grocery Retail: Differentiation in the Digital Age

It is going to be essential for grocers to differentiate themselves from competitors when it comes to digital transformation. In this age of being able to easily purchase items online, we are already seeing initiatives like digital coupons, personalized ingredient suggestions for meal recipes, recommendations based on past purchases etc. This helps increase customer loyalty through online store apps.

We are also seeing an increase in health and sustainability awareness in the buying habits Gen Z/millennials shoppers. Grocers need to be able to provide more organic produce options and ecofriendly products at competitive prices. Packaging waste should drastically reduce and could in turn decrease costs and carbon footprint as well. Theft prevention is also important and has to be managed without adversely impacting the customer experience. Store layouts (positioning high risk items in visible locations) and technology (video surveillance/alerting systems) should be used more often.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation (robotics) will play a bigger role not only in grocery stores but also in fulfillment centers/DCs/warehouses to automate inventory management and optimize inventory levels. Faster fulfillment and shipping out of orders will be possible with the correct automation and use of data. Delivery would be the other area of differentiation – the use of delivery drones for fast delivery and a smaller carbon footprint. This is one area where more innovation will be required for safer delivery.

Smitha Raphael

Chief Product and Delivery Officer, SnapFulfil