These days, we can’t go anywhere—from the gas pump to the grocery store to the latest news article—without the reality of inflation staring us squarely in the face. Recent reports have shown that inflation is at a 40-year high, with a projected 15% increase in the cost of products by the end of the year. This has forced retailers to look at new and innovative ways to keep their numbers up as costs continue to climb.
Meanwhile, shoppers are slowly returning to pre-pandemic life with an added reliance on technology solutions that served them during the Covid-19 quarantine. New habits and expectations emerged that are becoming the norm, creating opportunities for grocers to connect more closely with their customers one-on-one.
Putting it all together
By looking at these trends holistically, then taking the learnings of the past few years and turning them into solutions, retailers can not only thrive in the current economic climate, but can take their customers with them. Here’s how to make it happen.
1. Create a seamless customer experience that includes online and in-store benefits
Shoppers have come to depend on digital tools, like mobile apps, to help them with everything from finding deals and clipping coupons to tracking budgets and creating shopping lists. While many are moving away from online shopping—preferring to complete purchases in-store—they still love the convenience of an online app… so, give them what they want.
By putting relevant and up-to-the-minute information in the (literal) palm of their hand, you’re not only bridging the gap between the online and in-store experience, you’re acknowledging that adding ease and convenience to that experience is as important to you as it is to them.
2. Build trust by adopting a policy of transparency
Nothing’s more frustrating than an unsuccessful shopping trip. By making sure your digital solutions—specifically your mobile app—give shoppers real-time information on available inventory, current prices and deals and relevant promotions, you’re equipping them with the information they need to have a stress-free store visit. This “all-cards-on-the-table” approach to communication is key to building trust and loyalty, which translates into return trips and a stronger bottom line.
3. Use first-party data to fuel decision-making
In the retail technology world, data is king. Current digital solutions now provide retailers with the numbers they need to adjust inventory, target customers one-on-one and to pivot their marketing initiatives. By arming yourself with valuable first-party data representing your specific customer base, you have the information you need to make smart choices across all aspects of your business.
Retailers should also look at the importance of first-party data when assessing their retail media strategy. With the margin-rich retail media space bringing in $100B per year, there’s an amazing opportunity for you to claim your share, you just need the tools—and the information—to do it.
4. Connect with your customers through loyalty
A robust loyalty program is the perfect way to attract and retain customers while building a relationship that brings them back regularly. The same first-party data used to inform your business decisions can be used to tailor communication, promotions and content to the specific preferences of individual shoppers. By making customers feel connected through one-on-one communication, you’re providing services they’ll want to come back for, resulting in bigger baskets and higher sales.
5. Stay ahead of the pack—and the trends
Resisting change will be the biggest mistake grocers can make in the coming months. By embracing innovation and adapting to the technology that big retail has been leveraging for years, you’re choosing the kind of agility that guarantees survival in a constantly evolving environment.
Fast adoption of retail trends—specifically in the technology space—will separate the grocers who thrive from the ones who simply survive in the coming months. Make no mistake, new solutions will crop up daily and bigger and better tools will continue to be built. Keeping an eye on the evolution and partnering with the appropriate resource, like Swiftly, can help keep you one step ahead of competitors while building a reputation of innovation and reliability.
As an industry, things are moving fast… but that opens up some exciting opportunities. By building a strong digital program, or by leveraging the plug-and-play technology solutions offered by companies like Swiftly, you’re setting yourself up to navigate the market—and to serve your customers—in a thoughtful and progressive way.