The Transformation of Grocery Shopping in the Technology Era
The last two decades have been the story of industries old and new reacting to digital transformation, whether it makes or breaks their businesses. The low hanging fruit was the first to go: Those industries that were already virtual or that had an obvious space within them for a virtual element. Since then digital creep has slowly affected even the oldest and most traditional industries, from pawnbroking to car rental. This leaves tech startups and big high street names shutting their doors for good in equal measure as some innovations take hold, while others don’t. The world of grocery shopping had been one of the more resistant sectors to change, with most innovations being digital updates of existing services like loyalty cards. But now the technology revolution is taking it by storm with genuinely digital native concepts. So what is new, and what are consumers coming to expect from a 21st-century shopping trip? We take a look below.
What do customers expect in the technology era?
For the majority of customers, the thing they value most in their shopping experience isn’t a specific technology or a particularly complicated software that you need to have. They simply want as much choice as possible. Gone are the days when grocery shops could rigidly accept cash or card in a specific format, or decide not to offer a click and collect or online delivery service. Not only do customers want these things, but they also want any barriers to their use to be removed so that they can use them in any combination. The shopping experience needs to be flawless. They should be able to click and collect and pay by scanning their card. They should be able to scan the items in store but have them delivered to their house. They should be able to perform any action via an app as if they were in-store or on a desktop website.
Customer shopping habits are changing, and the best way a grocery shop can try to meet all of the many different models of a customer is to be as flexible as possible. Use technology to facilitate customer choice – not limit it. That means choosing, buying and receiving their groceries in the way that they want to, in a way that is fast and secure. In the industry this is known as the endless shopping experience, not just because it’s a 24/7 activity (even though it is), but because it’s always growing and changing for the customer. Advanced analytics and predictive algorithms can ensure that customers are always presented with new choices that fit their purchasing habits. Customers also expect dynamic discounts and deals that offer real savings based on their choices. Endless shopping means that the relationship doesn’t end when a customer leaves with their products, it continues between shops, during the next shop and then beyond.
How to offer your customers a perfect shopping experience?
It’s no coincidence that one of the big ideas to emerge out of Internet culture in the last few years in the ‘hack’, and not just the nefarious kind. Whether it’s how to clean your car better or how to make your detergent last longer, people are learning and sharing new and inventive ways to do time-worn tasks better and more efficiently. That’s how you should see digital technology in the grocery industry. Take a look at how customers currently shop, identify the pain points and bugbears that they talk about, then think about whether there’s a way around them with a piece of software or an algorithm. That way, seamless customer experience can build itself. The Amazon Go model is a perfect example: They knew customers don’t like queues at the checkout so they completely automated the experience so you can just walk out with your items. They also integrated it with Amazon Fresh so that it’s just as easy to order for pick up or delivery. Granted, not everybody has the cash or expertise that Amazon pumped into their solutions to be able to deploy facial recognition and deep learning in stores, but the principle remains the same. Customers are coming for an experience, and a simple shopping app that’s really just a mobile-friendly website isn’t going to cut it anymore. Instead, the future is omnichannel.
So what does that mean? Well, it’s pretty simple. Customers don’t want to have to navigate four or five different methods of buying and paying which don’t talk to each other or have limited functionality. They want to be able to shop in the way they want in a single place that’s easily accessible. That’s where solutions like Ubimecs Grocery Module come in. By incorporating every method of interaction that a customer could possibly make use of on an app, there’s no way that a customer could find themselves in a position that they want to do something that they can’t. They can scan items with it, pay by card with it, claim loyalty points on it, buy food for delivery and collection on it, receive offers and discounts on it. That way there’s no frustration, and customers can keep on shopping.
As a response to the digital era of grocery shopping, Ubimecs Grocery Module offers all the above and more. It’s a one-stop-shop for integrating every technology solution you could possibly need into your store’s shopping experience completely seamlessly. So not only would you be leading the grocery industry technologically, you’d be set up to receive the next generation of customers before everybody else. The grocery industry is changing, and new technology is slowly but surely eliminating all those annoying pain points that have been holding back customers for decades. With Ubimecs Grocery Module you can easily join in the future of grocery shopping and stay at the front because you can update the UI with new technology as it’s released without having to release new versions of your app. It’s great news because there’s still time to make sure your business doesn’t get left behind, and suffer the same fate as businesses in other sectors who couldn’t keep up.