The linear journey of shoppers through the aisles of supermarkets is fast changing. Customers are now presented with myriad retail choices. They have the luxury of choosing one of the several channels available to them, depending on their convenience and mood. In addition, at any given time, there are other factors at play as well that play a role in coaxing shoppers to stores: their sense of comfort, urgency to purchase, paucity of time, ease of travel, or the desire for some shoppertainment.
Not surprising then that the bemused grocer is trying to gauge his customer’s next move. Looking at the current phase of retail industry evolution, grocers have no choice but to offer both offline and online touch points if he wishes to remain competitive. The focusnow is to build and grow the grocery business from a customer-centric perspective. This entails serving customers through multiple channels: Internet, telephone, home delivery, mobile vans, catalogues, kiosks, etc.
Today, more than ever before, the customer is dictating the route he/she wants to do business in, and grocers are quickly adapting. They are putting in place systems and processes that can facilitate the customer’s shopping experience. By using a combination of online and offline channels, they are able to leverage the unique benefits of each channel to attract and satisfy their customers.
The growth of alternate retail channels is also compelling brands and retailers to devise their marketing strategies around these retail formats in addition to the conventional brick and mortar retail channels. Over the next few years, it is expected that intensifying competition will drive grocers to innovate further in order to remain closer to their customers.