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Progressive Grocer April 2019

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Retailers are increasingly serving “phytigal” shoppers, who browse and buy in the physical and virtual worlds as their needs require. Consumers have shown an eagerness to cherry-pick more formats more frequently, and the trend of regularly buying groceries online is bound to pick up with time. Within 10 years, 20 per cent of all food would be sold online, it is being predicted.

Connecting with shoppers is the key. Experience continues to emerge as a key point of differentiation for traditional grocers facing digital upstarts, which have conquered convenience, selection and price. Grocers no longer just sell food — they barter in experience and information. Retailers have to become more comfortable talking science, technology and nutrition… and in preparing consumers for the next golden era of retail.

To thrive in this new retail world, innovation has to be pervasive in an organization. Players must experiment, learn and make changes on the fly. Adapting to digital retail is more about mindset than organizational structure; collaboration models need to shift, and retailers must hire digital talent.

One industry study has identified five key issues facing the industry: emerging new consumerism, artificial intelligence and technology, workforce, the new marketplace, and food production. Over the years, the industry has seen trends come and go, but never before has lasting change come on so strong. The truth is that we have not seen before an industry changing as quickly and violently as food retail is changing today.

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