The Digital Age of Grocers

Digitization is a key theme in the grocer value chain, unlocking a series of opportunities to enhance the shopper customer journey, both in and out of store, drive efficiency / improvement across the value chain, and unlock new revenue streams.

As consumer demographics / preferences evolve and grocers face increasing pressure from new entrants (e.g., Amazon), grocers have explored digital technologies to drive more efficiency / quality in their value chain and bolster their customer experiences. IoT and blockchain are key technologies in increasing efficiency of value chain and improving food safety / quality.

Additionally, mobile, digital, and IoT technologies are enhancing the in-store experience. Further, grocers have expanded their consumer touchpoints out-of-store through exploration of smart home integrations / partnerships, last-mile delivery services, and end-to-end online shopping platforms.

Below we describe the trends and initiatives across the grocer value chain and shopping journey that enhance shopper customer experiences and drive operational efficiency.

Digitization has unlocked a series of transformative opportunities affecting the grocer value chain and shopper customer journey, creating opportunities including an enhanced customer experience, real-time operational improvements, and new revenue streams.

Improving supply chain visibility has emerged as a key theme for grocers as new enabling technologies (e.g., IoT, Blockchain) unlock the potential for a higher degree of traceability – grocers have led partnerships across the value chain to enhance data sharing / collaboration resulting in improved food safety, quality, and other efficiency metrics.

A number of smart home partnerships / initiatives targeting grocery shopping have emerged – these partnerships are focused on improving the digital buying experience, increasing customer reach, improving customer loyalty, and may represent a key channel in the future.

Smartphones are expected to become the centerpiece of the grocery shopping experience as they provide enhanced digital experiences both in-store and online – currently over 70% of US grocery stores are supported by mobile-centric, digital retailer apps.

In-store technologies are proliferating across the grocery store – these technologies can be used to enhance the customer experience, provide grocers alternative marketing / promotion methods, and improve backend store and supply chain operations.

Online grocery shopping is expected to take substantial share in the overall grocery ecosystem through 2025 – there is a fragmented set of online grocery players emerging, targeting disparate consumer segments / value propositions, and leveraging various digital applications / strategies to enhance competitiveness.

Last mile delivery methods have proliferated, providing consumers with delivery flexibility and grocers with a point of differentiation.