Smart Carts, Social Shopping, and the Role of the Store

My Top 4 Takeaways from GroceryShop 2021

When I was asked to speak at GroceryShop, I was excited to participate in the world’s largest retail and e-commerce conference. It was Behaviorally’s first in-person conference since February 2020, and I couldn’t wait to catch up with my fellow grocery experts.

I had been thinking a lot about the future of grocery. I was curious how my fellow panelists thought new technology and shopper attitudes would impact the industry. Happily, I left a grocery optimist. I want to share my biggest takeaways from the event, so for those who couldn’t attend, here are the top trends and learnings from the event:

Technology Has Changed Everything

The main consensus from GroceryShop was that we will never go back to a pre-COVID state of “normal.” The IBM retail index estimates the pandemic accelerated e-commerce growth by 5 years. Food Marketing Institute even stated that online grocery sales will capture 18% of total grocery retail by 2025. Given the fast pace of acceleration, grocers will achieve 30% of online grocery sales within the next decade.

Technology has also changed how consumers shop online and in-stores. Stores now offer a vast array of methods in which consumers engage with a store, including click-and-collect, home delivery, order pick-up, locker pick-up, etc. When consumers shop in-store, they can expect to see new technology that will aid in their experience. One of the more impressive in-person shopping technologies I previewed was an intelligent shopping cart that could scan the items someone wanted to purchase. There was a little screen attached to the cart, and it could tell you the price of each item, round up your total, and scan your card to accept payment.

How soon can we expect to skip the checkout line altogether? Amazon recently debuted the Amazon Dash Cart in select stores as a “Just Walk Out” experience. This cart was another step in the road to a cashless, sustainable environment.


More Sustainable Shopping

Sustainability is on everyone’s minds. It is no longer an added benefit but a core part of a value equation today. Presentations from big brands like Unilever that discussed sustainability programs, responsible supply chain management solutions, and AI-powered tools that help manage food waste build their sustainability strategy were some of the most talked-about sessions.

One such management solution is Afresh. Afresh is an AI tool that can help supply chain management and minimize waste by predicting demand based on the local population, trends, weather patterns, and more. For additional examples of sustainability strategies big brands are implementing, I suggest watching recordings of sessions from the We Better Behave! Virtual sustainability event.


The Role of the Store is Changing

With so many shoppers shifting to online grocery shopping, retailers must rethink their strategy. The successful store is interactive, experiential, and streamlined to be convenient for consumers. The retailer has to provide more reason to shop in-person versus the convenience of shopping at home to get shoppers through the doors.

There is also greater demand for personalized and convenience from consumers. However, there are concerns about data collection and privacy. Finding the balance is the key to success for grocery retailers and brands alike.


The Future of Livestream Shopping

When it comes to the public side of the shopping experience, there are more ways than ever for people to shop and share their consumption habits. One of the newest methods is social and live stream shopping which has been very popular in Asia.

Social media shopping is a part of everyday life, and no category is off-limits. With the help of influencers, you can buy anything from apartments to food via a Livestream.

The live shopping trend is now catching on in the West, but the US is far behind. Amazon has released Amazon Live, where influencers share their favorite products (available for purchase) on the app.


Conclusions & Looking Ahead

One can only guess the future of grocery shopping in the next couple of years.

Will we see smart shopping carts in stores soon?

Will you order groceries via livestream instead of the retailer’s app?

Time can only tell, but one thing is for sure: Behaviorally is here to help you drive shopper growth. Contact us today with your business questions.


Jola Burnett is a Vice President of Client Development for Behaviorally (formerly PRS). Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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