7 Key Grocery Retail Transformation Takeways from Day 1 of Shoptalk '19

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7 Key Grocery Retail Transformation Takeways from Day 1 of Shoptalk '19

By Randy Hofbauer - 03/03/2019
7 Key Grocery Retail Transformation Takeways from Day 1 of Shoptalk '19
Key grocery execs who spoke March 3 include Narayan Iyengar of Albertsons and JJ Fleeman of Ahold Delhaize USA

Grocery retail transformation is always the theme of Shoptalk, and its 2019 event, held at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, dove right into the topic immediately.

As Mark Rabkin, VP of ads and business platform at Facebook put it during a general session interview: If the retail apocalypse is coming, then it continues to be delayed due to the constant stream of innovation and disruption caused by retailers in an increasingly omnichannel and Amazon-influenced world.

I had the chance to sit in on the two sessions Sunday that invited grocery retailers and CPGs to comment on what they've been doing to stay relevant and gain share in today's grocery market: "The Digital Transformation of Traditional Retailers and Brands," which, among its speakers, featured Albertsons Cos. SVP of Digital and Ecommerce Narayan Iyengar, and Hershey Co. Chief Digital Commerce Officer Doug Straton; and "The New Digital Organization, which, among its speakers, featured JJ Fleeman, chief ecommerce officer of Ahold Delhaize USA and president of its Peapod Digital Labs division.

To put things briefly, here are seven of the many takeaways I took away regarding grocery retail transformation:

  1. When associates have an opportunity to create, they're more likely to own. So letting them be a part of the development and the solution is critical. You have to position your culture to accommodate this. – Fleeman
  2. Everyone talks digital transformation today in grocery retail. But getting everyone on board isn't easy. So how do you get a couple hundred thousand employees to fully embrace the data and digital capabilities to help serve customers? – Iyengar
  3. To get all teams involved with transformation talking to one another, grocers need to teach the vernacular so they know how to do so. They also must be evangelists – but not shove it down everyone's throat. – Iyengar
  4. Ahold Delhaize USA, like many other grocers, is made up of several banners/brands, all of which differ in markets and operations. To ensure success with multiple differing brands in their respective local markets, it's critical to centralize capabilities, not strategy, and execute on a local level. – Fleeman
  5. What's happening on the physical shelf is affecting the digital shelf – and what's happening on the digital shelf is affecting the physical shelf. – Straton
  6. Different CPG partners think about digital marketing in different ways, and it's critical to work with all of them in the way each one needs. But progressive grocers today know that ultimately, their role with CPGs is to be a true media partner. – Fleeman
  7. Digital transformation in grocery retail isn't about perfection before you move. You have to get started. You have to approach this like you would any other startup. – Fleeman

Shoptalk continues through March 6. Follow me on Twitter here for continued coverage.

And if you're jonesing for more great live content on grocery retail transformation, check out our sister brand's own Path to Purchase Expo 2019, taking place in Chicago this November.

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