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03/11/2022

Nothing in Retail Is Guaranteed, Except These Things

What will be true for grocers this year amid dramatic shift to digital
Spencer Baird
EVP and president, martech, Inmar Intelligence
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Personalized, targeted digital marketing and messaging will need to reach shoppers in more places than ever, motivate shoppers in more ways than ever, and create relationships with shoppers that are stronger than ever.

Whether you call them predictions, forecasts or guesses, we’re confident the following things will be true for retailers this year — no matter what curveballs get thrown at them. Why? We believe we’re in for the biggest shift in retail history, revolving around the dramatic change to digital mindsets.

The most important things in retail will become even more important. The things that have always been important to retailers — convenience, value and personalization — will continue to matter. In fact, they’ll matter more than ever. However, the ways that retailers deliver on those three core ideas is ripe for innovation.

  • The hybrid in-store and online model will continue to explode because it delivers convenience for shoppers.
  • Bundling will need to be redefined to offer even larger value to customers.
  • Personalized white-glove service will have to expand beyond the in-store experience.

A study conducted by Inmar in January of this year indicated that 96% of shoppers still made grocery purchases in-store in the prior three months, and 64% indicated that they also made online grocery purchases within the same period. That’s massive. But an ever-growing part of that in-store shopping is being driven by off-site and online experiences. Personalized, targeted digital marketing and messaging will need to reach shoppers in more places than ever, motivate shoppers in more ways than ever, and create relationships with shoppers that are stronger than ever. All of that messaging will need to be focused on new — and ever-changing—interpretations of convenience and value, because what matters to one shopper isn’t necessarily what matters to another.

Transform or Die

Staying laser-focused on customer needs is going to be increasingly important as everyone competes for wallet share, and that requires an organizational transformation that starts at the root level. Retailers will have to change their mindset, and make sure that every single thing they and their partners are doing in-store, online and off-site is geared to meeting those needs.

  • The retailers who understand transformation is a mindset problem will succeed on today’s playing field.
  • New tools will continue to provide insights into all customers, not just the most loyal ones, so it’s time to change the age-old habit of only focusing on the core 20%.
  • Curation can no longer be driven by shelves, it needs to be focused on meeting individual customer needs.

Transformation isn’t about checking off to-dos. It’s about making sure that you and your organization are continuously learning and improving. All of the data in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t use it to take an honest look at both your successes and failures. The truly great retailers — those that will be around to see the 2050 digital transformation trends — will never stop trying to learn, improve and transform.

Money Goes Where Money Grows

Retailers are rightfully sinking a lot of money into digital transformation. That trend is not only going to continue, but also accelerate, especially as businesses feel like they’re falling behind. How can we be so sure? Quite simply, those investments are paying off for retailers. That doesn’t mean businesses should just blindly buy digital tools and hope for a big payoff, however.

  • As digital transformation accelerates, measuring results is going to become increasingly important.
  • Attribution will become more complicated — and more crucial — as digital channels continue to multiply.
  • Investing in your company’s digital mindset, and changing the way your organization thinks about transformation, can have the biggest impact on ROI.

Whether your company is well on its way toward digital transformation or just getting started, one of the most important questions you’ll need to periodically reassess is, “How am I going to measure results?” The good news is that today’s cross-channel attribution can provide the measurements you need to ensure that you’re on the right path.

Results, Results, Results

Nobody likes to spend money on business tools that don’t succeed, or to invest in products and services that they don’t really need. That’s one of the core reasons that outcome as a service (OaaS) is starting to replace the traditional “buy it and hope it works” model. Another reason? Clients like knowing that their partners have a vested interest in their success.

  • The OaaS model will continue to create a stronger bond between retailers and their technology partners because of shared victories.
  • The entire commercial approach will continue to evolve and improve, because of true objective alignment focused on improving customer loyalty.
  • Collective learning that leads to joint improvement will be a topic that gains even more traction in ’22 and beyond, because learning is the root of resilience.

Much like the mindset shift required to make digital transformation successful, progressing toward an OaaS model will require cultural shifts that will ripple throughout organizations. It might not be comfortable at first, but in the end, this change is going to be better for everyone involved.

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