Change was happening at a rapid pace throughout the retail world prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. But when the virus happened, food retailers gained a new perspective on what an accelerating pace of change really looks like. Health officials imposed new policies that altered the lifestyle and behavior of every American, while essential retailers acted with ingenuity, instinct and a sense of purpose to serve shoppers and maintain safe operations under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.
- The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the already rapid pace of change in the retail industry.
- The public health crisis also revealed how innovation has become, or must become, a core competency for every retailer that hopes to be successful in the future.
- Various food retailers are meeting the pandemic innovation challenge head-on, and flourishing as a result.
It was a display of innovation unlike anything the food retailing industry has ever seen, and it highlighted the speed at which retail leaders are capable of moving, especially when lives are at stake. COVID-19 revealed how innovation has become, or must become, a core competency for every retailer that hopes to be successful in the future. However, it tended to be a reactionary type of innovation. Moving forward, as COVID-19 hopefully soon fades, retailers will resume the more purposeful and strategic type of innovation that was gaining traction throughout the industry.
What that means can vary widely from retailer to retailer, but rest assured that innovation is alive and well, and happening faster than ever, as grocers transform their operations and the way that Americans discover, shop, buy, consume and experience food. Here are 20 retailers that are meeting the pandemic innovation challenge head-on, and staying ahead of what’s next.