2. Physical stores must evolve
3. Promotions will become more personalized
4. Retailers should be hyperfocused on inventory levels
5. AI-enabled forecasting will reduce waste and improve margin
6. Artificial Intelligence will enhance - not replace - human intelligence
Everyone knows consumer behavior has drastically changed, and for much of the last decade, consumers have had more information in their hands than retailers have had to run their enterprise.
Confronted by hyper-informed consumers with heightened expectations for quality, speed and more personalized experiences, retailers have seen the industry evolve faster than they could respond. So how do you stay relevant when half of the Fortune 500 has literally disappeared in the last decade? How do you go beyond just surviving to start thriving in this new consumer-centric environment? Retailers old and new have had to undertake company-wide changes, searching for new insights, technologies and actionable recommendations that will pave the way for a successful future.
Below, we explore some of the forces driving retail disruption and dig deeper into the ways retailers and suppliers will continue to evolve to meet the demands of the modern shopper and thrive in the coming year and beyond.
Since 2017, Amazon has captured 18% of U.S. online grocery sales, and that number is only increasing. Amazon’s successful market entry forced industry-wide digital disruption – ultimately a good thing for time-starved and increasingly digital-native consumers.
But its acquisition of Whole Foods and recent announcement of plans for a physical grocery store in 2020 actually reinforced an indisputable fact: physical stores are here to stay. Retailers are continuing to expand their physical footprint.
In fact, Aldi has opened more than 1,600 stores in the U.S., and is on track to become the third-largest grocery chain in the U.S. by store count by 2022. And in 2019, Dollar General announced it had plans to open 975 new stores – nearly 10% growth.
As traditional grocery stores step up their delivery game to compete with Amazon, they must also remember that their physical stores offer a major advantage for engaging and delighting customers.
To continually improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, retailers must play to their strengths and incentivize shoppers to rely on their stores for value-added goods, time-saving services, and enjoyable experiences.
Localizing assortments, expanding the footprint for fresh and prepared food, and adding offerings that their customers value (such as time-saving co-located services or premium in-store dining) will transform store visits into experiences to be enjoyed and sustained, rather than dislikable chores to be completed and expedited.
For example, to create improved in-store exp