Progressive Grocer

SEP 2016

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152 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2016 I t has always been challenging for gro- cers to differentiate their stores from competing banners. Because they stock largely the same products, the distinc- tion between stores is blurred at best and nonexistent at worst. But there are exceptions. At one end of the spectrum is Walmart, which brands itself as the low-price leader; at the other end are large retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's, as well as smaller operators like Jungle Jim's and Stew Leonard's that offer a unique in-store experience. Meanwhile, most other grocery retailers are stuck in the muddy middle, struggling for a way to maintain shoppers and attract new ones. e stakes are high to get it right, because the demographics of shoppers and their behavior in the store are constantly changing. Alert grocers need to be aware of these changes to ensure that merchandising strategies, assortments and the in-store experience are appropriate and effective. But how is that done? More and more, grocers are turning to in-store analytics. "In-store analytics can really help to better understand what shoppers see as the benefit of what grocers are offering and help them build strategies to enhance that differentiating attribute of shopping with them," says Rich Scamehorn, chief research of- ficer at InContext Solutions, a Chicago-based pro- In-store Analytics Steps Up Understanding shopper behavior is key. By John Karolefski vider of virtual reality (VR) shopping and retail solutions. "In-store analytics are very important to their survival." "Today's customers are better connected, better informed and more digitally savvy, making them more prone to switching and harder to please," adds Michael Gorshe, managing director of CGS and food retail for global consultancy Accenture, with U.S. headquarters in Chicago. "Case in point: Millennials have challenged the way we do busi- ness. It's imperative that the grocery trade keeps up with the changing consumer demands. Analytics is the key to providing grocers with the information they need to adapt to the changing landscape." Indeed, in-store analytics has evolved to become integral to monitoring performance and identify- ing growth opportunities for grocers, according to Justin Behar, CEO of Quri, a San Francisco-based provider of retail intelligence technology. e speed, granularity and ultimately the ability to act upon the data are allowing retailers to merchandise each store individually with a more shopper-centric approach, and to make corrections quickly. Behar points out that retailers can obtain true vis- ibility into the real-time merchandising conditions of their stores and gain insight into how they can affect shopper behavior to drive sales. at's a far cry from the past, when grocers largely relied on anecdotal information "that painted an overly simplified, overly optimistic picture of store conditions" and promotion performance on a much broader level. "With the new data streams that have emerged, retailers now have an unbiased, consistent flow of information that can help eliminate holes on shelf, ensure higher levels of execution on volume-driving promotions and a whole host of other growth op- portunities," he says. "is information is allowing retailers to understand what influences purchase de- cisions and forge a closer connection to the shopper." Nona Cusick, SVP of consumer products, retail and distribution at worldwide consultancy Capgemini, Data Gathering Technology

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