Grocery retailers struggling with speed of decisions as customer expectations rise

A global study of 750 grocery decision-makers reveals key challenges in meeting customer expectations.

Grocery retailers face many challenges and barriers to delivering on their customer experience promises of ‘any time, anywhere’. To understand these challenges, we commissioned a global survey to discover how grocery retail managers and directors feel about their customer experience delivery. The research also uncovered thoughts on how to overcome the hurdles of delivering the best customer experience. The findings are the result of interviews with 750 grocery managers and directors across the globe, in the UK, USA, Germany and France.

In the first of this series of blogs revealing our findings, we’ll look at how grocery retailers are struggling with the speed of their decisions and the steps grocery retailers can take to overcome this challenge.

Grocery retail is dealing with many challenges

    such as:
  • Keeping up with the speed of customer demands
  • The need for faster decisions to meet customer experience goals
  • Supply chain processes
  • Replenishment optimization to ensure product availability and reduce waste
  • Always offering the optimal price for customers

The digital behemoths have shifted the rules of engagement, providing shoppers with options of 24/7 shopping on any platform, delivered when they want it.  Combine this with digital transparency of pricing and the rise of the convenience discounters and the world is a very different place. Margins are getting even tighter.

90% of our interviewees have issues meeting customer requirements. It also found that 25% of managers and directors feel they fall short on delivering a true omnichannel experience.  26% of grocery managers and directors feel there are too many decisions to make and 28% feel decisions are not being made fast enough in the supply chain.

Among our research grocery managers and directors feel their supply chain decision making is the weak link, hindering their ability to deliver at the pace their customers expect and impacting the delivery of a premium customer service.

Furthermore the research highlights that while the right decisions have always been important, speed is now critical. Customers expect speed and convenience from grocery retailers; speed in delivery times, in getting the product they want from the shelves in the store, during the payment process, and in comparing prices and options across the market.

Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Retail, Grocery

How to overcome these challenges?

It is essential that grocery retailers are able to deliver the right replenishment and pricing strategies, while also making it mission-critical to reduce waste.

One solution to offering the best possible price to customers involves the use of Machine Learning Algorithms. While humans are generally very good at pattern recognition, the breadth and depth of the data available to grocery retailers makes it impossible for any one person to make sense of it all. Even traditional analytics tools are not well suited to capturing the full value of big data, but Machine Learning is ideal for exploiting the opportunities hidden in big data.

Machine Learning is a method used to devise complex models and algorithms which extract actionable information from data sets. This information can then be used to predict future outcomes. For example, by finding out when in the year interest in a certain product spikes, retailers can safely avoid issues of over or understocking, as well as set the best price to maximize profits.

Only those retailers who understand the importance of advanced machine learning algorithms and big data, and then actually apply these technologies to their processes, will survive and thrive in grocery retail into the future.

Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Retail, Grocery

Download the full findings and whitepaper here.

Blue Yonder Blue Yonder

We enable retailers, consumer products and other companies to take a transformative approach to their core processes, automating complex decisions that deliver higher profits and customer value using artificial intelligence (AI).