How grocers can leverage analytics to boost the shopping experience and fight the negative impacts of inflation

Jennifer Ortner
Vice President - Gas, Grocery & Convenience
Jen has decades of experience working with some of the world's largest brands to build and redefine businesses across CPG, Retail and Digital Media & Promotions.

Between supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages and historical levels of inflation, grocers are up against quite a few challenges this year. According to Bloomberg, the “food at home” inflation rate has risen 12.2% since last year—compared to an overall 9.1% increase in consumer prices. And as consumers look to tighten their budgets, groceries are on the chopping block. 

In a survey conducted by Cowen, 47% of respondents are cutting or plan to cut their spending, with groceries as a targeted area for budget cuts after social events/dining out and travel/transportation. But amid the doom and gloom, there’s also hope: consumers still enjoy ordering groceries online. According to McKinsey, ecommerce sales have grown 60% since the onset of the pandemic, and the “food at home” market has also surged 8.7% (four times the historical growth rate). 

The competition for consumer dollars is intense, but with a well-stocked arsenal of tools to meet consumer expectations, grocers can leverage their digital channels — and the insights that come with them – to win and retain customers.

Perfect & accelerate the delivery experience 

Online ordering presents a positive growth opportunity. Grocers, however, are not without competition in terms of the “food at home” category. Popular meal delivery services like HelloFresh, as well as food delivery apps like DoorDash and UberEats, all compete in this space as well. 

In order for grocers to win and retain market share, digital ordering tools must be flawless—along with the rest of the customer experience. Expectations for delivery times have intensified, with the standard hovering at 30 minutes, even in suburban areas. Heavyweights like Kroger have taken the additional step of adding ghost kitchens at select locations to create competitive prepared food delivery options.

Seize the data 

Given the competitive market, it’s crucial for modern grocery marketers to leverage data from their digital channels to create personalized shopping experiences. Since shoppers are turning more to online ordering and delivery, marketers have the opportunity to leverage insights from this data. Tools like a customer data platform (CDP) can help streamline the process of unifying data from a variety of sources.

Timely shopper insights can help you understand shoppers at a more granular level. Can you leverage in-store and ecommerce insights to understand customer buying preferences and habits? Using this data can also help you combat out-of-stocks by improving item substitutions for online orders.

Close the silo

Digital channels create rich customer data, but collecting and unifying it data isn’t enough, and unfortunately, many grocery marketing teams still keep data siloed from analytics. By taking data and transforming it into actionable insights, you can create a more reliable basis for decision-making and personalization.

These analytics don’t just inform personalized experiences. They can also inform operational improvements, like:

  • Inventory management
  • Merchandising
  • Forecasting accuracy
  • Collaboration with suppliers

Also, remember that customer insights have enormous value even beyond your own targeting efforts, because these insights form the foundation for retail media networks. Brands will pay a premium to advertise on these networks in order to access customer insights and and monetizemaximize their investment based on customer insights, creating a whole new revenue stream for your business.

Identify customers, unit data & start personalizing with Bridg

To better compete in the “food at home” category as inflation rises, keep pace with consumer expectations and mitigate supply chain issues (to the extent possible), grocery marketers need to be able to both unite data from disparate sources and properly segment that data into actionable, unified customer profiles.

We can help you ingest offline (POS transaction data) and online data sources (loyalty/rewards, ecommerce, mobile, email) and identify the (un)known customers behind the debit/credit card.

Then, we can also help you create unified, privacy-safe, longitudinal customer profiles with SKU-level purchase behavior and over 300+ enriching demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you transform your data into actionable analytics to win the “food at home” category.