As a consumer, it has been fantastic to see how the grocery retail industry has evolved over the past year, making the necessary changes to keep up with the ever-changing demands their shoppers. Not only have they made great strides to improve existing store footprints, but grocery retailers are now taking a cue from their fellow retail peers and are working to make the entire shopping experience more fun, engaging, and most importantly – more convenient. Can I get a show of hands for those of you who now take advantage of either curbside pick-up or home delivery of your groceries? Chances are, the majority of you are indeed raising your hands.
The landscape of grocery retail is forever changed. So much has been improved, however, there is one key area where grocery retailers are still stuck in the past, and it is costing them millions: outdated manual pricing systems.
In our most recent research report 'From Analogue to Automated: Retail in the Connected Age,’ with Planet Retail RNG (and discussed in our last blog), we found that 67% of global retailers spend up to 4.99% of average monthly store turnover making price and promo changes. That’s equivalent to approximately $104 billion in sales across the 10 markets surveyed. We also know from our survey that 85% of U.S. grocery retailers agree/completely agree that providing store staff and customers with accurate and up-to-date availability, location, pricing and other product information is important for a good shopping experience, and that 90% agree that working to respond more quickly to competitors’ offers is a high priority – again, going back to the topic of pricing.
But for grocery retailers specifically, there is a large gap between with what they want when it comes to in-store pricing, and what they are actually able to do. Half of the grocery respondents in our report said they completely agree that ensuring prices and promotions are accurate and up-to-date would help them increase consumer trust and loyalty, however, 45% of them indicated they would like to implement more price changes to offer customers better prices and deals in the store. What’s more, 40% of grocery retailers make manual labeling changes more than once a week, but they would like to be able to do much more in order to “save the sale” in the store. In fact, the number one contributor, according to grocery respondents, to losing customers in-store is the lack of pricing, promotional or product information at the shelf edge.
The numbers are very telling of the pain points that grocery retailers face when it comes to keeping their stores pricing and promotions updated. Manual pricing and promotions are no longer functional in today’s omni-present grocery store.
Moving beyond the constraints of manual pricing strategies, and to a more flexible, agile approach is critical. Grocery retailers can do this by powering the shelf-edge with electronic shelf labels (ESLs), creating shopping experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and personalized. With ESLs, grocery retailers can enable true everyday low pricing, launch more timely promotions, make gradual price changes, align prices across channels, and free staff to spend more time serving the customer.
Grocery retail competition is at an all-time high. With long-term customer loyalty at stake, it’s time for grocery retailers to just say “no” to costly and time-consuming manual pricing and promotions and complete the digital transformation of their stores.