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.
Traditionally, the convenience store has primarily served as quick stop for gas on the way to work or on a road trip. In recent years, however, a number of convenience stores, from the small mom-and-pop shop to the mega travel centers, have added a number of merchandise offerings, including grab-and-go food, adult beverages, toiletries and even yard-art. Today’s consumers are taking advantage of these offerings as they’re stretched for time as they run between work, children’s activities, networking commitments and home.
And so, another successful NRF Big Show is in the books! This year’s conference hosted over 33,500 attendees previewing the latest in retail technology and innovative ideas. From our perspective, the main themes of the show seem to revolve around digital innovations and most importantly, making the customer the focus. In keeping with NRF tradition to launch never-before-seen technology solutions, the Displaydata team was proud to announce the newest additions to our ESL suite: the Aura 29 BLE with Bluetooth Low Energy, the Chroma 16 and the Chroma 74. We also showcased our new ability to track in-store customer behavior through our partnership with SmartFocus, complete with an eye-catching wine display that some lucky winners were able to enjoy the contents of with our #NRFWineDown drawing on the last day of the show.
As we head into the official start of the holiday season, shoppers are not the only ones with wish lists of the gifts they’d like to see under the tree on December 25. Retailers have their wish lists too, but not in the form of big packages tied with red ribbon. This year, a large majority of retailers want (and need) to take the first step on their digital store journey by filling up their stockings with “must have” digital solutions that will give their customers the unique, personalized experiences they crave. RIS News recently published the report “Complete Your Omnichannel Transformation: Digitize the Store,” sponsored by Displaydata, detailing how retailers can truly create a true omni-channel experience by blurring the lines between online and physical shopping channels. As with any new initiative, retailers need to follow an actionable plan. According to RIS News, “Digitizing the store for technology-sake is not going to support an omni-channel approach. Instead, brands need to use a digital strategy as a means of personalizing the customer experience and creating store-level engagement that can truly define the brand.” We couldn’t agree more!
One of the main components to digitizing the store is the use of electronic shelf labels (ESLs). As our very own Andrew Dark said in the report, “
Electronic shelf labels can serve as the critical link between the physical and digital retail store.” Through the use of Bluetooth enabled ESLs and a retailer’s mobile app, having a true one-to-one “conversation” while in the store can be a reality. See below for other highlights from the report:
The concept of the physical retail store is certainly changing and evolving, in some cases, it may not even be a traditional “store” with four walls and a POS. (Hello, pop-up stores and fashion/apparel trucks!) But I think we can all agree that the store is (in the immortal words of pop singer Taylor Swift) never, ever, ever going to go away. Need some proof? Let’s first take a look at the stats from this year’s back to school shopping. According to a June 2015 poll by FatWallet.com, 91% of parents planned to shop for back-to-school items in-store this year, vs. 37% who cited retailer sites, 16% cash-back sites and 7% mobile shopping apps. What’s more, a July 2015 study by Deloitte asked U.S. parent Internet users about the back-to-school items they planned to purchase in-store vs. digitally - almost all the categories were largely labeled as in-store-only purchases. The Deloitte study also reported that approximately two-thirds of parents intended to make other fashion purchases such as accessories and clothes solely in stores. (The first day of school outfit is very important for so many kiddos!) Clearly, in-store shopping is a priority for shopper’s today.
Retailers, it’s time to say “adios” to the days of separate and silo’ed retail channels and hello to a new retail world that integrates the physical and digital stores to create a more engaging and connected in-store shopping experience for your consumer. In other words, the Internet should have a permanent home in your physical stores. Research still tells us that 95% of all retail purchases worldwide are still made in-store. A new Forrester report predicts that in-store purchases are projected to grow by $300 billion in the U.S alone by 2018. We also know that ecommerce is growing. Forrester also predicts that ecommerce sales will grow from $294 billion to $414 billion over the same period. Less we forgot about mobile, that little smart device that is like a security blanket for many of us. Did you know:
Dion Broeken, Displaydata's Director of Sales EMEA Last week the USDA and EPA made a
significant announcement, telling the world that it is stepping up when it comes to food wastage by calling a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. To achieve this lofty yet attainable goal, the United States federal government says they will work with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments. On a personal note, I say “Bravo!” to the USDA and EPA for taking a stand to reduce, by no small amount, the estimated 133 billion pounds of food that is wasted each year. According to U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, that is enough food to fill the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) 44 times.
Eileen Keehan, Displaydata’s new SVP of Sales Americas, provides her thoughts on the growth of ESLs in North America and why Displaydata will lead the market. Things have been quite busy for the global team here at Displaydata, and I couldn't be any happier about it! Since joining this brilliant team a few months ago, I've been earning my frequent flier miles meeting new and prospective customers, and seeing first hand how our innovative and best-in-class ESLs are being utilized on retailer shelves around the world.
The five senses can be powerful allies to any organisation, and especially true for brick-and-mortar retailers who have the unique opportunity to enlist all of the critical human senses – sound, touch, smell, taste and sight – to help turn a “window shopper” into a paying customer. For brick-and-mortar retailers, sight is by far the single most powerful and influential sense and much research has been devoted to this topic. But all the experts agree: having the right visuals in-store can make or break the sale.
As humans, it is in our DNA to constantly evolve and create the next “big thing” that will change how we live and work. From the invention of the wheel to the creation of the Internet, our technological advances have always come with reason – a better way to harvest food, more efficient ways to travel or more enhanced platforms for communication – and they’ve always developed at a time when they are most needed.