Everyone eats- the act of buying food will never go extinct, but the way we go about it would evolve. The future of shopping will be centered on more experience and creating seamless service. This doesn’t mean they’ll be no cashiers, and robots will take over everything but it means the customer will have options. Those brands that will win are those that give customers options at different stages of production or service delivery.
AI at the Center
The future of grocery shopping is here already only that it is not evenly distributed yet. The future is one that will be heavily impacted by innovation in technology in the ways that make shopping an interesting experience. This can be an in-person store visit or a virtual experience. Artificial Intelligence is at the core of the future of customer experience. Many important aspects of customer experience, such as answering questions and check-out can be automated with the aid of AI. Artificial intelligence in nutrition and recommendation engines provide personalization for customers. Smart and refillable packaging boosts customer loyalty. Automated food service makes prepared meals more profitable.
Making shopping memorable
Many products serve the same purpose and therefore have become commodities. Customers differentiate between brands because of their experiences. This is true of the grocery industry. The grocery store of the future will be focused on giving an experience rather than providing things. Customers would choose to buy from a store not only because of the products but because of the experience of shopping there.
It will be a place customers come to learn about their food and experience it in new ways. It goes beyond buying food but learning new things about the food they buy and having a memorable experience while shopping. Stores, for instance, could offer wine tasting or cooking classes.
Serving The needs of Gen-Z and Gen-X
Gen-Z and Gen-X are digital natives. They grew up with technology like smartphones and the internet. They are used with customized interactions with brands like Spotify and Netflix. They expect to get the same treatment from the brands use often. These are a set of people that like to stay connected and rely on recommendations from their friends and connections to make purchasing decisions. They are more concerned about the experience than the products or the price. They want to know how the brand they patronize supports causes that they care about. They identify with culture and ideals and are more likely to spend on a great experience because they care more about memories than things.
Supply chain disruptions
Labor shortages and supply chain disruptions are changing the way consumers shop for groceries. From channels to places and products. Retailers are racing to embrace technology solutions and rethink ways to optimize their stores. When consumers meet their shopping needs both in stores and online retailers need to prioritize investment that will drive traffic to the store and convert them.
This opportunity has caught the attention of investors and retail technology for grocery has raised $19 billion. Smart packaging and automated fulfillment are gaining momentum and they would affect the way we shop for groceries for a long time to come.
Micro-fulfillment shopping and order fulfillment has become a major competition space for retailers who are looking to retain their customers. In the past, two-day shipping was a luxury in some parts of the world. Today it has become an industry standard. There has been aggressive investment in shipping infrastructure and order fulfillment by Amazon and Walmart. Delivery timelines for online orders as reduced drastically.
Amazon has spent billions of dollars building out its infrastructure and setting up fulfillment centers around the world. Walmart also relies on its existing footprint across different parts of the world to deliver online orders faster. Micro fulfillment is a strategy that allows retailers to make the fulfillment process more efficient. From the time they get an order to the time, it is packaged and sometimes these outlets offer last-mile delivery.
The future of shopping is a blend of in-store and virtual experiences. Retailers that will succeed need to come up with a plan for a future that gives customers more options to get their groceries.