Disruption in grocery requires innovation, agility & fearlessness

Grocery retail trends. Personalized experiences. Technology innovation. Data insights. Customer-centric Category Management. Digital Supply Chain. Private label penetration. Fighting back in an Amazon world – and at the core – always having the customer in mind in everything you do.

Xcelerate Paris Session 2017These were some of the key themes raised at Xcelerate Retail ForumHow do you manage the constant change and disruption in the grocery industry today? How do you remain competitive – or worse even – in business, when new disrupters enter the market? Thought leaders from the likes of Albertsons LLC, Atlantic Grupa, Big C Supercenter, Central England Co-operative, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, EKN Research, Intermarché, REMA 1000, Spar International, SpartanNash, and Supply Chain Insights, gathered to answer the questions above and to discuss the future of customer-centric retail.

Challenge your organization’s status quo

From the onset, the over 300 attendees were charged with challenging themselves. Ken Hughes, one of the world’s leading consumer and shopper behavioralists, emceed the event and started off by telling the audience that it must get uncomfortable, stop doing things the way they’ve always been done – it’s the only way to compete with the likes of Amazon and other disrupters that will arrive with little or no notice. Perhaps this was truly the primary underlying message of the Forum — challenge your organization’s status quo in all areas – strategy, technology, leadership, culture to survive in an industry that is undergoing significant disruption. The uncertainty and change bring with it tremendous opportunity. Opportunity to meet the ever-evolving needs of the customer in all channels.

A business conversation worth having

Symphony RetailAI kicked off Xcelerate by announcing CINDE, the First Digital Analytic Assistant Specific to Grocery and Hard Goods Retail. CINDE will be a significant asset to retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) organizations in not only sorting through structured and unstructured data, but also in its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify trends, continually learn, and suggest insights that lead to immediate actions that will impact the way customers are served… and the bottom line.

Too many to cover in detail here, I list out a few of the key trends from Xcelerate Paris: 

  • Big changes in how we’re shopping and eating – Symphony RetailAI research indicates that 83% of shoppers don’t know what they’re having for dinner at noon. 76% of customers are buying prepared food vs. buying dinner.
  • Private label penetration on the rise – The UK is about 40%, Switzerland about 45% and the US at about 18% to 19% of the revenue from customers, coming out of private labels. This has a significant impact on retailer and CPG strategy and collaboration.
  • Supermarket 2020 – What does the future supermarket look like? Center store moves online, private label growth, lower product curation, emphasis on local sourcing, increase in prepared food, more click and collect, to name just a few things.
  • Global markets with massive opportunity – Gary Hardy, COO, Big C Supercenter spoke of the massive changes in Southeast Asia as the area shifts from traditional to modern trade and convenience. However, there is a massive opportunity around the globe to meet the new demands of today’s customers.
  • Supply becomes the next big thing – Shortened delivery expectation by customers and complexity of fulfillment channels now bring supply chain into the spotlight. Can your supply chain cash in on the bets your marketing group is making?
  • Knowledge will help us compete – To compete with the likes of Amazon, organizations will need knowledge. Good data, understanding of trends, accurate forecasting, insight that leads agile shifts in execution.

While the challenges are many for retailers and CPGs now and in the future, the Xcelerate Retail Forum in Paris outlined a clear path to meeting the hurdles and unknown disrupters that lie ahead.

As organizations stretch to meet the new challenges, they must reimagine their cultures (don’t be afraid to fail/fail fast), evaluate how they’ve traditionally done business, and learn to leverage innovative technologies that make a “friend” of data, enabling it to give insights that drive execution. They must have an unwavering focus on making faster and better customer-centric decisions.

Learn more

Compilation of blogs from speakers that presented at the Xcelerate Retail Forum in Paris:

Learn more about Xcelerate Retail Forum

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