To improve and make effective the buying experience, consolidate a model of proximity and closeness, with multi channel strategies and a focus on people, is an immediate objective for supermarkets. This could be the summary of the greatest opportunities and objectives of supermarket chains in the new retail era, basically the opinion of the greatest retail executives at global level.
They all agree that there is a need to execute the digital transformation and adapt to the changes of a consumer who no longer distinguishes between one channel or another (physical vs. digital). A consumer who demands proximity and closeness, as well as modernization and moments that help him to create new experiences, in any format, moment or place.
One of the principal challenges is to deepen the process of innovation that mark the future of supermarkets and can be grouped into three main axes: those related with digital transformation- from online sales to logistics; the changes designed to optimize the shopper experience; and finally, the increase of energy efficiency of the stores, warehouses and transport.
Another one would be the necessity to offer the consumer an integrated and quality service, regardless of the medium that the latter chooses to access. The omnicanality, understood as the communication and access to the customer through various channels, and the coexistence of online commerce together with the physical store, is a way in which great strides are being made without losing the essence of the proximity trade model.
We must consolidate even more the model of the local supermarket, which is the format that is now in full expansion in the United States (Aldi, Lidl, Walmart Neighborhood …) because it can make available a complete purchase with variety, quality, sustainability and food security very close to their homes with the most competitive prices. One of the tasks we must do is to deepen the achievement of high levels of efficiency throughout the entire chain in a model in which all are winners.
Strategies that any supermarket should follow
Knowing how to develop a successful digital strategy in order to take advantage of new digital technologies for making new competitive opportunities in the physical channel, in addition to taking advantage of new digital channels to generate growth, new businesses, greater market value and greater connection with customers, and all from a multi channel perspective (to meet all expectations of current and future generations of clients).
Experience is relevant in supermarket chains. It deals with putting value in the physical store, knowing how to transform the “buying operation” into a store experience (and even better, a brand), that has to be more technological, more agile, more interactive, but also more fun, more inspiring and more discovering. The real challenge is making it a relevant experience: more than personalized, that connects with the interests and vital purposes of customers.
Humanization and personal connection. Supermarket teams are the principal competitive advantage of off-line commerce due to the level of service, support, professionalism and the capacity to connect with clients and, today, it can still not be matched with “on-line.”
The challenge, therefore, lies in the fact that the entire business strategy puts such strengths in value and not, as we sometimes see, technology introduced in store to dehumanize them in the name of agility or cost reduction.
The current client is multi channel, and demands an optimal shopping experience regardless of the channel. The challenge for our distribution sector is to adapt this trend by monitoring and controlling customer behavior in all channels, in an integrated manner.
For that, technological tools are needed like ERP’s, linked to CRM’s, and they orient a profitable electronic commerce. All of them, in order to respond to the expectations of a more demanding customer who knows what they want and premium the immediacy and availability of what they are looking for, both in the physical and digital environment.
This change also affects the sectors of the economy, becoming a challenge and an opportunity for growth, which requires collaboration between all economic agents and all links in the chain. A cooperation based on trust and transparency in the flow of information that allows us to be more competitive.
Being prepared for a constant change of environment and demand, is part of any company that wants to last in time. In Covirán, our mission is to provide independent retailers, their customers and society, supermarkets of proximity through a comprehensive offer of business, based on profitability, trust, cooperation and generating growth in the local economy. There is no doubt that innovation has become one of the main levers for the growth of our company, fundamental to continue guaranteeing our present and future growth.
Thanks to the advanced analytics, companies can have a deeper knowledge about their clients, and can also determine their purchasing tactics. The analysis of data, the Big Data, offers more possibilities, for companies of our sector and can make a difference. This trend will mark the future of our companies and will contribute not only to attracting new customers, but also to loyalty to existing ones.
The recent purchase of Whole Foods Market by Amazon has been a milestone in the global market, as it is the online operator that buys the physical, and this is the necessary step for multi channel. This dreamy purchase will mark a before and after in the future of our exciting food retail world.