5 Major Players Acing Consumer Data Space in Digital Grocery
At A Glance
- The pandemic drastically changed the landscape of the grocery industry
- Digital grocery is expected to reach 20.5% of total grocery sales by 2026
- Brands must up their game to meet consumer expectations and retain the loyalty
- Savvy brands are utilizing consumer data collected via purchases and loyalty programs
- Discover 5 key players leveraging customer data to enhance the customer experience
The pandemic drastically changed the landscape of the grocery industry. eCommerce was growing even before the pandemic but hadn’t yet penetrated the grocery industry. The pandemic has made online grocery shopping routine for consumers who had never purchased groceries online before. According to Incisiv Digital Maturity Benchmark 2021, digital grocery is expected to reach 20.5% of total grocery sales by 2026.
According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index report, during two years starting March 2020 till February 2022, US consumers had spent $1.7 trillion on online grocery shopping surpassing the amount spent in 2018 and 2019 combined. In 2022 the spend is estimated to reach $1 trillion.
“We saw a diversification of what categories people are willing to shop online,” said Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe. Further, according to the report, the pandemic made shopping via laptops or mobile phones a routine habit for consumers rather than heading to the supermarket.
Now that consumers have completely accepted online grocery shopping, brands have to up their game to meet consumer expectations and retain loyalty. To do this, they are utilizing the consumer data collected via purchases and loyalty programs to offer consumers tailored promotions, while simultaneously lifting their confidence in the brand.
Below are 5 major industry players that are leveraging customer data to enhance customer experience:
Kroger has been using consumer data to personalize their shopping experience. In 2019, the grocer partnered with Microsoft Azure to store and process the data generated at its stores’ smart shelves. The smart shelves (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment) could be connected with Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go app and provide consumers guidance in terms of prices, promotions, and nutritional information. Also, it can provide consumers with personalized offers and promotions using video analytics based on their demographics.
Currently, Kroger is focusing on providing fresh products to its consumers by improving its sourcing and leveraging food science. According to the Kroger Annual Report 2021, 70% of customers decide where to shop based on the availability of fresh products. Thanks to its focus on this critical area Kroger’s fresh product sales have risen 15.6% since 2019.
Walmart has set up Walmart Labs to store and process consumer data and fuel growth. The grocer utilized its paid loyalty program “Walmart +” to provide custom offers and discounts to its consumers. Recently, Walmart introduced a rewards program wherein the members of “Walmart +” can earn and redeem points online and in-store on select items.
Additionally, the grocer utilizes the consumer data collected to create a tool that aids in providing relevant substitutions to consumers within seconds. The acceptance of substitute products provided has increased to 95% since implementing this tool.
Albertsons, in partnership with Merkel - a customer experience management company - has unified its customer data with both first-party and third-party signals to obtain a 360-degree view of its consumers and to gain a better understanding of their needs and behavior.
The brand, along with the customer data platform Action IQ and Merkel, has been able to create personalized shopping experiences for its consumers. It enabled the grocer to send cart abandonment reminders and real-time communications to subscribers of their loyalty program and Fresh Pass.
“Personalized messaging powered by ActionIQ drove approximately 30% weekly click rate and 37% weekly redemption rate,” according to Sankett Deshpande, Director of Marketing & Advertising Platforms, Albertsons,
Giant eagle is increasing its focus on leveraging consumer data to gain a better understanding of their behavior and providing rewards for their engagement. The grocer wants to improve its shopping experience and loyalty via its MyPerks platform. Giant Eagle has also signed a multi-year agreement with Eagle Eye to use its AIR platform to further enhance its loyalty program and improve its promotional capabilities.
The agreement is expected to further advance its loyalty program encompassing all its business aspects. It would help Giant Eagle in managing its real-time promotions along with streamlining its in-store experience. "We're excited to partner with Eagle Eye to advance and accelerate our efforts to bring our customers the most personalized and rewarding loyalty platform in North America, " said Justin Weinstein, VP of Customer Experience at Giant Eagle.
Giant Eagle has also partnered with Flahfoods to provide its consumers with groceries at affordable rates during inflation. Consumers can use Flash Foods' app or website to find discounted products nearing their sell date.
BJ’s has partnered with GroupBY to use its Product Discovery Platform (powered by Google Cloud) to better utilize its in-store and online customer data. This enables the grocer to make real-time decisions and enhance its product discovery and search recommendations.
“We're really focused on leveraging data across the buying path to understand customer intent, make search and recommendations most relevant, and make it very easy for our members to build their cart and access their products through our omnichannel capabilities,” said Heather Hacker BJ’s VP of Digital Experience and Program Management.
Grocery stores have historically relied on in-store interactions to generate sales. As digital shopping grows in popularity, grocers must keep up with emerging customer needs and demands. To successfully navigate these digital disruptions, it can be beneficial to have an understanding of what some of the major players are doing to ace the consumer data space.