Grocery 2030: Insiders Predict the Industry's Long-Term Future
At A Glance
- Grocers must plan to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next decade.
- Grocery Doppio is exploring Grocery 2030 over the next 12 months.
- The store of the future, role of the associate, technology outlook, and sustainability/ESG outlook will all be benchmarked.
- Industry insiders give their thoughts on the long-term future of the grocery industry.
While 2030 might seem like it is far off, the reality is it is closer than we realize. Grocers must put plans in place today to ensure they are ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next decade.
To help grocers build their strategic, operational, and technological roadmaps, Grocery Doppio is planning a series of research reports and articles to explore the industry's long-term outlook and opportunities.
The Grocery 2030 program will explore the industry's future from four distinct angles: Store of the Future, Role of the Associate, Technology Outlook, and Sustainability/ESG Outlook.
To help kick off the initiative, we asked a group of grocery insiders and thought leaders their thoughts on what the industry will look like in seven years. We asked them to stare into the proverbial crystal ball and envision the grocery business of the future and how we can best prepare for it. Their unique perspectives are below.
This is the first in a series of articles that will capture executives' perspectives on Grocery 2030. If you would like to contribute to a future article, please connect with Grocery Doppio chief editor Tim Denman at email@example.com.
Insider Perspectives on the Future of Grocery
"Grocery stores will be a lot more digitized. Shoppers are looking for the best online shopping capabilities in a physical store environment. The digitization of the store is inevitable. It's very exciting. It's lucrative. And the underlying mega trend of shoppers demanding new merchandising and entertainment experiences in the store coupled with brands' need to monitor what is happening with their in-store marketing investment. We will see more integrated omnichannel experiences for shoppers where the consumer journey starts in the digital world but is tightly coupled with the in-store environment."
— Arsen Avakian, CEO & Founder, Cooler Screens
"The experience in grocery ten years from now is a version of what we're seeing today. It's just a more seamless version. It's about an experience that enables shoppers to seamlessly find the right product, enabling a product company to communicate with them in the store more effectively. That will allow more data to be utilized and give each store the ability to provide the ideal experience. So much of what we want to happen in grocery is about customization. How do you make each grocery store operate as effectively as possible for the audience that visits that store? When you can enable that, you create the ideal grocery experience."
— Ethan Chernofsky, SVP of Marketing, Placer.ai
"It's omnichannel all the way. Customers aren't going to give up the convenience they became accustomed to shopping online during the pandemic, so grocers need to find smart ways to do both. On top of hybrid shopping, consumers will continue to explore new ways to shop. This could be via third-party fulfillment companies, cashierless stores, or experiential stores. In the next decade, we're going to see innovation in automation, with robots, drones, and wearables helping retail staff fulfill the customers' needs. We will also see investment and development in best-in-class human-to-human interactions, as store associates are empowered through smart data capture technology to provide a VIP experience and anticipate individual shopper needs."
—Jessica Grisolia, Senior Industry Solution Manager at Scandit
"1) Sustainability is big, and it's not going away. There will be tremendous momentum to make sure that your business, especially inside the store, is running in a highly sustainable way. 2) Grocers aren't hiring the people they would like to hire. It's going to be important to have a work environment that is easy to learn and provides constant training on the job. 3) Kroger's Ocado distribution centers could be a game changer. What they're doing in Florida now is an example. They don't have any stores in Florida. They don't plan to have any stores in Florida. They don't have any distribution centers in Florida. But they put an Ocado center there. It will be interesting to see how they expand their footprint without building stores and without building distribution."
— Tim Kane, Retail Industry Principal, Zebra Technologies
"Grocers are just starting with digital personalization. In a decade or seven years from now, we will be talking about auto-replenishment. If your milk is empty, there will be a sensor in your fridge that sends an alert to your grocer to fulfill it. The entire grocery space might change where you're going to the grocery store just for the fun of it and want that experience. But customers can fulfill most of their grocery items automatically without making a list. Lists will die in seven years. "
— Prithvik Kankappa, COO, Impact Analytics
"It's no longer about having an e-commerce strategy; it's about having a business strategy built on digital. Grocers need to envision how to digitize every part of the customer experience and take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital transactions and digital awareness in the store. Technologies to track digital activity are becoming so pervasive. As we embrace that in the grocery industry, it will allow companies to transform their businesses and avoid getting stuck with an analog grocery experience. Many grocers are doing 2030 work right now, but they can't move fast enough. There will be challenges, but 2030 as a concept is laying out a roadmap to digitize and automate."
— Charles Kaplan, Chief Revenue Officer, Wynshop
"By 2030, grocers will have significantly evolved the use of value-added data, such as understanding how products are bought, delivered, and used. Data will easily flow between brands, manufacturers, and consumers. This will enable automated deliveries and help visualize inventory of food products in the home, which will result in more accurate analyses of consumer cycles. More personalization via dedicated services and loyalty programs will also increase visibility at the consumer level and further reduce food waste."
— Kerry Langley, Vice President of sales, SATO America
“For grocers to be successful, they need to think about what the customer needs from the shopping journey. Help them plan their trips to the grocery store and make the trip more efficient. Tell the customer: 'you should probably go on Thursday if you like these kinds of poultry items,' or 'there's a sale coming on an item you regularly purchase.' And then add onto that with: 'you saved time, you saved money, and you reduced your carbon footprint.' Grocers need to move into that customer's psyche space and provide those kinds of services."
— Dan Mitchell, Director, Global Retail Practice, SAS
“We are undisputedly at the early stages of the most exciting and consequential evolution in the history of stores as the "IOS"— internet of stores is born. Over the next three to seven years, we will see the whole of retail embrace and launch IOS and shift to digitally connected stores. This new architecture begins with laying a foundation of AI and CV devices from ESL to shelf-cameras, to ‘just walk out’ POS solutions."
— Suzy Monford, CEO, Food Sport International
"Grocery in 2030 is going to be a seamless experience between online and offline. Delivery will be built into the shopping experience, and the merchandising of products will be much more personalized with the opportunity to experience new brands organically."
— Len Ostroff, SVP, Partnerships, Crisp
"Disruptions will continue, and many of the trends that are already happening will accelerate. We will see more omnichannel penetration, savvy shoppers competitively shopping online for quicker deliveries, and more efficient apps and processes to get them what they want. It will be a more informed world, with new processes and technologies enabling it. Consumers will still buy many of the same products and do all the same things they've been doing, but there will be more data on it. We will be able to better understand how to serve that customer. I think that is going to define the winners of tomorrow."
— Matthew Pavich, Sr. Director, Retail Innovation, Revionics, an Aptos Company
"The combination of increasingly available and valuable data from computer vision and automation from artificial intelligence will continue to be a game-changer for grocery as it provides the fastest way to take the 'right action in the moment.' AI will enable grocers to understand what problems need to be addressed, what data is needed to solve those problems, and what is the fastest and easiest way to get the answers into the hands of the person that needs to execute. This will lead to the triple benefit of people relieved of the burden of repetitive work, removing friction from the customer experience, and freeing up store staff to focus on roles that allow them to interact with customers more."
— Alex Siskos, SVP of Strategy for Everseen
"The store is likely to become less of a necessity. The physical grocery store will be more of a micro-fulfillment operation than the walk-in shop we are used to today. It's the natural extension of the behaviors we already see that are driving operational efficiencies and accelerating technology adoption. That said, the shopper experience will become even more crucial. The accuracy and speed of the curbside experience will be an important differentiator. Instead of an in-store customer experience, grocers will focus on the virtual one as personal touches like talking to the produce manager or the butcher move to online video chat. The butcher won't be confined to the local store. Rather, one experienced butcher will be able to answer questions from consumers anywhere — yielding a higher caliber of customer engagement along with even more operational savings."
— Mike Tippets, Vice President, Enterprise Marketing, Hughes
Want to join in the conversation? We would love to hear from you. Send your comments to Grocery Doppio's chief editor Tim Denman at firstname.lastname@example.org.