Our Top Three Takeaways from Groceryshop 2021

October 11, 2021

In-person events are back! Can you believe it? We are so excited to get the opportunity to spend (even masked) face-to-face time with retail innovators again. So when we got the opportunity to attend Groceryshop last week in Las Vegas, we packed extra hand sanitizer and headed straight to Mandalay Bay! ✈️

Groceryshop is the leading event for grocery and CPG innovation. They brought together supermarkets, c-stores, drugstores, and more for four days in Las Vegas so we could network, learn, and address shared challenges together.

Here are our top takeaways from the week:

Omnichannel is now a need, not a nice-to-have 🚨

From consumer behavior to the supply chain, every aspect of grocery and CPG is undergoing a massive transformation. This transformation has only accelerated, creating a new urgency to embrace innovative technologies and business models.

Omnichannel and e-commerce were not the central focus until now, because it wasn’t a “need” before now. Now, we can barely remember a time before BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store). (What did parking lots even look like before curbside pickup spots existed?!) 

A few years ago, it may have been a distant dream to be able to do our grocery shopping entirely within a mobile app, but now it is a requirement. That’s why it’s more crucial than ever for retailers to reinvent physical stores for the future as part of a true omnichannel strategy.

“Convenience is no longer just a channel,” says Art Sebastian, VP, Digital Experiences, Casey’s. “It’s a need-to-have.” 

Today’s frontline workers have to do more, with less 🙋🏼‍♀️

The pandemic brought the struggles of part-time, frontline grocery workers to light. Many struggled to balance grueling health and safety protocols and difficult customer interactions with inconsistent schedules and low pay – and it’s not getting any easier. Hourly store employees have the highest turnover rate at 65%.  In Zipline’s Labor of Love Report, we discovered that 42% of retail associates are considering or have already decided they are planning to leave the retail workforce after the pandemic.

As retail associates absorb more responsibility (policing mask mandates, for instance), and retailers tighten payroll (to come back from Covid-induced losses), it’s time to ask ourselves… How are we going to motivate your frontline workers to do more, with less? 

Every retailer at Groceryshop agreed, everywhere you look workers across every retail vertical – from grocery to c-store to apparel – employees are giving their two-week notice.

Now is the time to develop strategies to step up recruitment efforts in a volatile labor market.

Rethinking the purpose of physical stores 🛒

With the supply-chain and fulfilment challenges that retailers continue to face, it’s no wonder that grocery and convenience stores have begun to “go dark.” 

With online retailers’ demand for space and physical stores experiencing less traffic, these dark stores may be the answer to logistical challenges. 

In addition to boosting retail sales for conventional retail brands, dark stores serve non-traditional brands with business models devoted to on-demand delivery. Dark stores, warehouses, and fulfillment centers are key for innovative on-demand digital delivery services such as Gopuff. (We loved hearing from Yakir Gola, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Gopuff)

Digital delivery services like this were rising in popularity even in pre-pandemic times, but we’re seeing retailers offer same-day delivery services at increasing rates today. It’s no secret that customers now expect more integrated, flexible shopping solutions, and brands must meet their needs while maintaining health and safety.

While these shifts in strategy might seem obvious and effortless in consumers’ minds, they are massive undertakings behind the scenes. Success requires strong leadership, agility, and the ability to educate and communicate effectively with each and every employee, including store associates, who are the face of the brand and the most likely to speak with customers.

While new same-day, 2-hour, and digital delivery services are fantastic for the needs of customers, they are complicated. At Zipline, we believe that clear, effective communication is crucial for this kind of complexity. It’s the key to fostering a more agile workforce, and ultimately the only way retailers can guarantee consistent, precise execution. 

With so many brands developing an omnichannel strategy that will last, this is the perfect time to take on a store communications overhaul.

Zipline was built to solve the unique challenges of communication and task management in grocery organizations. Reach out to learn more about how your stores can deliver on your brand promise today and in the future.

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