The Future of Grocery: Aligning Store Communications

March 9, 2021

A year ago, Covid-19 brought non-essential brick-and-mortar retail stores to a halt. While businesses everywhere closed their doors for the first time, grocery stores exploded. Grocery associates were quickly designated as “essential workers” and products began flying off the shelves.

While brands in other retail verticals had the benefit of time to prepare for reopening, grocery stores were reacting and adapting on the fly. The customer experience transformed instantly, launching us into a future age of grocery defined by online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery, while stores still maintain a safe and shoppable environment.

At Zipline, we set out to investigate how grocery stores navigated this new territory. We partnered with Coyle Hospitality Group to send secret shoppers into major grocery stores to uncover how they were performing compared to other brands in their category, as well as leaders in other verticals. This study set out to explore safety, grocery store employee engagement, and sales execution, and we uncovered some surprising insights.

Employee Happiness Drives Better Store Engagement

How brands engage their employees matters. Particularly among grocery stores, we found a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and performance. Companies with a 3.5 or higher on glassdoor performed 15% better overall in the study than those companies with less than a 3.5 rating. And this isn’t super surprising. We know that there is a correlation between happy customers and happy employees.

Specifically, aligning people across the organization to be a part of something bigger can have a measurable impact on the way that employees bring a brand to life. The way that companies strengthen their messaging and communications can elevate the entire brand. When employees feel connected to the brand, they are empowered to be the voice of the company for customers.

“Thanks to Zipline, I know our associates feel taken care of. We use the platform to help them do their jobs better and alert them when there’s an important update, product recall, or task,” says Jessica Ringena, SVP of Finance and Business Strategy for Hy-Vee.  “But we also use to let them know how things are going, how we’re keeping them safe, and how we’re providing them with new benefits or special discounts during the pandemic. So it’s tactical, but also emotional. It’s another way that we show them we care.”

Learn how Hy-Vee uses Zipline to engage employees and deliver personalized communication to the field.

Keeping Shoppers Safe is a Central Priority

Grocery retailers performed best in health and safety areas. This isn’t surprising since this has been a singular focus for retailers, especially essential businesses like grocery stores who are transforming to meet the needs of in-store and BOPIS/curbside shoppers.

Our study explored if retailers have met consumer expectations around health and safety. We evaluated if grocery retailers are providing a safe shopping experience, reminding shoppers to maintain social distancing, offering contactless payment options, and providing hand sanitizer in-store. The data shows that grocery stores perform 11% better than other retailers in different verticals, and Zipline customers outperformed other grocery brands by over 88%.

Explore the results of the Retail Sales Execution Study to explore how retailers across multiple categories performed.

Some Grocery Brands Stand Apart from The Rest

There is a common thread between top-ranking retailers… Communication technology. Grocery stores that have software solutions in place designed to manage store execution by prioritizing effective communication saw an 88% boost in health & safety and over 100% in sales execution.

Download the full report to see which grocery stores are outperforming the competition.

Are you ready to learn how to improve health and safety compliance and improve your stores’ execution? Zipline was built to solve the unique challenges of communication in retail organizations. Reach out to explore more, today.

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