Is the Grocery Industry Having an Identity Crisis?

Is the Grocery Industry Having an Identity Crisis?

Part of our job at WD as thought leaders and business developers is to attend our fair share of conferences and trade shows throughout the year. We present research and POVs, meet a lot of smart people and create opportunities for the future. On the rare occasion, though, we attend a show, and it feels different than the rest of the conferences. It feels transformative. The timing is right. An entire industry is about to shift.

Now, major players in the industry must make changes or be left behind.

That was the case when we attended GroceryShop in late-October 2018. Talk about an industry undergoing massive changes. The grocery industry is being affected by change and technology as much as any other. Delivery. BOPIS. AI. Private label. The list goes on. The build-up has been happening for many years. Now, major players in the industry must make changes or be left behind.

Let’s take a look at grocery delivery. Every grocer across the globe is seeking out a way to deliver directly to their consumers’ doors. Several grocers already offer the service. But it quickly became evident at GroceryShop that sooner rather than later, it will be table stakes for all grocery stores to offer the service and do it well.

We’ve spoken at length about the importance of BOPIS, and have identified it as a trend that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. While grocery has traditionally done its best to force customers to the back of the store for staple items like milk, we’ve learned that customers would prefer to not even leave their cars, when picking up “in-store.”

Traditional grocery store logic = stay at the store as long as possible while cruising up and down every aisle.

Topics grocery stores are considering for the future = delivering groceries and not even requiring customers to get out of their vehicles.

The technologies impacting the grocery industry are as transformative as a semi-truck mutating into a giant alien robot.

By the way, transformation for an industry is not a bad thing. This is where the innovation comes from. And this is where consumers stand to benefit. The key for industry players, however, is to test, learn and innovate quickly. Then do it all again, if necessary. With all grocers trying to make these big changes at the same time, it’s important to make smart decisions to stay ahead of or at pace with the competition. There’s entirely too much change industry-wide for grocers to stand still. Want to learn more about trends affecting the grocery industry? Download our Grocery POV.