woman holding up a basket of fresh produce

3 Main Factors That Will Shape Grocery Retail

Grocery retail has seen four major shifts since the 1950s, starting with a focus on brand in the 1950s, moving to category in the 1970s, then the customer needs in the middle of 1990s, with the focus settling on giving the customer control that emerged in 2010. The shift to giving customer control began with the infamous Amazon Effect that disrupted the world of online retail.

This latest shift in the way customers purchase their grocery has upturned brands and grocery retailers, pitting them against sudden changes powered by the latest in technology and unpredictable socioeconomic conditions. In the new age, only grocers with the most adaptability and agility in the face of change can survive.

Let us explore some of the driving factors of grocery retail and how you can leverage them to improve your business:

Convenience is Top Priority

These days, customers are pressed for time. Amazon understands this well and uses this knowledge to build success in every category. Convenience happens to be a decisive factor in the highly competitive world of grocery retail. Even brick and mortar grocery retailers are turning to new in-store experience solutions such as mini-stores within a store (e.g.: meat and frozen foods, wine and specialty cheeses etc) and modular product displays, keeping in mind customer’s insistence on convenience.

Long check-out lines are a big turn-off for customers. Amazon has innovated and eliminated this inconvenience by introducing Amazon Go stores which are cashierless and run solely on technology. Walmart has introduced an option to pay from their app, easing the check-out process for customers. Your customers are looking for the simplest and fastest way to buy grocery products from you. Since most of the grocery shopping includes repeated products, you can easily provide better service by allowing your customers to repeat their orders, or increase sales by pushing out offers on their regular purchases.

Easy Discoverability

Artificial Intelligence(AI) can be leveraged to analyze customer data and insights, to help grocery retailers and CPG brands make shopping easier and more logical. As an example, product sections are now being organized around the needs of customers rather than solely based on brand merchandising. 

Grocery retailers and CPG brands working together to create singular themes under which they can market and sell affiliated and affinity products. For example, a theme such as “breakfast time” groups together products such as eggs, fruit juices, and loaves of bread, etc. This not only helps customers to discover new products easily but also helps retailers increase gross merchandise value (GMV) whether online or offline.

Omnichannel Experience

Persuasive in-store merchandising can entice store customers to go online or vice versa. For example, an offer on an in-store display of chips sends customers online for a free dip coupon. Likewise, an online offer on select dips sends customers into a brick and mortar store for nachos at a discounted price. These kinds of promotional offers not only bridge the gap between online and offline retail but also serve to deliver an omnichannel experience.  

Research conducted by Dunnhumby research found that 70% of an online shopping cart is populated with the usual products from an in-store spend of a customer. Utilizing customer intelligence such as this, you can drive profits up by making the shift from offline to online shopping smoother for your customers.


We’ve covered some of the current driving factors behind grocery retail. You can apply these concepts to improve your grocery retail. Remember that to become a successful online grocery retailer, you need to implement a structural shift at the very foundation of your retail existence. This applies across all parts of your business, from merchandising to displaying and selling products at your online or brick and mortar store. Using the latest technology such as AI to analyze customer data and gain useful insights could help boost your business like never before.

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