All Posts by Divyasri

Endless Aisles: An extension of the retail in-store shelf

Endless Aisles: An extension of the retail in-store shelf

Given that the retail space is extremely competitive, most retailers are racing first to offer their customers as much product selection as possible. For e-commerce, it’s easier to offer a variety of products, but with brick-and-mortar, it’s far more difficult to stock so many products as compared to its e-commerce counterpart. With a finite amount of shelf space, stores can only stock a limited number of products.

Here is when endless aisles can come into play: Endless aisles help merge the online offerings and the in-store location offerings to bring the best shopping experience for the shopper.

What are endless aisles?

iQmetrix defines it as, “the concept of using in-store kiosks to allow customers to order products that are out of stock or not sold in-store and have them shipped to their homes.”

Alternatively, retailers can choose to ship products that are out of stock directly to the customer’s doorstep. This can be done by partnering with third-party suppliers to fulfill the customer’s order. This leads to a continuous customer experience while not having to deal with suppliers, and also giving the retailers access to endless inventory without the need to warehouse it, benefitting the retailers.

The Endless aisles service acts as a bridge, carrying the products available online into the actual store. This is fundamentally another version of the in-store pick-up (click and collect) option. Leveraging digital portals, retailers can offer these services.

The Benefits of Endless Aisles

Retailers that have their businesses that are both online and in-store, offering endless aisles is a great way to capitalize on the complete product selection without the need to have inventory for each product across different store locations. The extra stock can be stored in warehouses or with third-party supplies that would directly ship to the customers’ doorsteps.

Another benefit is that by offering customers a variety of selection at the brick-and-mortar locations, retailers are decreasing the likelihood of customers going to a competitor store to make a purchase.

Furthermore, Endless aisles help to capitalize on the buyer intent that brought them to the store in the first place, without losing sales due to out of stock items. These customers can subsequently be enticed to move towards shopping online as well.

Retailers can do so by educating the customers about the online offerings, even providing a smooth and memorable user experience right from order to delivery. This way, these customers are more likely to become online shoppers in the future.

Endless aisles also enable retailers to partner with third-party suppliers, in turn, increasing the quantity and variety of products that they can offer, which can impress the customers.

Some of the challenges 

There are a few challenges retailers must keep in mind while implementing endless aisles for their businesses -

Inventory management is imperative when it comes to endless aisles, as there should be a perfect sync between the orders displayed online and the inventory.

Keeping track of multiple orders happening across different sales channels requires a centralized system of orders. Orders placed on the various sales channels cannot be managed on the respective platforms as it is inefficient.

Moreover, tracking order status and inventory levels across the various channels also pose a problem when fulfilling in-store orders with drop shippers or via online channels. Hence having a centralized system is important. There are some tools available in the market to enable the centralization such as Zapier to add new orders from the several sales channels and Order desk to streamline all the workflow.

Conclusion

With online retail undergoing a massive revolution, many customers still opt to shop from brick and mortar stores. Endless Aisles represents a literal blend of virtual technology into the physical store to deliver an enhanced and seamless customer experience for the newer generation demographics. Implementing the endless aisle strategy enables retailers in reducing the physical inventory and floor space while, in tandem, enhancing the product assortment and customer experience.

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delivery man on bicycle

How is Delivery driving the Retail Customer Experience

The role of Delivery in driving the Retail Customer Experience

Delivery services are an integral element in the e-commerce industry. From Amazon to Walmart to Kroger to the mid-size and smaller retailers, are enhancing their purchase delivery options.

Some of the enhancements today include two-day, same day, two-hour, and kiosk pickup in and outside the store, and these are slowly becoming the norm. Amazon even offers a package drop service inside the home or even inside car trunks!

Some other announcements included two-day free delivery for its Whole Foods grocery customers in 3 different cities across the USA. Earlier this year, Target debuted Target Restock – announcing next-day delivery service where customers could order living essentials as late as 7 pm for the next-day delivery. This was done with the aim of reducing shopping inconvenience and making life easier for customers.

What is driving the delivery evolution

These enhancements are being driven by the quest to provide the best customer experience and meet the consumer expectation. Delivery is no longer just “e-commerce to home”, it is now a complex piece of the omnichannel ecosystem. There are new technologies and platforms to enable shipments from stores, lowering costs for retailers and greatly expediting delivery for customers.

Many retailers are even strategically partnering with distributors for overnight drop shipments. Leveraging this, they can carry less inventory and still be able to offer the customers with more choice. Enhanced delivery channels drive a satisfied customer experience and boost sales.

A customer experience differentiator

Waiting for a week for the purchases is becoming a thing of the past and customers are increasingly opting for faster delivery options over higher discounts.

Given all the delivery developments happening across the retail sector, it’s clear that the delivery is as critical as pricing and a viable strategy making the retail experience a simple and seamless process. With instant gratification becoming the norm, consumers are increasingly expecting the same out of material goods and services at any time of day as well.

While “free” has always been an important factor, the new customer expectation is shifting towards custom tailor delivery and the ability to change the delivery location. Customers also are increasingly expecting detailed tracking and also expect to tailor the delivery location and hours once the package leaves the distribution center.

Looking ahead

Delivery is an important factor in the space of consumer experience and is expected to only become a greater force in the retail customer experience.

With the newer delivery options coming in, delivery and pick up package options outside normal store hours will become the front-runners. This gives the choice to the customer to pick up or drop off packages at a time that is comfortable and convenient to them, instead of them having to rush to make it to the location before it closes.

There are positive predictions towards significant growth in delivery strategies in the near future as consumers, and retailers, strive to provide the ultimate streamlined pick-up experience.

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gift bags for the holiday season

Boosting Online Sales for the Holiday Season

Boosting Online Sales for the Holiday Season

With the holidays being around the corner, the countdown has already begun on the numerous sales across all retailers and brands. A growing number of shoppers are avoiding stores and are increasingly embracing e-commerce to shop for gifts due to which prospects for online sales are looking up.

Here are five strategies that companies can focus on to break through the holiday shopping noise and score bigger online sales this season:

Using relevant imagery and information 

Displaying holiday-themed, creative and shoppable images, with product images from different angles as well as using video to showcase products creates more impact as it delivers a more immersive experience, in turn, increasing engagement. Personalized recommendations of products also stimulate interest and likelihood for a purchase.

Key purchasing elements about the products also need to be clear and precise, including the pricing and shipping options, which plays an important role at this time of the year.

Selling uncomplicated and useful products 

Shoppers must not be given too much choice and time to make a purchasing decision. Companies must choose products in such a manner in which it would tap into the shoppers' desires for products and that has the potential to enrich their lives. The best impulse purchases are the ones that shoppers don't regret - and the ones that are exciting, easy, and fairly universal.

Companies need to ensure that the products that are being offered answers a need for shoppers. It can be a gift for large groups such as all boys under 12, or a makeup palette that can compliment every skin tone, etc.  

Keeping the purchasing process simple 

The purchasing process refers to the technology (one-click purchase), fulfillment (free shipping), convenience (returns policy), and the driving factor - product content. During this season, impulse purchases happen more often, and in order to encourage shoppers to make a purchase, the product copy should be presented in a manner such that the shopper does not have any questions about the product, with the product copy being clear and concise, ratings and reviews being well presented with all the information up front.

Increasing visibility by diversifying platforms

In the digital sphere, one can not be sure where a shopper can come from, hence repetition is required. Showing products across various platforms and devices also help create brand recall for the shoppers and increasing the possibility of shoppers purchasing products. Retailers and brands can also depend on banner ads as they utilize “since you viewed” algorithms to feature adjacent products.

Informing shoppers on how much they will save

Shoppers would lean towards offers that allow them to save time or money - especially where gifting is concerned. Most shoppers choose to take advantage of a value deal while making purchases, especially during an impulse purchase. For digital, product copy should mention seasonal pricing or special gifts with the purchase, or free shipping. The information must be presented to the shopper clearly, but also with the mention of value to seal the deal.

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two robots chatting

Chatbots: Boon for e-commerce businesses

Chatbots: Boon for e-commerce businesses

E-commerce is an intensely competitive market where businesses need to keep innovating and adopting new technologies to sustain. These technologies come in packages, large & small, to help optimize the systems and processes, ensuring seamless experiences for the customers.

One of these technologies - Chatbots - has been a popular topic of discussion in the retail and e-commerce industries. Some discussions focus on how the user experience is improved while the remaining provides a detailed view of implementing and adopting chatbots for businesses. In this blog, we try to provide a holistic view of how chatbots help scale e-commerce businesses and subsequently consumers by dividing the benefits into three categories - predictive recommendations, engaging consumer engagement, reduction in the purchase process

Predictive recommendations 

E-commerce industries are user heavy and need to cater to different segments of audiences and their requirements. Whenever there is a discussion about the role of chatbots, one quote stands out -

“Goal is to turn data into information and information into insights.” – Carly Fiorina, Former CEO of HP

Imagine chatbots to be the one that hoards information and turn information into insights. They help customers find the products they’re looking for without extensive browsing, thereby providing users an incentive to stay on the platform and reduce drop-offs.

For instance, Amazon provides best-in-class search for users to find the products they want. The search takes into consideration a number of factors including user dialects, ease in product categorization and user buying behavior & patterns.   

Simple & Quick Consumer Engagement 

The primary function of chatbots is to be conversational by nature using text, buttons, and images and understand typed natural language requests. This is the reason that the most famous chatbots run inside messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger or Skype.

Hence, chatbots provide a huge benefit to e-commerce businesses to connect with the users.  In a high volume business of e-commerce, chatbots provide a highly scalable system to manage individual user conversations simultaneously for millions of users while gaining user insights to improve the product flow and experience.  

Reducing Purchase Time 

Chatbots help consumers to interact with the products at critical stages of their journey, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement. Chatbots provide the assistance to access product information quickly and make informed decisions to purchase the products.

Moreover, customers do not need to look at any other source to gain information on the products. Chatbots process information in the form of notifications, reminders, product updates to fuel conversions and enhance social experiences.

Image credit: Photo by Matan Segev from Pexels

people looking at an ipad

User-generated Content: Playing a crucial role in e-commerce

User-generated Content: Playing a crucial role in e-commerce

Content is an extremely crucial part of any e-commerce business as it has the ability to drive a large amount of organic traffic onto a website. Businesses must be sensitive to providing the right content which provides the brand a wider range of audiences across the web for minimal cost.

One challenge that e-commerce brands face is the ability to create engaging content across all platforms. Moreover, the true challenge lies in creating engaging content as well as producing enough content.

Producing being the operative word, e-commerce brands have a distinct advantage wherein they don’t necessarily have to create or produce new content when sourcing user-generated content. They can leverage the content sourced from user-generated content (UGC) via various channels such as social media in many forms, such as messages, posts, videos, pictures, etc.

The rise of User Generated Content

Over the past decade, there has been an exponential rise in the amount of user-generated content on the internet and with the popularity of the various social media platforms out there, the growth comes as no surprise.

Customers have been talking about different products and brands for a long time now. With the ability to capture those conversations and interactions across the various social media and other marketing channels, e-commerce brands can avail the benefits without spending too much time attempting to produce newer content.

Why is UGC so effective?

One reason why UGC continues to have increased conversions is:  trust.

Multiple surveys showed that UGC plays an important role in a customer’s shopping journey. Some important findings being - 84% of people trusted online reviews as much as they trusted recommendations from their friends, and 74% of people said that positive reviews dramatically improved trust in a business.

Furthermore, almost 82% of consumers said that user-generated content (like reviews, for example) was extremely valuable in helping them make a purchase decision.

Sourcing UGC is not difficult, yet, deciding what needs to be done after, is important.

Incorporating Customer images in Product pages

Product pages benefit greatly from high-quality images. That being said, every brand going online is upgrading their images to better quality images. E-commerce brands can make their products stand out by skipping the usual images provided by the suppliers and manufacturers and instead, are turning towards customers.

Ex: Popular video streaming service Netflix utilizes UGC to promote fans’ posts about specific shows or movies on Instagram. UGC shows that other people are also getting excited about new shows and movies.

Instagram Netflix screenshot

This can be done if e-commerce brands do away with models, and start looking at their customers as models. Seeing real customers using and wearing products builds significant trust and generates interest in the product. Furthermore, it can also help deliver powerful messages during campaigns using the target audience as representatives for the brand.

Showcasing product benefits

Some brands have to come up with innovative ideas to use user-generated content. While brands selling tangible products such as fashion accessories, or home care products can easily benefit from using UGC easily, brands selling either a service or a software have to get creative.

When there are no tangible products that can be showcased, e-commerce brands can focus on the benefits to the customer and what they may experience using the service or product.

Example: Social media scheduling tool Buffer created #BufferCommunity to showcase photographs and personalities of its many users from all around the world. The aim for this campaign was to source UGC featuring exotic spaces to promote the freedom that Buffer provides.

Instagram Buffer community screenshot

Brands have to focus on how customers use their products and find ways to source UGC, and then insert that into various marketing campaigns - or reshare onto social media to boost engagement and brand awareness.

Including photos with product reviews

Reviews are the easiest UGC on the internet. E-commerce brands generate reviews without doing anything other than providing tremendous customer service and quality products.

To create a more lasting impact with reviews, e-commerce brands can opt for a review platform that enables users to add images as well as videos alongside their written reviews. E-commerce giants such as Amazon leverage this facility for their users.

Customers are more than happy to share their experiences, and that matters tremendously for brands. Many customers prefer to view the product reviews before choosing a particular product as it gives an authentic sense of how the product would appear on them.

The more customers share images alongside their reviews, the more value it brings to the e-commerce store.

Featured photo credit: Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

lady using a credit card to make a payment online

Transforming the Payment landscape with AI

Transforming the Payment landscape with AI

People have increasingly become comfortable using technologies such as AI and machine learning in their day-to-day lives. Various companies also have increased their use of AI and machine learning into their product offerings as well as their processes. With the computer processing technology advancing increasingly, companies, institutions and even governments are gathering massive amounts of data as more consumer interactions move towards digital. This type of technology is already transforming the payments landscape in the following aspects -

Improving Efficiency

AI and machine learning have the potential to revolutionize the way payments are processed by enhancing operational efficiency and decreasing costs involved. For instance, AI enabled chatbots are reducing the load for customer service representatives.

With machine learning being incorporated into payments, learning algorithms play an important in helping speed along authorization of transactions and monitoring.
Furthermore, AI helps reduce the processing time for payments. It also helps eliminate human error and save time for correcting those mistakes.

For a business, processing large amounts of data to generate financial reports to satisfy regulatory and compliance requirements would involve a team that would perform repetitive data processing tasks. Leveraging AI would involve training the models to do these tasks, and the model can ensure completing the tasks faster and more accurately than humans. These technologies can improve efficiency while gathering important user insights in real-time.

Machine learning has already proved to be an invaluable part of fraud detection, but there are many opportunities that lie in product sales, customer care, and retention. Machine learning can draw vast amounts of available data and utilize it to profile customers to guess their product needs while offering new opportunities for upselling.

This model can also help identify which customers that companies are at risk for losing as well as halt customer loss before it happens. Machine learning can help automate many customer service interactions. This model which uses deep insights, cognitive engines and natural language processing is already widely available and the usage will only grow with time.

Fraud Prevention

There are various methods for customers to make payments today. They are no longer limited to paying with cash or even cards. There are new payment methods on the rise such as card-not-present (CNP) transactions, but as it gets popular come new opportunities for fraud. AI and machine learning are at the forefront of not only detecting fraud but also preventing it before it happens.

These technologies already have the capability to uncover patterns and drive hidden insights and are working towards fine-tuning these insights. Companies are choosing to move away from a static model where the reliance is on supervised learning with input towards unsupervised learning wherein the deep belief neural network does not require a labeled training set, but continuously updates the model as new patterns emerge, allowing for a more robust and flexible fraud prevention detection tool.

As more commerce and payments move online, more data is accessible. This new robust algorithm uses machine learning to decrease the false positives and more agile detection of the actual frauds.


AI and machine learning have come a long way in the past decade. These technologies have already been adopted by many sectors and have transformed many aspects of traditional processes. Though exciting new technologies have been adopted by businesses to improve and enhance the payment process and customer experiences, the scope for future implementation is endless.

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The Role of Interactive Content on Product Detail Pages

The Role of Interactive Content on Product Detail Pages

Consumers are most impacted by the things that they can see, touch, feel and understand. E-commerce businesses often lose out on customers if they cannot provide the same effect that brick and mortar stores do with their products. This is where providing a rich consumer experience plays a crucial role that engages their sensibilities.

To make consumers feel that they understand the product and resonate with the brand, the product story plays an important role in enriching the customer experience with interactive content that not only provides information but inspires and engages with the customers.

Bridging the product discovery gap with a compelling product story


The product story is the process of enlightening the consumer about the product and assisting them with making informed purchase decisions. It consists of content such as lifestyle images, warranty, and guarantee information, demo videos, product specifications, customer reviews, and any other information that the customer may need to know about a particular product.

A complete product story helps bridge the product discovery gap - which happens when the information on the product page is inadequate and the customer still has queries and is unable to move ahead with the purchase.

To understand the product discovery gap, retailers must think of their products from the customers' perspective - what can be perceived with the product information and what sentiments are felt while browsing through the product page, etc.

This gap can be closed be enhancing hero images and other aspects with rich media content which is both informative and exciting. This further encourages users to interact and learn more about the products a retailer has to offer.

The difference between basic content and interactive content


Basic content consists of standard product information that is unengaging such as SKU data or price. The text is often formatted plainly and with limited images, there is no engagement and interaction with the customer. The customers only absorb information passively if they stay on the product page.

Interactive content engages the user because the information provided is based on the user feedback. Consumers are rewarded with engaging and informative experiences for clicking and exploring the page. This rich media content then educates the user as a salesperson and accelerates their purchase decision.

There are certain expectations about product pages that customers have that need to be met before they can make a purchase. Shoppers need to see three or more images while shopping online and 86% need to read at least three user reviews before making a purchasing decision.

User engagement matters

At present, the lack of engaging content is a weakness for brands and retailers. While they spend a lot of time and money into building advertising campaigns to promote their products and drive traffic to their product pages, they lose the sale due to the lack of a compelling product detail page. This is often the point where consumers look to competitor websites to find what they are looking for.

There is a struggle across various e-commerce websites to keep customers engaged on their sites in order to make a sale. As the internet has grown more dynamic, the standard for engaging with a customer has also increased. Retailers need every solution available to meet the challenges and stay relevant and ahead.

These solutions are supported by data. A behavioral research found that users depend on information taken from the most engaging content to guide them to other page content and while users do so, they tend to fixate efficiently only on the information that is relevant to the task at hand. This point further emphasizes the need to put the most engaging and informative content ahead and center and set the process for the customers to follow throughout the sales journey.

Today, with customers seeking more personalized and relevant information, retailers must deploy interactive content experience. This can be more informative, rewarding the customers seeking final details such as product specs before adding it to the bag.

Conclusion

Rich media content is a familiar experience for the consumers. Videos are increasingly replacing text in news outlets, and GIFs, animations are consumed more than static images. Furthermore, PDF documents and manuals are easily accessible on websites.

Different types of audiences adapt to different learning styles and varying needs. By having a deep understanding of the customers and reaching out to diverse audiences with engaging content that adapts to the different learning preferences, retailers will be able to have a wider reach and network.

Working with a global retail network requires unique contexts in order to sell to people all over the world. Not every customer may react to packaged food items in a similar manner. Product copy has only one voice, but rich media experiences converse in a universal language.

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Revolutionizing grocery retail with artificial intelligence

Revolutionizing grocery retail with artificial intelligence

While there is a lot of chatter around artificial intelligence and the potential it has to transform retail, it has the capability to impact the most fundamental shopping experiences: the grocery store. Most retailers are moving towards building a better grocery store experience, with the rise of subscription meal kits and competition from pure-play grocery delivery services. With the abundance of customer data and product information available, grocers today are in a special position to apply machine learning and AI in other areas of the business as well.

The grocery industry has a heavy reliance on the movement of perishable goods and with supermarkets struggling to plan, promote and sell goods in a short period of time, it is not efficient. Furthermore, there is a lot of food wastage that happens in this industry - while some of that waste happens in consumers’ homes, a good amount is also lost in the supply chain - anywhere between the farm and the store shelf. And with the various options for when, where and how to buy groceries, grocers compete on prices that are most likely to be profitable.

While grocers are faced with these challenges, they have a fairly good idea of their customer base, who they are and what they want to buy at what price point. With the data available, there is a lot of opportunities utilizing the data in the right manner. This is where AI comes in. Using machine learning capabilities and analytics, more grocers are leaning towards adopting this technology to strengthen the relationship with customers, as well as address some of the biggest challenges they are faced with today.

Leveraging the abundance of customer data

The grocery industry was one of the first industries to collect shopper buying data through programs such as loyalty programs and in-store promotional offers. These methods helped grocers gather information about their key shopper demographic as well as brand preferences. This information is already leveraged to provide discounts and special promotions, the new technology can help enhance the relationship between the grocer and shopper even further.

AI helps grocers to provide a deeper understanding of context and intent by answering the questions behind customers' shopping decisions. It also enables the grocers to parse the customer data and automate the ability to offer targeted promotions to each customer.

Enhanced inventory management

AI can change the entire way of managing inventory. AI can help stock shelves with the right mix of products and ensure that the supply chain is aligned to avoid out of stock products using point-of-sale information and inventory visibility.

Machine learning can build on grocers' rich customer data and combine that with contextual data such as weather, climate, holidays and events - providing a more accurate forecast compared to traditional methods.

Reducing waste

With better inventory management and data analytics, AI can provide better visibility on produce and perishables. Automation can help stores dynamically re-adjust orders based on demand or automate product promotions for the items that are not performing well or selling fast, and helping stores to protect margins, and reducing the amount of food that goes into landfills.

As AI and machine learning advances, grocers should begin to position their systems for a seamless transition towards a highly automated future.


AI must integrate into the commerce platforms and connect across systems to maximize its effectiveness throughout the business. While AI is a valuable tool for customer service, the impact of it will come through its ability to reward loyalty, understand consumer behavior, ensure reduced wastage and increase revenue for the retailers.

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The growing importance of customer loyalty programs in grocery retail

The growing importance of loyalty programs in grocery retail

Grocery loyalty programs have been around for years, but with the changing landscape as well as customer shopping behavior, it is now more important than ever. The goal for loyalty programs is to be relevant and timely to shoppers and their preferences and to create a continuous dialogue between the customer and the brand or retailer.

The benefit retailers get utilizing loyalty programs is the access to customer data, shopping patterns and behavior with direct engagement with the shopper, elevating the communication and optimizing the offers to meet their needs. This ultimately leads to help drive sales for the retailers.

The current scenario

Customer loyalty programs build large customer databases and retailers can leverage this information to create more personalized and targeted promotions tailor-made for every customer. A successful loyalty program is a well-crafted blend of rewards and recognition features that change shopper behaviors. However, grocery loyalty programs are challenged not only by the economics of the industry but also the limited opportunities to differentiate the customer experiences for each customer.

However, compared to other industries, the grocery retail industry today still does not have a completely organized, leveraged and utilized customer data to deliver the optimum level of personalization and relevance to the customer, unlike in industries such as travel or banking.

Limited impact on shoppers

The grocery retail industry operates at small margins, which limit the rewards grocers can offer to the program members. Furthermore, compared to other retail loyalty programs, grocers depend on subsidizing their programs with discounts provided by the CPG manufacturers they are partnered with. Most loyalty programs have followed suit and use the same strategy, enabling shoppers to spread their loyalty across different brands.

Digital coupons - a primary feature of most grocery loyalty programs are offered by most of the retailers in an equal capacity. Another perk is the member pricing feature is an attractive way to entice shoppers into joining the program, but this feature too is replicated across all of the programs, limiting the impact these programs can create.

One feature of the grocery program that does create an opportunity cost and loyalty is reward points. Some shoppers even consolidate their shopping to a single brand in order to maximize the points earned and get a chance to get more discounts with every purchase. While most grocery programs prefer CPG subsidies, retailers should not limit the programs only to create more loyal customers. With e-commerce retail giants like Walmart and Amazon leaving no stones unturned to engage with shoppers, grocers need to double up on creating successful customer loyalty.

Looking ahead


Grocery retailers are facing several options today, they must decide among differing formats, both online and in-store, and seek the best combination of program features available to them.

A growing demographic - Millennials, in particular, seek immediate gratification, support, rewards, and recognition. Moreover, they do not invest a lot of time while planning grocery lists as they center their grocery visits around recipes more than replenishing a set stock. They are also far less price-sensitive in their menu planning as compared to previous generations. Additionally, as shoppers are increasingly opting for healthier lifestyles, produce as well as non-processed foods have become important aspects for grocers to drive retention and loyalty.

With the rising popularity of Walmart and Amazon among shoppers, grocers must foresee the future from both physical stores as well as digital capabilities. A well-managed loyalty program uses analytics and insights to enhance customer experience and elevate shopper journeys. Another major trend is the development of artificial intelligence. Leveraging AI, grocers can use unused retailer data and create additional value from it and tailor more relevant communication and improved personalized pricing and promotions.

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customer experience in a grocery store

Customer experience- Why it matters most for grocery retailers

Customer experience- Why it matters most for grocery retailers

With the rapid advancements in technology and the shifting shopping behavior of consumers, grocery retailers are now faced with the challenging task of competing for customer loyalty. Every retailer wants shoppers to consistently make purchases from their business rather than their competitors. Many retailers often sell the same products, so the shopper can purchase from almost any retailer without having any preference to buy from a specific retailer.

For instance, while needing to buy Purina Friskies Wet Cat food, the shopper has several retailers to choose from, from Kroger to Target to Walmart to even Amazon. The aspect to keep in mind is that shoppers are often loyal to the overall shopping experience provided by retailers, and not to the products it sells.

The term 'customer experience' is used synonymously for providing a positive, seamless and wholesome shopping experience. This includes the integration of digital into the physical sphere where retailers can interact with customers across every touch point.

Here are 3 ways in which retailers can enhance the customer experience and keep customers coming back to their store for more:

In-Store efficiencies

For all the benefits that online shopping has to offer, the downside is the inability to touch and feel the product before making a purchase. In an effort to bring the convenience and efficiency of online to the brick and mortar, retailers are changing the design and the business model with the ultimate goal - to make the in-store experience as smooth and easy to navigate as possible.

Incorporating technology in the brick and mortar stores is becoming imperative as shoppers find that innovations such as auto-checkout, online ordering, mobile app offers, etc make their shopping experience easier and quicker.

In an effort to lure shoppers back into physical stores, some retailers are even altering the design of the physical store and creating smaller format stores, adjusting store displays to prioritize convenience, and incorporating new technologies. Grocery chains like Tesco and Food Lion are undergoing major store redesigns to compete with giants like Amazon and Whole Foods.

Some chains are even including experiences such as wall climbing activities and special events and even dining into their physical stores to encourage more in-store engagement with shoppers.

Personalization

Personalization improves the customer experience making it easier for shoppers to locate products they want easier and faster. This also makes shoppers feel like the retailer understands them and who they are. In the online format, personalization will involve product recommendation based on past purchases or curated homepages. In the store, this would involve features like digital fitting rooms, product customization based on saved items or past purchases.

Shoppers want personalized experiences, and retailers are trying to deliver this expectation. Successful personalization comes down to customer data to be able to provide a memorable tailored experience. Retailers like Home Depot and Walmart are heavily investing in personalization.

Retailer loyalty programs

Once customers are delighted with the shopping experience, loyalty programs are one method to keep them coming back. These programs track and incentivize purchasing behavior and engagement. The more customers shop and spend, the more they are likely to receive in return.

It is much easier and profitable to engage and convert existing customers rather than new ones, so driving loyalty becomes more important. Loyalty programs when done right, can enhance the customer shopping experience tremendously. Retailers must create a program that both incentivizes and connects with customers.

To build a strong customer base, customer experience plays a very pivotal role. Customer loyalty programs along with personalization are just a few methods in which retailers can improve the shopping experience for customers.

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