Next-Generation Considerations

Progressive Grocer|November 2019

Next-Generation Considerations
Retailers need to focus on data visibility, tech-savvy labor and new store configurations to accommodate their future grocery shoppers.
Jenny Mctaggart

The art of grocery shopping is in the midst of an evolution, and retailers that recognize that they must update their supply chains accordingly will help ensure a brighter future.

While there are a number of challenges to consider, supply chain experts cite three specific areas that retailers can home in on now to make way for tomorrow: data visibility, as it relates to both retailers and consumers; the need for a new kind of labor force; and revamped store layouts that offer more inspiration while also allowing for more space to fulfill online orders.

“The challenge for retailers today is to recognize that the people who are in their 20s now grocery shopping are more different than ever before, and we need to adapt to that,” says Mike Griswold, research VP for the consumer value chain team at Gartner Inc., a global research and advisory firm based in Stamford, Conn. “If you rewind the clock 30 years ago, there was no online, and kids would go into the store with their parents. That’s how they learned to shop. Fast-forward to today, and the demographic group that’s growing up now, in many instances, has never been in a supermarket.”

Moving forward, some shoppers will prefer to order groceries online, while others will continue to seek out a store experience – so grocers are in a place where they must consider how to provide both options, Griswold notes. Supply chains must be nimble and accurate, which is quite different from how people have traditionally thought of the grocery business.

Visibility and the Importance of Accurate Data

To ensure a more accurate supply chain that can get the right product to the right place at the right time, data visibility will be paramount for the industry. Track-and-trace technology such as blockchain continues to gain attention for all of its potential to provide better visibility, but first, retailers and suppliers must prioritize having clean, accurate data, according to Angela Fernandez, VP of community engagement for GS1 US, based in Ewing, N.J.

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November 2019