The entrepreneurial spirit of the food retail industry is embodied in the role of the store manager. Arguably, no other industry position is so in tune with the community, so motivated by the personality and determination of an individual or so resilient in the face of competition.
A friend observed recently that he feels like his 45 rpm life is being played on the 78 rpm setting. Now, I know that only those of you as old as I am will get his reference, but his observation put into words what many if not most of us feel.
Imagine visiting a food retail corporate headquarters and asking the chief merchant officer who heads up millennial insights rather than the customary question of who is in charge of a particular grocery category.
Today, there seems to be an app for nearly everything
you could ever want. Designed to make life easier,
there are even apps for things you didn't know you needed like daily horoscopes. According to Nielsen, the average consumer uses about 27 apps per month.
The Retail Experience of the Future exhibit at FMI Connect in Chicago featured research from PwC's report "Front of the Line; How Grocers Can Get Ahead for the Future". These are the topline learnings:
Retailers face a number of food safety challenges: supply chains are becoming more and more complex; regulatory requirements are increasing; consumer preferences are changing; prepared foods offered at retail are expanding; and our workforce is changing.
If — in cartoon fashion — we could read the thought bubbles above the head of each food shopper capturing their internal dialogue as they walk the supermarket aisles, we would know that their minds are a whirlwind of activity.
Every retailer knows that if a product is not there, the consumer can't buy it, which makes reducing out-of-stocks and improving on-shelf availability a business imperative for retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.
Amazon's announcement of a new pilot program that offers customers a boundary-less experience for shopping and checkout is justly being positioned as a game-changer for the food retail industry and greater retail supply chain.