Piggly Wiggly Carolina Joins Spire’s Retailer Network
Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. (PWCC) is joining Spire LLC’s growing network of grocery retailers. With nearly 100 stores in South Carolina and coastal Georgia, Piggly Wiggly brings the size of the Spire network to 1,800 stores, 30 million loyalty card households and $30 billion in retail sales. Spire is an industry leader in quantitative shopper intelligence providing advanced analytics, loyalty card data access and targeted marketing program development and execution to retailers and manufacturers.
“The Piggly Wiggly leadership team was very impressed with Spire’s capabilities and track record in helping grocers better understand the shopper,” said Julian Tisdale, director of business intelligence for PWCC. “Spire will help us scrutinize our uniquely diverse customer base and leverage customer-centric insights that provide the core of our strategy for sales growth.”
Spire and Piggly Wiggly will collaborate in numerous ways to analyze shopper behavior and position the shopper at the center of marketing and merchandising decisions. Piggly Wiggly will take advantage of Spire’s proprietary engagement and essence segmentation as well as Spire’s analytical and targeting capabilities for key initiatives at the grocer.
“Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. takes pride in fostering creative ideas that improve the shopping experience for our customers,” said John Padgett, VP of marketing for PWCC. “Emerging programs include a recently developed, perpetual inventory management system, breaking ground on construction of our second Newton Farms concept store, and expanding our exceptional Click’n Shop online ordering service that provides a much-needed convenience for busy customers. We are eager to collaborate with Spire to build on our tradition of innovation for customer benefit.”
“We are very excited to welcome Piggly Wiggly to the Spire family of retailers,” added Ron Berry, SVP of retail services at Spire. “We look forward to helping the Piggly Wiggly team use customer centric insights as part of their core strategy.”
Founded as a local supermarket in 1947, Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. has grown to be one of the largest retail companies in South Carolina. It has more than 3,000 employee-owners.
CPG Cos., Retailers Shift Focus To New Rules Of Consumer Engagement
Retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies today are dealing with new rules of consumer engagement as they seize opportunities from advanced technology and the digitally connected consumer, according to the 2013 Financial Performance Report by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and PwC U.S., titled “Growth Strategies: Unlocking the Power of the Consumer.” Despite the overall slowing of net sales growth rates in 2012, the report notes that food, beverage and household products companies experienced positive net sales growth of 7.0 percent, 5.5 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.
According to the report, in the age of the digital consumer, leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and retailers benefit from responding to the speed of the connected consumer and balancing operational quality with innovation accordingly. Top-performing companies see success by identifying their consumers, engaging with them and focusing on innovation that directly reach their customers. The report explores how numerous digital channels, accelerated mobile adoption and direct-to-consumer approach are rewriting the rules of retailing and CPG manufacturing. The report also examines how companies can seize new opportunities by creating lasting brand value.
“This report shows that in the midst of a challenging economy, the food, beverage and consumer products industry continues to show great resiliency,” says Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. “By providing consumers with innovative products and convenient, cutting-edge shopping experiences, CPG companies are well positioned to enhance consumer loyalty and profitability.”
“CPG companies that engage with consumers directly through digital channels and build out their direct-to-consumer processes will have the best advantage for creating new growth,” says Steven Barr, PwC’s U.S. leader for the retail and consumer industry. “Fifty-two percent of U.S. consumers are already buying directly online from brands they trust, proving that CPG companies now have far greater opportunities to walk alongside their shoppers in real time while driving sales of existing and new products.”
In 2013, more than 40 percent of CPG companies expect to sell products directly to consumers, up from 24 percent in 2012. According to the report, direct-to-consumer is a potent vehicle for testing new products and reaching out to new consumers faster and more effectively than ever before, making the retail store aisle no longer the last mile in the purchase journey. Flexibility will be essential, as companies also will need to manage a new set of risks and security concerns.
“Consumers today share much more readily with each other and with the companies than in the past,” says Bert Alfonso, president of international for The Hershey Co. “Their input tends to be about your product’s characteristics and about what they like and don’t like. We see it in North America, China, Brazil and in other markets that have a high penetration of both mobile and Internet usage. And that’s a rich body of information for companies, which is much more spontaneous and actionable than what you would have had in the past.”
“Both the U.S. and global economies are marginally stronger than they were last year, and the continued slow recovery has led to correspondingly modest growth for the CPG industry,” adds Lisa Feigen Dugal, PwC’s North American advisory leader for the retail and consumer industry. “To drive profitability, providing consumers with the core product may not be enough. Today’s consumers want solutions, they want experiences and value. CPG’s and retailers can address this emergence through social media, innovation and direct-to-consumer channels, which will help them understand the wants, needs and values of their consumers.”
Now in its 17th year, the GMA-PwC Financial Performance Report includes analyses based on public information from 144 companies in the food, beverage and consumer products sectors as well as 69 retailers.
Among the key findings of the report:
• Total retail sales reached $1.1 trillion in 2012: $568 billion at grocery stores and $530 billion at food service and drinking establishments;
• While net sales had been slowly going up since the recession, both top- and bottom-performing CPG companies experienced a slowdown in net sales growth in 2012;
• Bottom performers are starting to hold onto their cash, which means they could be ready to start making more investments in research and development (R&D) and marketing to launch new products;
• Many companies are embracing the need for product innovation as well as understanding consumer and market needs as part of their R&D activities;
• One of the key issues faced by food manufacturers during 2012 was the continued rise of commodity prices as there is a growing gap between prices companies pay for raw materials and the prices they can charge for finished goods; and
• The food sector benefited from higher sales per employee while remaining flat on inventory turnover and cash conversion cycle, while the beverage sector also posted a strong performance, with return on sales continuing a steady upward pace. The household products sector experienced better results in 2012, with also a greater increase on return on sales.
The report further delves into how companies can gain greater understanding of their customers, as it highlights best practices for developing loyalists, determining appropriate social media channels that align with business goals, along with successfully identifying target segments within their organization. The report includes recommendations on how companies can improve existing internal organizational design, talent management and how to best utilize partnerships to build quality relationships with consumers.
“Growth Strategies: Unlocking the Power of the Consumer” will be presented via webcast by PwC and GMA at 1 p.m. (ET) Thursday.
Yummy.com Expands Same-Day Online Delivery As It Looks To Go National
Yummy.com Neighborhood Market, a leading multi-channel grocery retailer that has offered same-day delivery to Los Angeles-area residents and businesses since 2002, plans to expand nationally after adding a fourth location in Los Angeles at the end of May.
“Due to the proven demand for on-demand same-day fulfillment in our current trade areas, we opened our fourth fulfillment center in Los Angeles and are looking for a partner to expand nationally,” said Barnaby Montgomery, co-founder and CEO of Yummy.com. “Consumers want their retail purchases immediately; that’s what they expect when they go to the store, and that’s what they want when ordering online. We’re in a unique position to offer large retailers a successful high-volume business model with low operating costs.”
As a fully-integrated multi-channel grocery retailer (online combined with storefront), Yummy.com operates a proprietary system that simultaneously integrates multi-channel revenue streams, manages inventory and provides accurate on-demand fulfillment at high volume. Yummy.com’s model, the company says, enables it to fulfill orders that come in over the course of the day randomly, which requires less staff and results in lower operating costs. Yummy.com’s next-generation online retail model can be integrated into an existing operation, allowing a company to acquire new customers and defend against warehouse-based online retailers, the company says. To date, Yummy.com says it has profitably fulfilled nearly two million same-day orders using its proprietary software, and has five to 10 times the demand for its service over other big-box grocery delivery services due to its flexible model and customer-centric 30-minute delivery promise.
Positioned as a neighborhood market, Yummy.com features a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, packaged, gourmet and organic groceries, and offers a promise of delivery in about 30 minutes, giving local customers what they want, when they want it. Each Yummy.com location includes a storefront featuring thousands of grocery items, including fresh produce, fresh meat, packaged groceries, pet supplies, over-the-counter medications, cleaning products and household necessities. With the addition of the Silver Lake store, Yummy.com fulfills approximately 20,000 same-day orders each month from four locations, including Hollywood (delivery only), Santa Monica (storefront and delivery), and Playa Vista (storefront and delivery).
With nearly 30 years of combined experience in the online retail, grocery and same-day fulfillment categories, Yummy.com says its executives have a proven track record developing online grocery and fulfillment companies, including Yummy.com, HomeGrocer.com and Pink Dot. CEO Montgomery and COO Arthur Zonneveld founded Yummy.com in 2002 with a vision to bring the convenience of same-day delivery to the consumer grocery experience. Central to this vision, they say, was the understanding that a successful fulfillment system must reliably fulfill orders “on-demand” rather than at the retailer’s convenience.
Mettler Toledo’s 2013 Customer Council To Be Held In August
Mettler Toledo will host its 3rd Annual Customer Council in St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 21-22. This event is an opportunity for collaboration among leading grocery retailers, industry expert speakers and innovative solution providers to share ideas and best practices through discussion and hands-on learning.
Suppliers are facing numerous challenges in today’s marketplace, according to Mettler Toledo. For example, it can be difficult to provide a personalized customer experience in an increasingly digital and fragmented world. Self-service technology is often perceived as a key strategic direction, and many grocery retailers are implementing these systems successfully. Management of labor turnover and fresh item shrink, and food safety and traceability are other areas of consideration affecting store operations in the future. These issues will be explored in an open setting during the Customer Council event, Mettler Toledo says.
Additional topics for the 2013 Customer Council include trends in self-service technology, connecting to the shopper in the new millennium, technology-enabled operational excellence as well as food safety and traceability.
‘Supermarket Superstar’ Premieres July 22 On Lifetime
“Supermarket Superstar,” Lifetime’s all-new competition series that will give everyday Americans the chance to prove they have the next great product consumers will love, will premiere at 10 p.m. (ET) July 22 on Lifetime.
Hosted by Stacy Keibler, Supermarket Superstar gives undiscovered food entrepreneurs their chance to shine among the big brands in the highly competitive food industry. This is the first food competition show that provides a platform for individuals that can change the way millions of Americans shop and eat, a news release says.
Each one-hour episode of Supermarket Superstar follows three home chefs as they pitch their product concepts to titans of the food world for the opportunity to have their creation launched nationally in a major grocery chain. Chef, vintner, TV host and specialty foods pioneer Michael Chiarello, cookie mogul Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies and branding expert and food product visionary Chris Cornyn serve as the series’ mentors to share their expertise with the contestants as they prepare their products for mass production. With the help of Chiarello and research and development chef Andrew Hunter, the hopefuls must refine and perfect their recipes to impress targeted focus groups of real-life consumers to make it to the checkout line.
NGA, Brick Meets Click Release Digital Check-Up For Grocery
The National Grocers Association (NGA) and Brick Meets Click (BMC) on Wednesday announced the publication of the “NGA/Brick Meets Click Digital Check-Up.” The paper, which analyzes data from an online survey of more than 22,000 grocery customers, includes data on digital shopper readiness and retailer engagement. The results show that grocery shoppers are not just ready to connect online with food retailers; a lot of them are already doing it.
“The thing that surprised me was that 13 percent of the shoppers surveyed had bought some grocery products online in the last 30 days” said Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click. “That tells you that while sales are still small, there’s significant customer interest in online grocery shopping.”
The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2013 and included shoppers from seven different banners on the East and West coasts and the Midwest. Key takeaways include information on consumer texting, smartphone use, online shopping, grocer engagement and e-marketing. It is the first element of an NGA/Brick Meets Click partnership that will provide NGA members with insight to help them compete successfully in what is becoming a multi-channel grocery business.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Brick Meets Click,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “By pairing their research expertise with our channel of independent grocers, we are increasingly able to bring value to our membership and keep them ahead of the game on shopper insights and engagement.”
Survey: Consumers Shop C-Stores As Regularly As Supermarkets
In an effort to understand how the consumer shops in convenience stores, a recent survey of 1,000 men and women across the U.S. was conducted by Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) for Imprint Plus, a leading manufacturer of customized, re-usable, magnetic name badge and signage systems.
When asked how often consumers shop in a convenience store, 59 percent of the respondents reported more than once a week, with that number increasing to more than 70 percent among 18- to 44-year-olds. Surprisingly 25 percent of the consumers surveyed reported that they shop in a convenience store more or as frequently as they shop at the supermarket or grocery store.
“Virtually every consumer today shops at a convenience store, with only 6 percent of the respondents stating that they never shop there,” said Marla Kott, Imprint Plus CEO. “Most of the convenience store shoppers are married (48 percent), employed (63 percent) with the majority (80 percent) living in metro regions of the country. Given these numbers every national consumer products manufacturer, such as Coke, Pepsi, Hershey’s, Kraft, Frito-Lay, Nabisco, Welch’s, must be targeting these consumers, so excellent customer service can make a difference.”
Among the top purchases at convenience stores are drinks such as soda, bottled water or juice (29 percent); or snacks and candy (21 percent). Other purchases included gas (12 percent); milk or dairy products (11 percent); and cigarettes (10 percent). One third of all respondents (33 percent) said that it was important for a convenience store to carry ethnic branded products, such as Indian, Chinese or Spanish foods. The number rose to 41 percent among 18- to 34-year-olds. In addition, 42 percent of consumers think it is important for employees to be fluent in a language other than English, reflecting on the global shopping experience. This number jumps to 51 percent among 18- to 34-year-olds.
When shopping in a convenience store, 35 percent reported that it is important to know a person by name when doing business. The percentage increases to 39 percent among those consumers in the 35- to 44-year-old age demographic.
In previous Imprint Plus consumer surveys, 76 percent said that they had more trust in a business and considered the company more professional when their employees wore name badges. The percentages were higher overall among the 18- to 34-year-old demographic.
“Customers place a higher level of trust in businesses that visibly brand and distinguish their staff. Identifying the employee with a professional name badge that promotes accountability and a commitment to customer relations, can enhance the shopping experience,” said Kott. “Rather than sticking on a plain paper label or pinning on a plastic tag, people are choosing sleek, impressive-looking metallic name badges that showcase the wearer professionally, without falling off or damaging clothing.”
‘What Women Want’ Survey Reveals Group Boasts $7 Trillion Purchasing Power
American women are striving to have it all, and they’re turning to flexible workplaces, personal connections, technology-free zones, discounts and coupons to help them find much sought-after balance in family, finances and career. According to a survey released this week by Ginger Consulting, a branding and custom research firm based in Minneapolis, women surveyed said they strive to have it all, but realize they can’t have it all at once. A majority are looking to employer flexibility and part-time work schedules to get there.
Ginger’s fifth annual “What Women Want” survey gathered insights from a nationally representative sample of U.S. women, age 21-60. The survey findings highlight the best way to reach and sell to women, the world’s mega niche that is responsible for or influences $7 trillion in annual consumer and business purchases in the U.S. This powerful segment influences more than 85 percent of all products and services purchased, including 60 percent of automobile and 40 percent of stock purchases.
“Warren Buffett said he is ‘bullish on women’ because they are the key to our country’s future prosperity. He’s right,” said Mary Van Note, principal at Ginger Consulting. “Women hold tremendous power as the household CEO. With this year’s survey, women are boldly telling those in their lives what they need to be happy, to shop at particular stores, to go green and to connect. Those who want to reach women will listen.”
What women want financially
Women have accepted living on a tighter budget as the status quo. They are looking to pay down debt (40 percent) and are on the hunt for value in every purchase they make (36 percent).
“It’s less about experiencing the thrill that comes from extreme couponing,” said Beth Perro-Jarvis, principal at Ginger Consulting. “Instead women have been trained by retailers never to buy at full price. Retailers need to learn from JCPenney’s mistake and give her a discount, a coupon, a value.”
Budgets also present a barrier for women wanting to adopt a green, organic lifestyle. Fifty-four percent report the high cost of going green is keeping them from doing so.
How women want to connect
Women are looking to bring personal, meaningful connections back into their lives. This means picking up the phone and having real conversations (43 percent). Skip Skyping (4 percent), voicemail messages (3 percent) or writing actual letters and cards (3 percent)—she just wants to talk. Women certainly rely on technology, but some believe it is becoming too pervasive (30 percent). They are adding tech-free moments back into their lives, especially at mealtime (47 percent).
When women use social media, it is to connect over personal milestones. Sharing life’s accomplishments and good news (79 percent positive) and photos of family and pets (77 percent positive) on social channels received a thumb’s up. Women are not interested in receiving invites to play social media games (74 percent negative) or check-ins at a store or restaurant (71 percent negative).
What women want in life
When striving to have it all, women aren’t looking for pampering or extravagance. Instead, they are simply trying to find balance and happiness in their personal lives and at work.
• If women had a 25th hour in their day, it wouldn’t be spent on sex (6 percent), friends (2 percent) or even the kids (6 percent). Instead, they are looking for more sleep (24 percent), more time for fitness (14 percent) and time with their significant others (12 percent).
• Women covet the idea of a celebrity lifestyle, but not the pampering of spa days (11 percent), designer wardrobes (16 percent) or perfect hair (15 percent). Instead, they want a great home (48 percent), frequent vacations (46 percent) and personal chefs and nutritionists (28 percent).
“Men, take note. Simple things, like planning a vacation for the woman in your life or taking her out for a delicious meal can make a big difference in her overall satisfaction,” said Perro-Jarvis. “We also asked women which of their significant other’s possessions they most want to toss. It came out loud and clear—if you really want to make her day, get rid of your piles of clutter (52 percent). Clean it up, and she just might let you keep that smelly sports gear (only 6 percent) or even your college sweatshirt (only 4 percent).”
• Listen up employers. Women strive to have it all (28 percent) and are looking to you for the flexibility to achieve it (21 percent).
“Recently, high-profile national employers have reduced work-from-home and other flexible work options. But women want you to know—offering flexible schedules, job sharing or part-time positions can be your competitive advantage in hiring the best women in the workforce,” said Van Note.