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Study: Balancing Next And Older Generations Of Shoppers May Prove Challenging For Grocers

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Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:43 am

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has introduced its survey analysis of short- and long-term financial strategies food retailers are employing in the current economic environment. FMI’s Financial and Strategic Initiatives in Food Retailing Study 2016, prepared by 210Analytics, and made financially possible by BMO Harris Bank, explores 2015 operating results among 35 food retailing companies and offers predictions as to what will drive their success over the next two years—from sales and traffic and loyalty and trust.

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, “Supermarkets have enjoyed an extended period of maturity. But, our industry has never been as challenged as we are now—on numerous fronts. Our survey analysis identifies the new directions our grocery and wholesaler members are considering; in particular, technology has changed every aspect of operations from ordering, stocking and storing food to the way customers pay for it.”

The study indicated that retailers are ready to embrace a new shopper base, but recognized they might not be completely prepared to address the growing number of Millennial shoppers in addition to the changing needs of the Boomer generation. Compared to a rating of five, with five representing “very prepared,” companies rated their preparedness at nearly a three rating.

As they explore new interactions, grocers remain focused on loyal customers. The majority of respondents said relationships with their customers—through continued trust in food and product safety and data security and privacy—were extremely important. Still, consumer trust and retailer financial investments are not necessarily analogous. Fifty-nine percent of food retailers are reportedly making the biggest financial investments in the areas of omni-channel strategy and technology.

“This exploration in new channels and ways of reaching customers was second to the investment in the expansion of top-line growth, the No. 1 identified area driving business success in 2016-2017,” Sarasin said. “Sixty-five percent of survey respondents also indicated that they offer online ordering opportunities for their customers, but grocers differed in their marketing and positioning tactics. While e-commerce did not rank high as an investment area, it is an aspirational area for growth.”

Survey respondents noted that 2015 was flat in terms of same-store sales growth, but retailers were cautiously optimistic about gross margins and improving inventory turns and out of stocks. As indicated in the study, the next two years suggest opportunities for investments in shopper-centric alignment.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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