44 episodes

The Digital Grocer is a show dedicated to discussing digital commerce issues, insights, and tips for grocery retailers hosted by Sylvain Perrier.

Digital Grocer Podcas‪t‬ Mercatus Technologies

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 8 Ratings

The Digital Grocer is a show dedicated to discussing digital commerce issues, insights, and tips for grocery retailers hosted by Sylvain Perrier.

    David Bishop on grocery retail strategy and execution that grows shopper loyalty

    David Bishop on grocery retail strategy and execution that grows shopper loyalty

    Sylvain and Mark kick off this show with a chat about hot industry news: Marc Lore is leaving Walmart and Instacart is hiring a veteran from Goldman Sachs as CFO. 

    The duo then welcomes back to the show David Bishop, Partner, Brick Meets Clicks, who’s here today to share key results from his firm’s latest survey: State of the US eGrocery Market, November 2020. David points out that:

    “customer satisfaction is a leading indicator for repeat purchases. And it also tells us a lot of other things around the fulfillment methods and areas of opportunity that the retailers can really explore to continue to grow the business in a more sustainable way.”

    In this episode, David shares his technique of “interrogating insights” to reveal the truth behind the stats: 

    “the real question is, do we believe the forecast going forward? How much confidence do we have in that? And that comes only from really interrogating insights. …you really have to start by asking the right questions and then understanding what those insights mean.” 

    The first slide to be interrogated looks at online shopping rates, which in David’s hands offer up important insights around acquisition and growth moving forward. Among them:

    “We need to keep in mind, it's going to be harder to steal away customers from other retailers. And the simple reason is the other retailers are going through a very similar process where their customers are maturing. We now have the bulk of customers who are actively shopping online with grocers past their fourth order. And at that point, their likelihood to repeat is near certainty. It's 95%. The number of people who are considered first time orders … it's close to 15%. It used to be around 25% a year ago. And that's really key for driving top line growth because a lot of the growth accrues from onboarding that first time customer and bringing them to the more established fourth or more order. So it's an orientation where there's this kind of subtle shift from a thematic standpoint, from growing via marketing on the internet to really focusing on merchandising with your existing customer.” 

    Sylvain asks David what are the key things that retailers need to recognize in today’s online consumer? David’s response: “the expectations that customers have at your stores are being influenced by [their] experiences at others.” 

    The next graph compares customer experience scores for ship-to-home, delivery and pickup. David notes that while the “perfect order” rating for delivery was nearly equal to ship-to-home, pickup lagged significantly. 

    Why? To get to the bottom of this, David then deconstructs the third graph, Customer Satisfaction scores. He analyzes two friction points that customers encounter more with pickup than delivery: “Selected preferred time slot” and “received order in a timely manner.”

    Combining a customer-centric viewpoint with his insider’s knowledge of the retail grocery business, David unlocks insights around the strategies and executions grocers can use to increase CuSat ratings and grow customer loyalty: Investing in pick productivities and proactive geolocation and communication tools to reduce friction on the customer.

    “this is a retention tool. This is a way to maintain the satisfaction, especially if you realize that in some malls, someone's stopping at the Target, doing their drive up, and then driving right down to your store and having a terrible, long experience that's five, six, seven minutes long. If that happens, people aren't going to be as forgiving, going forward.”

    The real magic lies in the way David dissects the stats, revealing strategic insights that can help you improve your pickup program and grow shopper loyalty. Check it out by tuning into the the episode.

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    • 44 min
    How delivery drivers fuel online grocery

    How delivery drivers fuel online grocery

    This week, Delivery Drivers Inc (DDI) CEO Aaron Hageman joins us on The Digital Grocer podcast. As the pandemic sparks continued growth in the grocery delivery industry, Aaron shares how grocers can quickly and easily scale their own delivery service and how DDI can help.

    The need for contactless grocery services has caused a growing demand for delivery. As retailers handle record-high order volumes, many have relied on third-party providers like Instacart to scale up quickly. And even grocery giants like Albertsons have made the decision to replace their drivers with gig economy workers through these third-party apps.

    So with a rapidly growing gig economy in the delivery industry, Aaron Hageman joins us to share how retailers can own their delivery experience and benefit from a provider who can quickly scale a quality fleet of delivery drivers. 

    DDI helps grocers achieve this through:
    Strategic Planning: looking at data, analytics, resourcing and predicting market trends.
    Technology: automation, speed an accuracy
    And acquisition Tactics: 

    “It's not as simple as running an ad on Craigslist, or Indeed, or these types of things. So it's a multi-pronged approach, one driven by a lot of things we might associate typically with marketing campaigns, SEO, search rates, and pay-per-click campaigns, and going to social media for driver recruiting, the same way we may take some of our businesses to social media to buy customers.”

    When it comes to ensuring delivery drivers are upholding grocers’ brand experiences, Aaron emphasizes the importance is not in drivers wearing branded uniforms, but instead that drivers are upholding how grocers communicate with shoppers and that the quality of experience is maintained.

    Tune in to the full podcast to learn more about how Delivery Drivers Inc helps grocers scale up an owned delivery experience and what key questions retailers are asking.

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    • 23 min
    Supermarket Trends for 2021

    Supermarket Trends for 2021

    Supermarket Trends for 2021. What supermarket trends can we expect to see in 2021? Sylvain shares more insights on his top 10 predictions for the coming year and how grocers can plan for success.

    This year has been like no other, and research from Incisiv and Brick Meets Click have demonstrated just that. As we’ve seen with our retail clients on the Mercatus platform, order volume hit new record highs at Thanksgiving. And it’s already breaking records again leading up to Christmas. One thing is for sure in 2021: grocery eCommerce isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

    Sylvain notes, “We're seeing customers that historically have not bought online, buying online, not only once, not just for the sake of convenience, but for the sake of safety and that's just going to continue.”

    How can regional grocers harness their new online traffic, converting new and existing shoppers into long-term customers?
    Recognize Amazon and Walmart as real competitors for market share
    Harness transaction data to strategize next steps
    Commit to an action plan that can be truly executed.
    And most importantly, differentiate your brand

    As Mark notes, there needs to be a focus on customer experience. “Not a lot of regional grocers have $300 million to spend on a fully robotic fulfillment center. But what they can do is look at their operations and understand what it would take to deliver the best customer experience possible. And differentiate yourself on that experience.”

    We dive into the top supermarket trends for 2021 and Sylvain shares more insights on each, commenting on another trend not mentioned on the list: voice commerce. Discover why we don’t predict this medium will take off in 2021, by tuning in to the full podcast.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 44 min
    The Supermarket Industry - Costs of convenience

    The Supermarket Industry - Costs of convenience

    The supermarket industry has undergone massive change in 2020. Retailers are focused on convenience, as shoppers demand contactless grocery services like curbside pickup and home delivery. But what are the costs of this convenience? Benjamin Lorr, author of The Secret Life of Groceries, joins The Digital Grocer podcast to share his insights from research in the field.

    Sylvain and Mark kick off the episode by covering the latest news in grocery. Canadian retailer Metro has announced a new investment of $15M to build out dark stores. Loblaws will be testing autonomous vehicles in partnership with Gatik. Meanwhile, Kroger is building their 10th CFC with Ocado, furthering their investment in efficient fulfillment to improve eCommerce profitability.

    As we consider the massive investments made in eCommerce and offering essential online shopping services in 2020, Benjamin critiques the core driver of eCommerce: convenience.

    “I think that anyone who looks at the grocery industry for even half a moment sees how much energy is going into making things convenient and efficient...A lot of the most negative consequences that I came around up to totally exploited labor...But it's all driven by an incentivized system where the people... they're working so hard to get an edge in their own niche that these are ripple effects off of it.”

    Just how far can the race to convenience go? Mark notes, “Amazon's built Prime on the basis of convenience and you can see this brinkmanship when it comes to between Walmart and Amazon, get it in two hours, get it in one hour, get it in 30 minutes. How fast is fast enough?”.

    Tune in to the full podcast, where we discuss more supermarket industry insights and secrets uncovered in Benjamin Lorr’s research for his latest book. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    Dave Abbott shares eCommerce lessons across retail verticals

    Dave Abbott shares eCommerce lessons across retail verticals

    Dave Abbott, CMO at Brookshire’s Grocery Company, joins the Digital Grocery Podcast to share eCommerce lessons across multiple retail verticals, from apparel to home improvement, to now grocery. What element has remained true across each vertical? The brick-and-mortar experience is still key.

    Sylvain and Mark begin by covering the most recent news in grocery and big tech. Notably, Amazon’s new Shopper Panel, where they offer compensation to shoppers for submitting receipts, to collect t-log data on their competitors.

    As we consider how other verticals relate to grocery retail today, Dave joins the conversation. He notes a common thread in certain verticals, where eCommerce represents a small percentage of sales, but websites are vital to the product research and decision-making process for shoppers.

    “The website is an enabler and information provider for the grocery store, just like it was in home improvement. So in that regard, it's actually very similar.

    When we look at our investments from a marketing perspective, we have to think about, holistically, what is the end to end journey of that customer, both interacting with the store and the website, and make our investment decisions accordingly.”

    When asked what is central to the online shopping experience, Dave explains why it can’t just be about convenience.

    “You don't get that excitement when you get the box on your front door. It commoditizes the whole experience, if you will. And I think the brick and mortar experience done well is still going to be a center of attention.”

    The pandemic has certainly had major impacts on the grocery industry. As a retailer serving shoppers across Texas, Dave shares the importance of offering an essential service at this time.

    “You would be shocked about how many letters we received say, "You're lifesavers." And they really mean that. It's not like, "Oh, you saved me a dollar on my purchase," that you're a lifesaver. No, they literally feel that we're making them safer.”

    Tune in to listen to the full podcast, and hear more lessons from Dave Abbott on eCommerce success factors across multiple verticals.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    Food retail's tech giant takeover

    Food retail's tech giant takeover

    This episode, food retail’s tech giant takeover is on our minds. Is Silicon Valley going to save grocery retail or take it over completely? Sylvain and Mark consider what factors will impact grocery retail survival past the pandemic, as tech giants navigate the space.

    Three Factors Impacting Food Retail Survival

    The food retail industry is continually adapting to changes caused by COVID-19. Sylvain notes three important factors that will have lasting impacts on grocers, beyond the pandemic:
    Shoppers are trading down or trading out. Those who have lost their jobs are shopping with different retailers that offer lower prices.
    Shoppers are moving laterally. Concern for in-store safety policies, availability of stock and timeslots for delivery or pickup all impact this move.
    Trade Co-op dollars are going digital. CPG ad spend is increasingly moving online, as more shoppers shift to making all purchases online, including groceries.

    “And my fear is you're going to see an increase in bankruptcy in grocery retail, in the smaller tiers where they weren't ready for e-commerce, they may have lost... So, they succumb to the three variables.”

    AutoStore vs Ocado

    Sylvain and Mark go on to discuss the implications of the latest AutoStore lawsuit against Ocado. Will this block expansion of Ocado in North America? Would that block impact both Ocado and AutoStore’s business opportunities with grocers looking to scale their eCommerce with MFCs and CFCs?

    Amazon’s Stake in SpartanNash

    With Amazon’s opportunity to acquire 15% stake in SpartanNash, we’re raising the question of what this means for grocery retail. Amazon has a habit of acquiring businesses to learn, perfect, and then build their own. Are they using Spartan to build their own fresh and frozen distribution centers? Will they use SpartanNash to figure out private label and how to build brand trust with shoppers?

    “There's a lot of great Silicon Valley companies that are coming to the rescue of retailers to support them with true partnership and so on. But there are those like an Amazon that's just going to come to the table to crush and to dominate. Amazon, could they survive the trade down and trade out? I think 100% because they have other assets that can fund their grocery business to nauseum.”

    Tune in to the full podcast for more on the latest trends to watch in food retail, as consumers, retailers and tech giants navigate this evolving market space.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 47 min

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