As first time sponsors of the NGA Show, we were excited to be out in Las Vegas to introduce workflow automation to the food & beverage industry. With over 3,000 exhibitors, independent grocers, and suppliers gathered together, we were excited to learn about the biggest challenges and latest trends in the grocery world.
As the provider of a workflow automation solution that helps retail marketers get advertising and promotions to market faster, we anticipated that discussions would center on in-store circulars, mailers, signage, and POS displays. But after attending sessions and conversing with attendees it became clear that the opportunities for retail marketers don’t just end there.
Technology is – or should be – a top priority
According to Nielsen’s presentation, retailers need to stay ahead of customers’ needs by putting digital first. 39% of the world is online and last year there were 1.75 billion smartphones being used – smartphones are establishing new habits, including using mobile devices while watching TV. Utilizing mobile apps has never been more important.
To keep up with technology trends, retailers need to ensure that they have a strong web presence with a site that’s friendly to mobile browsers and advertising and promotional materials that include a mobile component – whether it’s scanning digital coupons on the register or sharing recipes for products via QR codes.
Strong packaging translates to strong in-store sales
Packaging has always been important but with the ever-expanding variety of consumer choices, packaging is more important than ever. Retailers need to figure out strategies to break through the sameness of the consumer experience in order to build sales. Not only will packaging need to be updated to keep a fresh look on goods, but in-store designs and on-shelf displays will need to be strategic about how to keep the attention of the shopper. As an example, when looking at in-store health and wellness categories, customers show a lack of trust about the health claims, so displays and packaging needs to clarify claims and build consumer trust.
Independents shouldn’t be afraid of eCommerce, they simply need software they trust
Many independent retailers are also turning to new software tools to make up for the lack of a huge IT department that their large chain competitors have. In order to compete, independents are having to build the omnichannel approach, including websites, mobile presences, and a digital brand. Luckily, there are numerous ways to develop an eCommerce site with a much lower cost than a full IT department – the Center for Advancing Retail Technology is a great place to start looking for tools that provide plug-and-play websites, online stores, and even mobile apps.
Independent grocers and large CPG companies are starting to partner together – and it’s beneficial to both
In the past, large CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) companies would ignore the independent retailers. Independents typically don’t have the reach the large chain stores have, but as there has been a shift in the shopper’s experience and a big focus placed on shopping local the CPGs have begun to turn to the independents as partners. The partnerships allow the two to share demographic and shopping data and create a packaging/user experience that is profitable for both parties.
Were you at NGA 2015? Share what you learned in the comments!