Provider of world-leading AI and machine learning platform for retailers unlocks insights into consumer grocery shopping habits and pain points
Rubikloud, delivering world-leading artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to retailers, issued the 2019 Grocery Insights Data Report, identifying insights around stockouts, shopping preferences and customer loyalty that uncover business opportunities for grocery retailers.
In today’s hypercompetitive, omnichannel retail marketplace, grocers not only continue to face shrinking margins, but are now reckoning with new and different types of competition, including expanding online grocery offerings from retail and ecommerce giants, as well as third-party delivery dominance – further challenging grocers’ margins, ownership of the consumer experience and the ability to harness the power of customer data.
Product Stockouts Remain Key Pain Point for Grocers and Shoppers
A persistent challenge grocers continue to face are stockouts. According to Rubikloud’s online survey of grocery and retail merchandisers, 50% of respondents shared that they experience 3-4% of stockouts throughout the year, noting human error and unanticipated spikes in store foot traffic as the main culprits. While 58% of grocery and retail merchandisers say that they are utilizing technology to manage forecasting, many of these solutions are not able to alleviate today’s stockout challenges. Legacy systems don’t provide a full picture of real-time inventory or offer predictive technology that anticipates inventory needs based on consumer demand and shopping patterns.
Stockouts not only result in lost revenue, they also contribute to a negative customer shopping experience. According to a recent online survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Rubikloud, many U.S. grocery shoppers say that they would feel annoyed (53%), frustrated (48%), or even be angry (13%) if a product they are deliberately shopping for at a grocery store is consistently unavailable or out of stock. The survey also finds that Friday (42%) is the most popular weekday for shoppers to visit the grocery store. Not surprisingly, this high foot traffic day is also when grocers experience the most stockouts, according to Rubikloud’s survey of grocery and retail merchandisers.
Battling for Customer Loyalty in a Competitive Market
According to the Rubikloud/Harris Poll survey, 85% of grocery store shoppers shop mostly in-store or in-store only, and over half (55%) shop at three or more different grocery stores (in-store or online) per month. This raises questions on whether consumer expectations are being met or if brand loyalty exists at all in today’s crowded, convenience-driven marketplace, where 63% of consumers are likely to stop shopping for a brand if they have an unsatisfactory experience, according to a BRP special report.
There’s also a disconnect between third-party grocery delivery services and grocers’ supply chains. Seemingly convenient options can quickly turn into a disappointing customer experience when products that consumers order are not available, or if they arrived damaged. As grocers race to simplify the way customers shop, creating a feedback loop between all of the omnichannel delivery systems, including third-party delivery services, that captures all of the online and offline data can help improve demand forecasting. By securing and owning this data, retailers will be equipped with the information they need to understand their customers and provide a truly personalized experience.
“Grocers are facing wave after wave of disruption in an industry that’s already plagued with tight margins, high perishability and a heavy reliance on promotions,” shared Kerry Liu, co-founder and CEO of Rubikloud. “Grocers can no longer depend on outdated, legacy technology that is unable to predict consumer demand based on omnichannel shopping patterns. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can unlock greater operational efficiencies for grocers that directly correlate with the customer experience.”