2015 saw one of the biggest transformations in the retail landscape to date: the proliferation of the ‘Convenience Economy’ — a growing new sector empowered by consumers that want the most convenient shopping experience possible in terms of time, effort, and cost, i.e. getting what they need with the click of a button on their mobile.
Services like UberX, Hurrier and GoButler, have helped shape customer expectations to get what they want — transportation, food, services, and more — in real time and at affordable prices, all through a convenient experience on their mobile phone. Starbucks’ Order & Pay service, where customers can order and pay ahead on their mobile app, has universalized those expectations.
Now that these trailblazing companies have cemented this type of user experiences through mass user adoption, shoppers will begin to expect similar benefits from all aspects of their life — including their grocery shops.
That’s why in 2016 we expect to see an expansion of the Convenience Economy within the grocery retail sector, with increased technological innovation that supports quicker, more convenient shopping.
Specifically, we expect to see the following ‘convenience-based’ trends explode in the grocery retail sector:
1. A continued focus on mobile to create an “anytime, anywhere” experience, enabling online browsing on the go, ordering ahead, paying ahead, curbside pickup, delivery, and more.
2. More use of wayfinding and location-based services:
b) Kroger simplifies the in-store shopping experience by displaying the exact aisle location of each product on the customer’s saved shopping list. Indoor mapping software like Aisle411 will create better in-store experiences.
3. Targeted offers through beacons and proximity-based services (like Gimbal) to consumers when they are nearby or in-store, to inspire them to buy at just the right moment, making their grocery trip feel easy and successful.
4. Digital Coupons & Offers from your mobile phone, allowing the consumer to clip and redeem coupons digitally, while in store. No more cutting up paper.
5. Order ahead and delivery for catering and prepared foods. This is a huge opportunity for grocers that service lunches with their speciality sections.
As we enter into 2016, customers will expect more and more of these types of experiences from their grocery stores. Retailers who don’t embrace the “convenience economy” and adjust their strategies to the connected lifestyle, will lose the loyalty of the UberX and Starbucks Order Ahead type of shoppers, and see a big impact to sales in the year to come.