The fast-changing dynamics of the food retailing environment continue to challenge companies to keep pace with fast-changing shopper demands. The latest of these shifting shopper requirements involves their behavior on digital platforms, and is creating an imperative for grocers to compete across all shopper touchpoints, both digital and in stores.

The report, “Personalization in Digital Food Retail – Shoppers Expect More,” conducted by IDC Retail Insights, Framingham, Mass., and commissioned by Precima, Chicago, casts light on the current state of digital food retailing and what food retailers need to do now to drive success. The research shows that while Amazon continues to be a primary disruptive influence in fast-moving consumer goods retailing, it struggles with retaining food shoppers. Another opportunity for grocery retailers is that shopping exclusively online is still relatively rare, so optimizing in-store experiences can help retain customers who might otherwise prefer digital options.

“Retailers have finite resources that are shared among competing merchandising, operational and marketing priorities. They need to make smart decisions about where to invest in digital capabilities and how those capabilities and business decisions fit in with the rest of the organization,” says Brian Ross, chief executive officer of Precima. “The successful retailers are rapidly developing and deploying digital capabilities to compete more aggressively. Our new research separates facts from hype and discloses the tactics that are paying off today and will pay off tomorrow.”

“Consumer expectations require grocery retailers to implement new customer experience models and technology architecture,” says Ivano Ortis, vice president, IDC Retail, manufacturing, financial insights. “Investing in advanced analytics, personalized offers and localized assortment optimization, while adapting the store format to shoppers’ behavior, will allow grocery retailers to achieve short-term success.”

Additional key findings include:

  • 63% of shoppers say personalization is important.
  • 35% of shoppers will spend 26-40% of their grocery budget online by 2020.
  • A personalized customer experience strategy is an opportunity for brand differentiation.
  • Consumers expect a seamless experience throughout in-store and online journeys.
  • Personalized offers are vital for e-commerce; shopping/wish lists are an opportunity to enhance shopper experience and loyalty.
  • Retailers expect major disruption in the next 3 years, from operations automation, retail commerce platforms and added-value shopper services.

The data comes from a web-based survey of more than 4,000 consumers and 444 retailers in North America, France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom between November and December 2018.