Fear of falling behind omnichannel shoppers and fast-moving competitors is driving grocers to deploy new technology at a furious pace, according to the  "2019 Grocery Tech Trends Study," released by RIS, Newark, N.J.

Findings in the study, based on more than 400 datapoints, uncover tectonic shifts in digital strategy and investment trends reshaping the grocery landscape.

Key study takeaways entail:

  • Study data makes it is clear technology investments are flowing along two primary tracks – core fundamentals and omnichannel advancements.

On the core track, tech investments are flowing into upgrading or replacing price management, assortment planning, category management and item master data management.

On the omnichannel track, key tech investments are flowing into location-based marketing, CRM/personalization, scan and go and click-and-collect management.

  • Three technologies achieved No. 1 rankings on grocer priority lists—price Management (current investment today), shopper tracking in stores (planned investments in 2020) and scan and go on store-owned devices (planned investments in 2021).
  • Topping the list of business opportunities that will drive growth is advancing digital strategies to supplement and enhance store investments, according to 73% of grocers, followed by 58% in developing personalized marketing capabilities.
  • Topping the list of business challenges is the tight labor market, selected by 58% of survey respondents. Price competition comes in second place (50%).
  • 80% say they will increase tech spending year-over-year, and of these, 40% plan to increase tech budgets by 5% or more.
  • Investments in omnichannel are clearly paying off as grocers’ report 17% of total sales today can be attributed to digital efforts.
  • Predictive analytics is the top analytic technology in deployment among retailers (33%) and also the No. 2 technology overall where work has begun but not yet been completed.
  • Over the past five years, 91% of grocers report an increase in omnichannel expectations among their customer base.
  • Today, 60% of grocers offer some form of home delivery for items ordered online. Of these, 42% offer a free delivery option.