News Feature | December 3, 2013

Grocery And Convenience Store IT News For VARs — December 3, 2013

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

BSM-Loyalty

The news includes a prediction that grocery stores will leverage mobile more in 2014, organizations support the debit card swipe fee ruling, and an increasing number of supermarkets are providing “personalized pricing” online or through mobile apps.

“Supermarket Guru” Predicts Grocery Will Go Mobile In 2014

ConAgra Foods, in collaboration with “Supermarket Guru” has released a list of food trend predictions for 2014. In terms of technology developments, Lempert predicts that mobile will be key for helping consumers find recipes, order ingredients, and check-out directly from mobile devices. He even expects grocery retailers to begin installing drive-through windows to ensure a quick shopping experience for consumers. In addition, there will be increasing numbers of consumers turning to online tools that not only provide recipes but also aid them in finding nearby deals on the ingredients. Social media sites like Pinterest will also help enable “click and buy programs,” so customers can purchase ingredients for “pinned” or “liked” recipes via social media platforms. In stores, Lempert expects that packaging will become “touch” sensitive. Customers will turn to mobile apps to learn more about a specific product simply by focusing the phone on the product’s label.

NACS Supports Strike-Down Of Swipe Fee Regulations

Convenience Store News reports that the NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, has come out in support of a strike down of current swipe fee rules for debit cards. According to a brief submitted by supporters — including the NACS, the National Retail Federation, and the National Restaurant Association — the Federal Reserve acted against Congress’ intent. The plaintiff believes the Fed’s regulations only allow for one processing network to handle transactions, rather than encouraging competition in processing networks. The Federal Reserve has until December 4, 2013 to file its brief, and the appeal is set to begin in Washington, D.C., in mid-January.

Direct-To-Consumer Personalized Grocery Ads Improve Sales

An article in BusinessWeek discusses the rising number of supermarkets providing customers with personalized prices online or through mobile apps. This is all part of a greater effort to compete with online retailers that use past purchase data to provide purchase suggestions to customers. Not only does providing personalized offers increase customer visits and basket size, but it also reduces the need for direct price competition. Because these offers are direct-to-the-consumer, it’s more difficult for competitors to see prices and begin adjusting theirs to draw customers away. Simon Hay, CEO of Dunnhumby, says that although fewer than 5 percent of offers are personalized, he expects this number to rise more than 30 percent over the next 8 years.  Some experts even believe supermarket apps could one day have the potential to provide personalized offers in real time.

Apps Need Enhancements To Engage Customers In-Store

A new report, “Connected Intelligence Shopping on Smartphones,” from the NPD Group reveals that 75 percent of smartphone owners use their devices while shopping. Many shoppers (71 percent) are using mobile devices to access a retailer’s website rather than a store-specific app (57 percent). Experts, like Connected Intelligence VP Eddie Hold, believe this is a sign that apps are “an experiment that is quickly dropped by most consumers.” Indeed, a large number of people (94 percent) only use apps at home rather than inside brick-and-mortar stores. Hold says stores providing product location, integrated shopping lists, and scan-and-go technology could help make in-store app usage more consistent. 

Grocery and Convenience Store IT Talking Points

According to Convenience Store Decisions, The NACS supports the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act. This act enables convenience stores to satisfy the menu-labeling provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This PPACA provision, requiring chain restaurants and other retail food establishments to include calorie counts on menus, buffets, and salad bars, would create potentially burdensome requirements for c-stores. The new legislation proposed in the senate would limit PPACA’s menu labeling provision to establishments that derive 50 percent or more of their revenue from non-prepackaged food.

Steve Holtz for CSPnet discusses some ways c-stores can better reach the important Millennial Generation consumer — the highest ROI demographic that operators can target. Because Millennials are so prominent on social media, their opinions of a business can easily influence others and make or break a business. Continually providing a variety of new product assortments and flavors can help keep Millennials returning to the same business.

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