News Feature | October 9, 2013

Grocery and Convenience Store IT News for VARs — October 9, 2013

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

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This week’s news includes changes to warehouse management systems, demographic shifts bring healthy options to c-stores, and a study shows the more digital connections, the better.

Food Warehouses: No more “head ‘em up, move ‘em out”

Bob Ingram for Progressive Grocer discusses how evolving food retail warehouse operations are leading to new philosophies about warehouse management systems (WMS). According to industry experts, a WMS must now be able to function as a whole network connecting facilities around the globe. Some recent innovations include: app stores that enable customers to browse various supply chain workflows and cloud-based WMS enabling for simpler implementation. Overall, a WMS must now function as a report detailing everything about a product with the capabilities to tie data to production orders and demand signals. 

Demographic Shifts Encourage Healthy C-Store Offerings

The Hartman Group’s Eating Occasions Compass reveals the changing eating habits of consumers and shifting demographics of convenience stores. Because of increasing interest in healthful foods, national convenience stores have begun adding organic and healthy snacks to their offerings. Also, because c-stores now appeal to a wider demographic than the traditional 18- to 24-year-old male, product offerings will evolve to better meet women’s and Millennials’ needs.

The More Digital Connections, The Better

Brick Meets Click recently released its Six Degrees of Digital Connections 2013 Grocery Report. The report covers how the grocery industry can use digital connections, including email, websites, social networks, texting, mobile, and online shopping to grow sales. According to the press release, using these six digital connections supports the in-store experience by creating continuous connections with consumers and building loyalty. Some findings of the report include: 80 percent of shoppers remained loyal to a retailer that utilized six digital connections. For retailers using only one digital connection, the percentage of primary shoppers dropped to 61 percent. Customer satisfaction tripled when a retailer increased its number of digital connections from one to six.

Interview Reveals Benefits Of Mobile Marketing For C-Stores

Convenience Store Decisions published an interview by David Hochman with Catherine Tabor, CEO of Sparkfly, about how retailers can apply multichannel mobile marketing strategies to track ROI. Tabor addresses the trends causing retailers to adjust coupon strategies, benefits from linking digital coupons to loyalty-card programs, and the best methods to deliver personalized offerings. According to Tabor, digital promotions are a great way for retailers to gain an “end-to-end view of the consumer purchase funnel…not path to purchase but path through purchase.”

C-Stores Slow To Adopt Social Media

According to a study completed by Convenience Store News, a majority of c-stores have not yet adopted social media or are using superficial strategies that are “on the road to nowhere.” A Convenience Store News survey completed in early 2013 revealed that three-quarters of c-store retailers use Facebook — but have no idea whether social media provides any business benefits. However, according to this most recent study, consumer conversations via social media about the convenience channel can serve as a roadmap to consumer preferences. The article claims that identifying social media data as consumer insights can lead to increased growth, productivity, and sales in the c-store channel.

IT Grocery/C-Store Talking Points

The rising number of food sales in the drugstore channel has led to speculation that drug stores could one day replace supermarkets. However, Liz Webber for Supermarket News cites Jessica Campbell, a drug Channel Analyst for Kantar Retail claiming that drugstore fresh sales are not yet a threat. Despite rising sales of fresh items in drugstores, Campbell claims that these sales only account for a small portion of drug store overall sales.

K. Canning for Private Label Store Brands cites the growing social media efforts being undertaken by national brands as one sign product marketing has “become a new game.” Jim Wisner of Wisner Marketing Group argues that continued private brand growth depends on how a retailer and private brand manufacturer adapt to new technologies. Wisner provides some examples for retailers to consider, advising retailers to “Watch, listen, and learn” to what national brands are doing and to collaborate with store brand suppliers.  

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