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Grocery ecommerce: the long tail, the last mile, and the future

PJ Stafford’s wide range of experience make him a great source for thinking about how ecommerce might transform the grocery marketplace. Here, the Co-President of Honest Green, the ecommerce division of UNFI, talks with us about why he's convinced grocery is ready to move into the mainstream of ecommerce, how natural retailers and supermarkets can serve the “Long Tail” needs of their customers, and what retailers need to do to take full advantage of the opportunity. 
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Personalized Supply Chains: The next generation of shopper marketing

Personalized supply chainsWhile many retailers are focused on delivering personalized promotions and products as a way to break through the clutter, shoppers have been quietly using the growing range of options to create what we call personalized supply chains. Heads up folks, this could be the next generation of shopper marketing. Business that used to go to traditional retail is being unbundled, and shoppers are shifting portions of their spending to channels (and retailers) where they can get their highly individualized needs met.
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Why average is going to kill you in retailing & other 2014 trends

Dont Look Back 2Each year the management consultancy Centigo AB produces, Centigo Retail Outlook, a major report on seven new retailing trends they’re seeing across the world.  The reports are always full of creative insight and this year is no exception. Håkan Bengtsson, one of the report’s authors, is also a BMC Black Belt. We talked with him recently about some of the things they’ve learned during the work. Here’s a sample of what the team at Centigo is seeing.
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Artizone: Putting the artisan in online food shopping

Artizone logoSearching out new visions for food retailing – and the business leaders who champion them – is one of our passions. Lior Lavy is part of the team that launched Artizone, the online marketplace that's connecting shoppers with a host of artisan food purveyors in parts of Dallas and Chicago. We were impressed with their dedication to bringing customers quality, unique foods and by their intense business focus. Lior seems like a person who will not be denied. As you’ll see, Artizone is already defining its unique role in the evolution of online food shopping.
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The social web and the opportunity for grocery retail

Last week, a panel at FMIConnect presented highlights from the final section of a major retail report on using the social web. Developed by grocery industry leaders for use by the industry, the report covers the topic in many dimensions. Michael Sansolo, the research director for the project, talks with us here about how the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council approached the project, what they learned from their latest research, and how they hope the complete report will be used by retailers.

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How technology is taking retail back to the future

Stuart Armstrong was pushing the boundaries of using POS data at IRI to understand shopping behavior when I first met him. Today, he’s pushing the boundaries of using digital screens to communicate with shoppers inside stores at ComQi. I think he has important things to say about where we’re going with the technology-enhanced shopping experience, which changes in the retail environment are most transformative, and how retailers and brands are using interactive screens to build customer relationships.
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Chicago: Four food shopping experiences

The shopping experience is becoming one of the key ways for food retailers to create competitive advantage as they try to stand out against the multitude of online and off-line choices consumers have today – it's also gaining importance because competing on price alone is getting more and more difficult. We went looking for concepts that other retailers could use directly or as a jumping off point for creating unique shopping experiences consistent with their own brands. Here are four that caught our eye.

New rules, new tools: How to survive the changes coming to retailing

tech toolsChanges in the retail environment are clearly accelerating! Against this backdrop, we asked Ron Lunde for his thoughts. Formerly a senior merchandising executive at Super Valu, Grand Union, and Price Chopper – and an SVP with Leo Burnett,  Ron is one person we know who can confidently address the ways in which digital is  profoundly changing the way we shop.
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Front Door Farms: Creating a new way to shop for fresh produce

Front Door Farms logoAs we explore how online grocery will grow, we see two approaches – either drive more sales to current online shoppers or bring entirely new groups/segments of shoppers into the online food market.  When we first learned about Front Door Farms they struck us as a great example of the second option playing out.
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Food shopping & digital tech: Are we thinking boldly enough?

red bomb pngSo far, most of the retail food sector’s attention to technology has focused on helping people execute “traditional” shopping activities quicker and easier – building shopping lists, personalizing circulars, offering digital coupons – but there are signs that much bigger changes are on the way. Here's what I see.
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Online grocery logistics: 5 key questions

Treasure logisticsWith the growing activity around grocery ecommerce, it's a great time to delve into the potential of dark stores, the growth of click & collect, and the significance of different kinds of location analysis with someone who is already well up the learning curve. Given this objective, I immediately thought of Will Treasure who is a Director for the UK-based Javelin Group. His keen ability to explain how “getting the logistics right” for the many moving parts of a successful ecommerce grocery operation makes this Q&A a must-read.
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Exploring the digital path to purchase with Tom Furphy

Tom Furphy's unique journey through both in-store and ecommerce selling is what made me want to tap into his vision and thinking. After a successful tour with leading US food retailer Wegman’s, he served Amazon as VP of Consumables and AmazonFresh. There, his teams launched and oversaw the growth of Amazon’s Health & Beauty and Grocery businesses, the development of Subscribe-and-Save, and the launch of AmazonFresh local grocery delivery service. Today, he's chairman of IdeoClick, Inc.
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Improving the ROI of retail email campaigns

EmailChanging what you don't know (or aren't doing) can drive shopper engagement. I first came across the work of reach | influence while they were supporting an innovative shopper marketing program for IGA retailers. They were new to the food business, and the “fresh eye” their leadership brought to some long standing challenges was very helpful. They know a LOT about effective retail email practices, and I asked them to share some of their guidance and experience in a recent interview.

Taking food retail marketing to the next level

I've been watching Bob Wheatley bring a fresh consumer marketing perspective to a retail reinvention project, and I'm impressed with his ability to see where consumers are headed. He combines the skill and discipline of an accomplished CPG marketer with the quick reflexes of a successful retailer – important talents to bring if you want to play successfully in the brick meets click space. Here's our conversation. 
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Instacart Q & A: Expanding access to online grocery

USA MapOnline shopping for grocery market baskets is becoming more common, but a lot of people who’d like to do it don’t have access to the service. Instacart is quickly opening up the option to many more shoppers and retailers in new markets. Here we talk with founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta about Instacart's interesting take on meeting shoppers needs.
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Measuring online grocery's true impact on in-store sales

A lot of retailers wonder if offering an online shopping option will simply cannibalize their brick-and-mortar sales – and by how much. Andrea Pozzi has been studying this question, and he documents the positive impact of online sales in an original article published in the RAND Journal of Economics. It’s good to get some answers, and some of them are surprising.
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Discussing the future of product data in food retail

FoodEssentials is assembling and organizing food product information in some interesting new ways. It's going to help shoppers who want more accurate and objective data for making food choices – but their business model also illustrates some of the new thinking about data that’s beginning to show up in the marketplace. Listen in while we talk to co-founder and CEO Anton Xavier.
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Door to Door Organics: Engaging grocery shoppers via contextual commerce platform

DTDO basketI think it is important to continuously explore the new visions and concepts for food retailing that business leaders are championing in the real world.  One of those leaders is Chad Arnold, CEO of Door to Door Organics, and this week we talk to him and Kristin Lindquist, VP of Product Development, about their philosophy and approach.
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Re-thinking the bricks-plus-clicks grocery model

re-thinking groceryYummy.com has successfully turned the usual bricks-plus-clicks grocery model on its head: Walk-in sales are incremental to their online base. It's exactly the kind of “rethinking the process” that will be needed to make delivery of online grocery purchases both appealing to the shopper and profitable for food retailers, so check out this interview with founder and CEO Barnaby Montgomery.
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What's needed for retail to realize the full potential of Big Data & Retail Analytics

We’re approaching a point where we need to move beyond the term “big data,” or least add a subtitle – if we don’t, we risk not capturing its full potential.  Part of the term’s allure is its lack of a precise meaning, which makes it easy “to put more of what you want” under it.  But the squishy definition isn’t the only thing holding back progress - there are three key factors that need attention.
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Defining omnichannel retail

Bill Davis talks with us about the distinction between multi- and omni- channel retail, his research about where omnichannel is happening today, and what he thinks it will take for retailers to achieve a true 360-degree view of the shopper.
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