Elliott Grant’s 20+ US patents testify to his love of
finding elegant solutions to hard problems. Among his creations is a technology
that enables capture of supply chain insights on over $10bn worth of products a
year. When we heard he was working on an app that helps consumers connect their
food shopping with their nutritional needs, we wanted to know more. Here,
he talks with us about how shoppers use the app, how it personalizes
nutrition scoring for individual products, and what retailers can learn from
the data it generates.
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.
While 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.
Each 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.
Searching 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.
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.
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.
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.
Changes 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.
As 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.
So 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.
With 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.
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.
Changing 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
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.
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.
Big Data was the big topic at the FMI Midwinter Executive
Conference, and I thought it would be useful to consolidate the coaching that data experts
Nate Silver and Charles Wheelan discussed with industry leaders in
to the Future of Supermarkets II, I described online grocery sales as the
elephant in the room for food retailers. The recent trading updates by major UK
grocers have suddenly made people, especially analysts and investors, very
aware of this elephant’s presence.
Online 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
We’re excited to release the findings of BMC’s latest Big
Data survey in a new report. The
results suggest five key questions that retail leaders who see value in big
data should be asking themselves in order to capture
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.
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.
I 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.
Yummy.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.
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.
offers an unprecedented opportunity to influence shoppers in the moment – if the
messages are relevant. Claudio Schapsis has cracked the code. Here, he explains why mobile is one
of the best ways to compete with online stores, what makes a message relevant,
and how location affects strategy and focus.