What do consumers want from grocery retailers as we move forward?

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The pandemic has changed the way we shop, the food we eat, and the experiences we enjoy in our daily routines. What was once considered a bit of a mundane affair, going to the supermarket has offered an opportunity for people to get out of the house during the various lockdowns, becoming an event that many looked forward to each week. Heading out of lockdown—and with many consumers enjoying the convenience of online shopping—what do consumers want from grocery retailers, and how do they build a new relationship with their customers?

In the recent Table Talk Podcast with Accenture, host Stefan Gates posed the question to Suzanne Robinson, Director for Innovation in Consumer Goods and Retail at ?WhatIf!(an innovation agency that’s part of Accenture), “Online shopping and food deliveries expanded enormously. But where does this leave the physical store? Is it still as important? Are we going to see some fundamental change in the nature of supermarkets in the future?”

“But it was really interesting talking to consumers during the pandemic, hearing their stories of how they started to look forward to going to the supermarket, suddenly, that became that outing, and then taking their time to actually browse all of the aisles.” SUZANNE ROBINSON, DIRECTOR FOR INNOVATION IN CONSUMER GOODS AND RETAIL AT ?WHATIF!, PART OF ACCENTURE

In her response, Suzanne said; “It is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? I think the key thing really is what we’re hearing from consumers, in terms of where they see the benefits, and how much they value those benefits. So online is great, it’s very convenient, it’s very immediate, and a lot of people will probably stick with those behaviours for certain items. But it was really interesting talking to consumers during the pandemic – hearing their stories of how they started to look forward to going to the supermarket, suddenly, that became that outing, and then taking their time to actually browse all of the aisles. What that’s done is opened them up to products they might not have seen before. They’re bringing home new treats andstarting to use the supermarket in more of an emotional way, rather than just a very transactional andfunctional way.”

Commenting further, Matt Jeffers, Managing Director for Retail Strategy atAccenture UK, points out that many retailers could benefit from empowering their managers to choose products for their local markets’ needs; “What the French supermarkets do really well is that they empower the supermarket managers to give a sense of ‘this is what my customers want’. They’re maybe ordering 80% of their products from a centralised base, but then they’re also able to go out to local suppliers. If every supermarket manager was given even10% of the store space to arrange in the way that they wanted, I think it would be it would be great.”

In new research, Accenture has identified some key trends in what consumers might want from retailers in the future;

  • Valuing convenience, community, inspiration and sustainability, 85% expect grocers to help them change how they live, shop and eat
  • They want help to save money (74%), save time (59%), reduce food waste (61%) and they want the process of grocery shopping to be made easier for them (61%)
  • They are prepared to change their eating habits (39%), shop more frequently (29%) and in some cases they would pay more (21%)
  • The online surge will continue, with more than 50% of grocery consumers planning to shop both offline and online in the future

Grocery retailers now need to consider what consumers value most, and offer clear differentiation within their markets—by building on their purpose—in order to satisfy the future needs of their customers.

To find out more, visit Accenture

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