Key Takeaways from the Placer.ai Grocery Update Webinar


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“Consumers don’t just shop at one grocery store, they probably shop five in any given week, in any given month,” said Carrie Smith, SVP at Franklin Street, during Placer.ai Webinar “Grocery Update: Opportunities and Challenges”. It was just a key part of the live online event, which was hosted by Ethan Chernofsky, Vice President of Marketing for Placer.ai, and featured Smith and Jennifer Bartashus, ssenior equity research analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, as guest speakers.

The panel identified the opportunities and challenges facing the food industry today and analyzed the new strategies some retailers are adopting. Keep reading to learn more.

Smith on “basket size as fuel costs lead to fewer trips”:

“There’s a bigger push towards house brands, a bigger push to watch what you’re spending your money on. You go to Target to buy one thing, but you buy 20. That’s what they’re known for and what they love. It impacts them,” Smith said.

But one challenge many stores may face is the number of items consumers need versus the items they want to put in their carts. “[Consumers] start to change your mind. Maybe I don’t need this tank top on top of all this shopping,” she said. “When it comes to what you buy for your family, there won’t be much change. in there. Groceries are your essential lifestyle.

Bartashus Regarding Walmart’s Neighborhood Market concept:

“Walmart’s power is in its broader assortment; have general merchandise, and not just be a pure grocery store. They decided to focus on online grocery shopping and making it as good as possible. [Walmart was] an early adopter of curbside pickup, and [they were] testing that and developing the technology around it,” Bartashus said, adding that the company’s “priorities had shifted” and had begun to “watch where the grocery store goes, rather than becoming profitable in a small-format box.”

Chernofsky on what the future of Amazon looks like with groceries:

“Whole Foods doesn’t make sense the Amazon way,” Chernofsky said. “Whole Foods is premium; it’s “a bit more expensive and a bit fancier”. You’ll spend more on asparagus here because you trust the quality. Amazon Go felt very “Amazony” – fast in, out, tech showcase, etc. Amazon Fresh is the wildcard here [if you look at what happens in California] …not in competition with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. If we see Amazon pushing Amazon Fresh, I think they’ve got their mix figured out.

Black-smith regarding value and location-based chains:

“Consumers don’t just shop at one grocery store, they probably shop at five in any given week, any given month,” Smith said. “Aldi and Lidl…they positioned themselves to be in big real estate just before a pandemic hit. They’re probably tapping into a consumer base that hadn’t tried them before.

“Yeah, we were shopping at Kroger, then we were going to Walmart, then we might be going to Target, but were we going to the Aldi that just opened just around the corner? I don’t know, I’m not so sure. But now, are people trying it? Absolutely.

“[Value-oriented stores are] not shy about being down the street from Publix or Kroger or Albertsons…they go right by them, because they know that if and when the time is right, they’re going to get that consumer in the door. And so what they can do now is they can capture that audience and try to keep that audience for the long haul, so this is their time. You get the consumer in the store once, and maybe you’ve created a consumer for life.

Bartashus regarding Publix, HEB and Trader Joe’s:

“Publix, HEB and Trader Joe’s really understand their constituents. They figured out how to organize their stores in a logical and easy way for customers,” Bartashus said. said. “Trader Joe’s did well at the start of the pandemic because not only did people like their products, but it’s a small store – you can go in and out, you don’t have to spend a lot of time with other people. . ”

She mentioned the take-out sections found in more traditional sized grocery stores and how these stores balance consumer needs for product diversity, local assortment and convenience.

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