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Study: Which grocery app do customers prefer?

BY Dan Berthiaume

Consumers are generally willing to use mobile apps to assist with grocery shopping, and there is one retailer whose app is the clear favorite.

According to a new study from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions,’ “How Grocery Shoppers Shop: Changing Trends in Grocery Shopping,” the top used grocery app among U.S. consumers by a wide margin is Amazon (71%). This is followed by grocery store apps (28%), Walmart (26%) and Target (25%). Third-party savings apps are not used much, with use in the low single digits for the grocery channel.

One reason grocery shoppers appear to be using apps is for finding deals and promotions. Fifty-eight percent of shoppers actively look for deals and promotions before going to the grocery store. Almost seven in 10 (68%) belong to at least two grocery store loyalty programs and another 68% always use deals, promotions and coupons on grocery store items, while the rest do sometimes.

One set of results helped illustrate the popularity of the Amazon grocery app despite the lack of Amazon grocery stores. When asked to rank the factors in selecting a grocery store by order of importance, shoppers placed the convenience of location behind the attraction of price: 70% said price was the leading factor, 59% said products/brands I specifically need, 48% said store location and 31% said faster checkout. Additionally, 60% of shoppers report being loyal to a particular grocery store.
In another sign of grocery price sensitivity, 91% of shoppers believe store brands are a great value, and 72% believe store brands are the same quality as national brands. Only half (52%) of shoppers report buying brand-name products always or in certain categories.

When it comes to savings the majority of grocery shoppers prefer richer rebate rewards over instant discounts for single-item purchases across all grocery store departments, including gift cards, cooking and baking supplies, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, baby supplies, paper products, meat and deli items and more.

“Brands can no longer take grocery customers for granted,” said Rodney Mason, general VP of marketing at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. “Price sensitivity, customer time deficiency, and instant access to promotions and product information are putting greater pressure on retail and product companies to shift with consumer demands.”

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Breakout Retail Award winners revelead

BY CSA STAFF

Retailing Today sister publication Chain Store age announced the winners of its first annual Breakout Retailer Awards, which honors emerging retail/restaurant concepts that are innovative in their segment and show strong potential for growth.

Selected by the editorial board of Chain Store Age, the winning lineup include a hardgoods retailer with a new twist on games, a specialty merchant whose stores combine the best of online and offline shopping, a farmer’s market-styled grocer with mass appeal, and a fast-casual restaurant operator that’s bringing food customization to a new level.

“Retailers have to go the extra mile to stand out and succeed in today’s disrupted marketplace,” said Marianne Wilson, editor-in-chief, Chain Store Age. “In their own unique way, each of the winning brands has done just that. While the concepts are widely diverse, they are alike in their ability to engage and delight shoppers, whether it’s online, in store or both.”

Here are the winners (in alphabetical order):

Fabletics: Co-founded by actress Kate Hudson, Fabletics is positioned in the white-hot “athleisure” market, with stylish activewear that works in the gym, yoga studio — and beyond. After establishing and honing its brand online, the retailer has expanded to the physical space with stores that blend the best of both worlds.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market: A small grocer with big ambitions, Fresh Thyme combines the spirit of a farmers market with the convenience of a neighborhood store. The fast-growing chain specializes in fresh and organic foods at value prices in a fun, easy-to-shop environment.

Marbles: The Brain Store: Specializing in games, puzzles, books and software that stimulate the brain and challenge all ages, Marbles offers a dynamic, hands-on shopping experience that allows customers to try out product and watch how-to-play videos.

PizzaRev: A build-your-own fast casual concept, PizzaRev allows customers to customize their own pizza, selecting everything from crust to sauce to more than 30 artisanal toppings, with everything on display. Pizza is cooked and delivered to the table in just three minutes.

The winning companies will be honored at Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS Conference (March 13-15, 2016, at the Hilton Anatole, Dallas). For more information about SPECS and to register, click here.

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Retail: Staying in sync without sinking

BY Michael S. De Fazio

Transition versus transformation. Evolution versus revolution. These strategies inherently plague the retail sector as companies decide what to do next to stay ahead of the curve.

As a retail professional for more than 35 years, too often I see companies forget to examine the current business model and understand whether or not it operates effectively. Basic concepts of product relevancy, store conditions, customer service and employee engagement and retention are essential in all successful retail businesses. Yet, increasingly these concepts are left at the doorstep as retailers try to outthink themselves in reinvention. Most times retailers leave their core consumer behind by forgetting the formula that brought them success in the first place.

For example, neglect of these basic concepts for a prolonged period of time ultimately led to RadioShack’s demise. Store conditions had deteriorated, products had become irrelevant — the move to a national brand selling strategy versus a proprietary, private-label selling assortment — employees had become apathetic and its biggest asset, customer service — remember, “You have questions, we have answers”? — became nonexistent. All of these factors left the customer saying, “What is RadioShack?”

The formula for success in retail has never and will never change. Aesthetics and technology most certainly have; however, the true testament to a strong retail brand always follows the same footprint.

Ultimately, the right locations, the optimal product mix, having those products in-stock and a passionate and knowledgeable customer service team will foster the ideal employee and customer experience — one that inspires all parties to have a vested interest in the retail brand's success.


Michael S. De Fazio is an independent retail consultant with more than 35 years in retailing, and experience in multiple leadership roles in store operations and store design, including DVP store concepts for Walgreens.

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