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Most grocers today face the challenge of adapting to new and emerging digital technologies with an infrastructure and processes that were developed long before smartphones became ubiquitous. On top of this, these grocers must prepare for tomorrow?s shopper, who grew up on smartphones and Facebook, and can access a wealth of information on stores, prices, products and service, anytime, anyplace.
At the same time, the amount of new digital information being generated by consumers ? much of it unstructured, in the form of social media posts and comments on blogs and websites ? means that retailers have much more complex data to sift through to fully understand shoppers? needs and preferences.
To explore the various ways in which mobile and digital technologies are transforming the food retailing landscape, Stagnito Business Information hosted an executive roundtable earlier this year in Chicago, moderated by Progressive Grocer and sponsored by Toronto-based Mercatus Technologies, in which leading food retailers in the digital space discussed their current challenges and shared success stories of their digital marketing and data analytics initiatives.
Roundtable participants included Dennis Host, VP of marketing, and Dale Monson, VP of information systems, Coborn?s Inc.; Tom Hutchison, director of marketing, CRM and analytics, Raley?s Family of Fine Stores; Linh Peters, VP of marketing, SpartanNash; Heidi Reale, director of shopper and digital marketing, and Thom Riley, senior applications architect and digital strategist, Price Chopper Supermarkets; Paul Scorza, EVP, information management, Ahold USA; Curtis Wiggins, director of retail BSM, Brookshire Grocery Co.; and Nathan T. Wright, digital marketing and innovation, Hy-Vee Inc., along with Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO, and Pete Bigley, retail technology innovation consultant, Mercatus Technologies.
Among the topics discussed:
- ? The convergence of marketing and information technology: Better aligning marketing and IT, either organizationally or via stronger collaboration between the two groups, to deliver the most relevant digital solutions for the business
- ? Old systems, new tech: How to integrate new digital technologies into legacy systems, many of which pre-date smartphones and mobile technology
- ? Multichannel strategies: Addressing today?s consumer, whose path to purchase often begins in one channel (such as online), continues through another (mobile), and ends in the store
- ? Info ? capturing, analyzing and acting on it: How to tap into the wealth of shopper information generated via digital platforms and develop actionable insights from it
- ? Emerging technology: How retailers are evaluating new digital marketing and analytics solutions for inclusion in their digital marketing initiatives
The roundtable also included a discussion of exclusive research from Stagnito?s Carbonview group, including shopper use of various digital tools such as websites, social media, mobile, and online promotions and digital coupons.