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By Joan Driggs and Jim Dudlicek
Retailers, suppliers and trend experts shared their insights about how to harness technology to enhance the shopper experience at Progressive Grocer’s Connected Consumer Summit, held this week in Chicago.
As consumers continue to adopt new technologies at an ever-faster pace, grocery retailers need to catch up and even exceed consumer expectations to attain any level of loyalty. PG’s exclusive, invitation-only summit, held May 5-6 at the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel, guided retailers and CPG suppliers in learning about, selecting and implementing digital solutions that will help them better connect with their shoppers. Attendees learned about shopper insights, mobile marketing, digital media, Big Data and more.
Keynote presentations by such companies as Kroger, SpartanNash, Nielsen and Hershey delved into consumer trends and opportunities, how digital is changing path to purchase and harnessing digital innovation for the in-store experience.
In addition, the one-and-a-half day event included “boardroom briefings” for retailers and CPG companies presented by solution providers focused on the connected consumer, along with exceptional networking opportunities. Attendees topped 80 representatives from retailers, CPG companies and data analytics providers across the country.
“Retail is moving fast, but it’s also moving slow,” said James Russo, SVP of global consumer insights at Nielsen, who addressed the “Digital Evolution: Consumer Trends and Opportunities,” leading off Tuesday morning’s speaker lineup.
He continued: “We have a lot of new tools, technology and analytics, but unfortunately, we’re still addressing the same issues today that we were in 1985,” quoting from The New York Times 30 years ago, “In retailing, we should cater to the individual rather than the masses. Specialized by product, lifestyle, pursuit, service or convenience.”
More than half of births today are multicultural, Russo noted. Our population is 80 percent urban; more than three-quarters of consumers are connected anytime/anywhere, and yet 97 percent of CPG sales are still in-store.
Further, as demonstrated by other industries, consumers are ready to connect with retailers. A quarter of shoppers are already making CPG purchases online, but 55 percent are willing to go there. Annual online sales growth of CPG products is 40 percent year-on-year, according to Nielsen. Layer in that the No. 1 daily activity – 10 hours per day – involves a screen, and there’s a compelling case for addressing people where, when and how they want to be reached. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers want in-store handheld scanners, but just 11 percent are currently using them, because they are not widely available. Well more than half – 56 percent – of shoppers want to order online and pickup in store, but just 8 percent are currently doing this.