The supply chain shortage is still emptying shelves, and record-high inflation doesn’t look like it will disappear soon. This means that companies will have to raise prices, which could make customers angry. Grocery industry Retail Industry App also has trouble keeping people working in their stores and warehouses. Many people worry that this is a sign of a fundamental change in the job market.
Experts in the field brought up these problems when talking about their top trends for the year. But they also pointed out that grocery stores have a lot of opportunities ahead of them. Many of these opportunities come from the fact that many more people still order and eat food at home than before the pandemic.
Expect grocery industry stores to improve their meal options and new ways to buy things online this year. Even though people try to find value when prices increase, many will still look for high-quality products.
Here are the top trends that will likely affect the grocery business in 2022
1. Shopping for groceries online isn’t going away
Online Grocery Business Transformation isn’t going away soon, it seems. It went up even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but predictions stayed pretty low. At the time, people thought that e-grocery sales might make up about 4.3% of the grocery industry market and that by 2025, this number could rise to between 10% and 13%. But because of the pandemic, online grocery sales hit double digits in 2020, and e-grocery is already well on its way to making up more than 20 percent of the overall grocery market by 2025.
2. Augmented reality does online shopping more like the real world
Augmented reality (AR) has changed everything about online shopping. With this kind of technology, shoppers can see what they’re buying, which helps them decide whether or not to buy it. AR changes the shopping experience in some industries, like fashion and home decor, because the customer can get a better feel for the item without seeing it in person.
Gartner said in 2019 that 100 million people would use AR to shop by 2020. It will be interesting to see how this turns out next year.
3. Using automation to make up for the lack of workers
Nicole DeHoratius, a professor of operations management at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said that the grocery industry needs to change the idea that retail jobs are not real career opportunities. This is because the industry is still having trouble hiring enough people.
But many businesses need solutions immediately to deal with many in-store and online companies. The director of the Center for Retail Transformation at George Mason University, Gautham Vadakkepatt, thinks that retailers will move faster by using automation technology to handle tasks not only in the backrooms and warehouses but also in the areas of stores where customers can see them.
This includes putting up self-checkout kiosks and robots that scan aisles in stores. Vadakkepatt said it could eventually lead to using robots to pick up center store items while customers shop for things like produce, meat, and seafood.
DeHoratius said that if retailers invested in this operational efficiency, they could pay their workers more and give them better benefits, making them more loyal and happier.
4. Environmentally aware shoppers and the environment
Retailers must change with consumers if they want their brands to be relevant in 2022 and beyond. Brands need to show off who they are and what they stand for. “Sustainability must be at the core of their business and throughout the whole supply chain,” says Kyle Monk, Director of Insight and Analytics at the British Retail Consortium.
Conscious consumerism has been changing how people act for several years, and it is still a force to be reckoned with. People who buy things in 2022 expect the businesses they buy from to be doing better. This is because they care about the environment and want to see more diversity in the products they buy.
Chris Biggs, Global Head of Retail for the Boston Consulting Group, says, “Our research shows that 90% of consumers care about sustainability more than ever” (BCG).
” People in the United Kingdom are more likely to spend an extra 5% for a product created sustainably if the packaging and whether or not it can be recycled matter to them (41%). In light of the increasing number of consumers who favour environmentally friendly items, retail establishments were instructed to put sustainability at the top of their priorities.
To succeed in 2022, businesses and retailers must do more than simply boast about their environmental credentials. Customers will have to believe that their efforts are sincere to succeed. According to a Chartered Institute of Marketing study, consumers want firms to discuss their sustainability strategies more. However, 63% of customers doubt that these plans are true.
5. Hybrid Retail
Retailers have been learning more about the customer buying journey and how it moves from online to offline and back again, sometimes several times before a purchase is made, for a long time. Hybrid retailing is important for both big and small stores.
“Hybrid” retail strategies, according to Andrew Goodacre, CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association, are becoming more common among small businesses (BIRA).
An omnichannel strategy could be implemented by making in-store shopping appointments to improve the customer experience, looking at a customer’s online sales history to offer in-store discounts, or giving sales associates access to customer order history to make personalized recommendations. Kabbara says, “in-store sales have become a channel that works with Instagram, TikTok, or the online store.”
6. Fast Delivery Grows
One easy way for people to avoid waiting in line at the register is to have someone else do their shopping and have their groceries delivered. Grocery Dive predicts that “major retailers will implement faster operations in a big manner this year, especially as they aim to woo younger buyers” following the “ultrafast delivery explosion in New York City and the debut of faster service from e-commerce companies like DoorDash and Instacart in 2021.”
There’s a stipulation, however. If inflation continues to rise, individuals may not be willing to pay more to have their food delivered to their door. When times are tough, the cost is more essential than convenience.
Supermarket News believes that the number of companies offering fast delivery services will decline over time. By 2022, “the number of online-only grocery retailers offering fast delivery (10 to 15 minutes) will decrease as large grocery industry companies with storefronts will increase their fast delivery services and develop omnichannel ecosystems in major metro regions,” they predict.
7. Meals are better and more accessible to prepare
In recent years, they have been getting better at offering ready-made meals. Tanja Ebner, a principal at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, said that to compete with restaurants and meal delivery services like HelloFresh, they continue improving their meal options and adding digital ordering tools.
She said that Kroger’s edition of “ghost kitchens” to some of its stores is an example of how grocery stores look beyond ready-made foods to meals that can be ordered through apps like DoorDash and UberEats. Grocers are hiring more chefs and making more meals on-site or in nearby commissaries to improve the variety and quality of their food.
Ebner said, “We’ve seen them start doubting down on everything that’s a real solution.” “Meals ready to heat, ready to eat, ready to cook, and even fresh meals that taste like they came from a restaurant and are ready for pickup or delivery.”
Stern said they did well when Good Food Holdings worked with local restaurants to make meals to sell in stores during the pandemic. Now, the company is getting better at making its meals. Sweetgreen’s salad bar has been replicated at Metropolitan Market in Gig Harbor, Washington.
With opening a food hall at Bristol Farms in Irvine, California, as early as March, customers can enjoy handcrafted brands like Horton’s and Swell. DoorDash will be delivering food from all of the restaurants. When asked about the company’s goals, Stern stated, “We aim to elevate food service to new heights.”
No matter what happens in 2022, grocery stores will have to use the omnichannel method more than ever. That means giving customers the same great experience they get in their stores online and at every step of the order fulfillment process, from ordering and picking to home delivery or pickup.