Keynote highlights |Chain Store Age


The second and third days of the Groceryshop 2019 conference, being held September 15-18 in Las Vegas, saw several keynoters take the main stage. Below are some highlights from their remarks.

• John Furner, CEO, Sam’s Club:
“People are continuing to trade up to premium products. That tells me consumers are feeling pretty good.”

“[With increased automation], the total number of jobs has remained the same, but the jobs are different.”

• Luke Jensen, CEO, Ocado Solutions:
“As the [online] market grows, the in-store fulfillment model becomes more and more difficult. When you fulfill from a fulfillment center, the more you grow the business, the better the economics.”

“It’s not about robots versus people. It’s about creating value-added jobs that people are going to want.”

“Don’t think of e-commerce as a channel. Think of it as a catalyst to transform grocery for the better by addressing such issues as food waste, employment and delivering a better customer experience all around.”

• Farhan Siddiqi, chief digital office, Ahold Delhaize:
“Human computer interface, automation/robotization and intelligence — put all three together, and that’s where the magic happens.

• Stephanie Lundquist, executive VP and president of food and beverage, Target:
“Our goal in grocery is to be Target. Food and beverage should be part of the magic Target experience.”

“Our experience has been that new [Target] owned brands lift entire categories.”

• Stu Landesberg, CEO, Grove Collaborative:
Grove, a DTC natural home products start-up, has befitted from “incredible word of mouth,” from trusted referrals and trusted recommendations. People like to talk about “the good choices they are making.”

• Carolyn Tastad, group president of North America at Procter & Gamble:
“Being high-tech isn’t enough. Brands also need to become more high-touch.”

“Transparency has become a fundamental principle. We build trust when we offer it and erode trust when we don’t.”

• Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO, Boxed:
Boxed, the six-year-old warehouse club-styled online retailer that sells groceries, household products and other items by bulk, offers 1,700 SKUs, with two to five items per category, which enables easy selection. The retailer benefits from large baskets, with inventory turns of 12 to 15 times a year.

But Boxed’s home-grown warehouse technology may be its biggest advantage. It includes order management systems, mobile technology, software that monitors and lists expiration dates on every product allowing for supply chain transparency and automated robots. It’s an end-to-end stack that gives Boxed the flexibility to quickly adjust its operations to meet consumer demand.

“A fully integrated, tap-to-delivery platform is the only long-term solution for e-Commerce,” Huang said.

Boxed was one of the first retailers to take a stand against the so-called
“pink tax” on select women’s items. In 2016, it focused on personal care products and changed its pricing so that customers pay equal prices for equal products, regardless of their gender. It also reduced the list price on feminine hygiene products in states where they are taxed. In total, Boxed’s “Rethink Pink” Campaign dropped the price on 20 items. Huang estimated that the company has saved shoppers a total of more than $1 million.

Other insightful remarks were heard during the array of Groceryshop’s track sessions. Here are a few.

• Jola Burnett, GfK
“Forty-percent of Internet traffic is fake. Credibility is hard to come by in the online world.”

“Make transparency a part of your DNA.”

• Katherine Black, KPMG
When it comes to driving the “extra mile” to shop, “Aldi and Trader Joe’s are over indexing.”

Consumers’ biggest time-detractor frustrations when shopping in store include out of stocks (60%), waiting in line (59%) and stores difficult to navigate (29%)

• Marcis Web, Nielsen
“Fifty-percent of consumers’ perception of price in a [grocery] store is driven by 10 items.”

“The store of the future will focus more on the consumer than the competition.”

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