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Webinar Recap: Personalization in Grocery Retail

The industrial revolution brought about producing and focusing on the masses. Now in the information age data is everything and the focus has moved from the masses to the individual. Personalization is a key factor in building loyalty. Whether that be for a store banner or a store brand. People are more receptive to something they feel is personalized towards them. This may be a fairly obvious point, but how does one go about personalizing a grocery store for one shopper? Truth is you can’t but the webinar I listened to busted 4 myths about personalization in grocery retail and also gave a few digital recommendations at the end for how to add more personalization for your shoppers.

Myth 1: Shoppers want everything to be personalized.

This has some truth to it because consumers consider the act of shopping an act of personalization in itself. Shoppers still want to maintain control but retailers should look to help them while also empowering them during their time in store. It is important that retailers don’t make their customizations feel manipulative to the shopper. Retailers must walk a fine line in order to make a shopping experience feel tailored while also giving the consumer the freedom to shop and buy like they want. No one likes to feel pressured when they are shopping or purchasing anything. Also, shoppers are visiting more banners and using more channels to shop. So, the odds of every channel or banner that a shopper uses being personalized are very low.  Consumers want to know more about the retailers the spend their money at. So instead of personalized it is becoming more personal. Shoppers want stores to provide information about their position on social issues, product philosophy and company values. 

Myth 2: Personal eating requirements mean shoppers buy for individuals rather than a family.

The presenter gave a great analogy for this. It is the reverse of a Spock quote from Star Trek, “The needs of one outweigh the needs of the many.”  This meaning that meals or shopping is catered to one member of the family or household. FMI’s survey didn’t fall in line with this assertion. Families still want to eat together and this requires balancing among personal and shared tastes. Households with children all answered very similarly that everyone eats whatever meal is prepared. The personalization came from different sauces or dressings used. 75% of shopping comes from families or households of more than one person. So, this also adds to the difficulty of personalizing shopping. Most of the time a consumer is shopping for the needs or wants of many.

Myth 3: Specialized eating habits are the domain of specialty retail and others cannot compete.

33% of households say that at least one member is following a non-medically prescribed dietary restriction. (Vegan, Keto or Paleo) 49% of Gen Z and 38% of Millennials are following some sort of dietary approach. What has changed though is people don’t want to follow the rule book anymore and consider their approaches to eating more fluid. This kind of personalization reflects the aspirations for a more permissive and livable approach to consuming food. People choose personal preference and enjoyment over almost everything else. Bridging the gap between healthy and enjoyable. Providing your shoppers, the ability to fulfill their dietary needs is a key component to driving loyalty. Retailers need to keep in mind that specialty stores find it easy to understand and make dietary recommendations but they do not own these benefits.

Myth 4: Digital platforms are more easily customizable, so they should be the focus of personalization initiatives.

Digital should amplify rather than replace non-digital efforts. Sharing personal data and supporting personal eating requires permission and a foundation of existing trust. Retailers should reinforce what already works and build the trust of its shoppers. First look to attract shoppers back in store. Most consumers express some willingness to share personal info to help a store become more familiar with their shopping needs.

  • 64% for discounts unavailable to others.
  • 57% for a faster shopping trip.
  • 53% if the selection of products reflected their needs.
  • 46% if they received info about products they want.
  • 45% if it made it easier to plan a shopping trip.
  1. Show your shoppers that you are utilizing the customer data you currently have.
  2. Demonstrate the value of any data collected.
  3. Be as transparent as possible with the data while also ensuring its safe. 
  4. Design new tools/platforms and allow your shoppers to control the data.

I grew up in a small town in Northern Missouri that if you blinked while driving through you’d miss it. After high school I attended Northwest Missouri State University (OABAAB) where I graduated with a degree in Marketing & Management. Outside of work I enjoy all Kansas City sports teams (even though the Chiefs constantly break my heart) and going to any concert in KC area worth listening to. I also enjoy the outdoors, my animals, and spending time with my family.