Grocers lean on technology to address ‘extreme obstacles,’ but is the strategy paying off or costing more?

According to the trade group’s recently published annually survey, The Food Retailing Industry Speaks,​ investments in technology could hold the key to overcoming these challenges – but at what cost?

‘Rapid adoption of technology was and is a key component’​ to overcome challenges

Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI, noted that retailers and suppliers seeking equilibrium in their operations and to adapt to the darkening economic landscape are embracing new technologies that “improve our operational efficiency, while also reimaging the way we engage with our customers and serve the communities that we operate in.”

This includes expanding ecommerce, adopting frictionless checkout in stores and the use of new tech to manage inventory planning, pricing and differentiation is a double-edge sword that promises long-term gains but limited short-term benefits, according to the survey.

“Rapid adoption of technology was and is a key component of helping food retailers and their suppliers overcome many of the challenges posed by COVID-19,”​ with almost three quarters of food retailers continuing to invest in and experiment with technology to improve customer experience and enhance business efficiencies, said Mark Baum, chief collaboration officer.

He explained, “Last year, food retailers invested an average of 1.3% of total sales, or more than $1.5b in technology and 83% expect their technology increases to increase again this year. Some of the areas that they are really seeing a big technology makeover include technology to personalize shoppers’ experiences, to enhance foodservice ordering and delivery and to allow for dynamic pricing, product traceability and especially around mobile checkout systems to make checking out faster and more frictionless.”



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