With Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last year, the retail food and beverage landscape at the end of 2017 looks much different than it did at the beginning. All of the sudden, a buying platform with a focus on customer data has moved into a marketplace where produce was traditionally the focus.
What could possibly change next? And how do you leverage change to make this your next big opportunity?
At the end of 2017, there are trends we know will impact the bottom line in 2018:
- Foot traffic is down across almost every retail category as shoppers migrate in waves to online channels. Customers that shop online are more informed. With online retailers vying for their attention via well-targeted deals, they’re also more selective.
- Business giants are launching private labels to drive loyalty and raise margins with more stability than national brands offer.
- Big companies have gobbled up startups, with some founding their own corporate investment vehicles.
The industry has not been shocked into submission, however. Food and beverage retailers are transforming the online, informed customer into their most valuable asset — creating new products and channels to build loyalty. Here are just some of the ways the industry is adapting:
- To appeal to customers demands to buy into a healthy, renewable lifestyles, food manufacturers are investing in plant-based foods. Some even focus on compostable, plant-based packaging.
- For shoppers, security isn’t just about payments. So food manufacturers are investing in blockchain-enabled technologies to improve ingredient transparency and food safety — tracking contamination sources faster than ever before.
- The enlightened shopper doesn’t have to go to the grocery store, so the grocery store will now come to her. Food subscription services, automated ordering and smart vending machines are ways vendors push beyond the storefront to the next generation of food sales.
How do you respond in this environment?
Get connected with big data.
Big data has already taken over farm management, delivery route systems and warehouse logistics. It’s time to turn those tools toward gaining a better understanding of the customer.
Understanding customers’ desires in real time is the challenge. By mining the data you already have, you can meet that informed customer while they’re making the decision to buy.
Collecting data is one thing — food and beverage leaders also need to be able to access the insights buried in those reports. Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool so you can track customer identity across social media, email, website visits and orders. Keep that customer coming back by knowing what he or she is likely to buy, and making it available.
Your use of data doesn’t stop there. Integrate the data you have – purchases, spend and inventory – to automate everything from ordering based on need and price to shipping based on most cost-effective option. Your data should be warning you about issues with food safety, when expired stock is being thrown away and when you have government compliance issues. Your business intelligence system should give you insights to problems before they affect your customer, and ways you can grow the number on your bottom line.
NexTec has the tools and the knowledge to help you take your food and beverage business to the next level, with integrated BI/CRM platforms to help you solve the puzzle of who is your next, best customer. Contact us a day when you’re ready for the solution.