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The digitalization of grocery stores: A game changer for CPGs

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By: Andrew Cron, SVP & Chief Scientist
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In the fluid, fast-paced world of retail, digitalization has become a key driver of innovation and customer engagement. Grocery stores, in particular, are undergoing a significant transformation as they embrace digital technologies to provide shoppers with a seamless and personalized experience.

This shift towards digitalization not only benefits consumers but also presents new opportunities for CPG brands to enhance their presence and maximize value. Here are 6 ways in which grocery stores are becoming digitalized and the implications for CPG brands.

1. Digital screens enhancing the in-store experience

The integration of IoT-enabled smart screens in grocery stores is revolutionizing the shopping experience. These screens combine the convenience and speed of online shopping with the physical presence of a store.

With features such as digital door screens that display banner ads, nutrition labels, and real-time pricing and promotions, customers are provided with relevant information at their fingertips. By leveraging digital screens effectively, CPGs and retailers make the in-store shopping experience even easier for customers, leading to increased brand awareness and customer satisfaction.

2. Better supply chains for improved efficiency

From digital shelf tags to smart screens, digitalization enables grocery retailers to track inventory in real-time, leading to more efficient supply chain management. With access to accurate and up-to-date data, retailers can make informed decisions regarding purchasing, stocking, and supply management. This data-driven approach not only optimizes operations but also helps predict consumer behavior and reduce waste. Sharing information seamlessly up and down the supply chain fosters agility and flexibility, ultimately benefiting both retailers and CPG brands.

3. Mobile apps for enhanced customer engagement

Mobile apps play a vital role in staying connected with customers across channels and offering personalized experiences. Grocery store apps enable shoppers to organize their shopping lists, browse products, connect with customer service, access personalized coupons, and learn about sales and promotions. By participating in digital campaigns and promotions, CPGs can maintain top-of-mind awareness, increase customer loyalty, and drive sales through personalized offers.

4. Virtual reality testing and digital twins

To push the boundaries of innovation, CPGs and retailers are exploring technologies like virtual reality testing and digital twins. Virtual reality testing gives CPGs the flexibility to test shopper responses to shelf arrangements, display and signage, package design and more, enhancing in-store test results.

Digital twins enable stores to simulate and optimize their layout, ensuring an efficient shopping experience and maximizing sales potential.

5. Retail video analytics

Rapid advancements in technologies like computer vision and machine learning have unlocked the potential for retailers to extract valuable business insights from security cameras. This breakthrough has given rise to a new category of enterprise applications known as retail video analytics. By combining video data with visual maps and integrating various variables such as product SKUs, sales data, store location, time of day, marketing campaigns, signage, store layout and more, retailers and CPGs can gain insights for improving the shopper experience. Video analytics can provide insights into foot traffic patterns, high/low traffic areas and customer interactions with products and displays. This real-time point of view empowers retailers to make data-driven decisions on store layout, product placement and staffing, ultimately enhancing the overall shopping experience.

However, it is crucial to strike a balance between leveraging video analytics and protecting customer privacy. Retailers must prioritize implementing privacy measures and adhere to ethical guidelines. By responsibly utilizing video analytics while maintaining privacy standards, retailers can anticipate demand, optimize store operations, provide CPGs with deeper insights and ultimately offer a seamless and personalized shopping experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

6. Dynamic batching for seamless order fulfillment

The fulfillment of online orders using in-store inventory presents a significant opportunity for retailers and CPGs. By leveraging smart picking strategies such as dynamic batching, retailers can efficiently meet customer pick-up needs while helping pickers work more efficiently and increase sales throughput. Machine learning combined with store maps, inventory data, and customer orders enable retailers to adapt flexibly to customer preferences. This streamlined process benefits both retailers and CPGs by providing customers with the convenience they desire and driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A new shopping era

As grocery stores embrace digitalization, a new era of shopping experiences is unfolding. From digital screens and better supply chains to mobile apps and innovative technologies, digital transformation is reshaping the way customers interact with stores and CPG brands. By leveraging digital advancements, grocery stores and CPG brands have the potential to create a seamless, personalized, and immersive shopping experience that meets the expectations of today’s shoppers.

8451 SME Profile Headshots 385 X 400 Andrew Cron 2 X
Andrew Cron, SVP & Chief Scientist
Andrew Cron leads Supply Chain, Retail Ops, and R&D. The team includes:  Supply Chain Operations & Replenishment (SCORe), Forecasting CoE and 84.51° Labs. These teams accelerate transformational data science technolog...

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