Tag Archives: Brick and Mortar

Amazon: Prime-Time For The Grocery Industry

The grocery industry is the most pedestrian of retail endeavors – customers drive to stores, pick and pack their shopping, pay and then drive home. Many have tried to e-commercialize the grocery industry, but the business model never really seemed to work. The consumers desire to touch and feel grocery products before purchasing has been a barrier to widespread adoption of online grocery.

The food industry has traditionally been based around trust and price, not technology – and Whole Foods is known for providing a high level of trust and product transparency to its consumers through detailed product information. After a short dip into e-commerce, Whole Foods has refocused on brick-and-mortar retail growing 35 fold over the last 15 years (Fortune 2017)

And now, with the acquisition of Whole Foods Amazon sends a clear message to grocers that it is ready to play and, at least partly e-commercialize the grocery game. They’ve already dipped their toes in food and grocery in the past through Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry, but this gives them more robust access to high-quality food and more power to delivery grocery products more immediately to customers. It is also a bold statement that Amazon is serious about brick-and-mortar and at the same time this step finally fully validates cross-channel commerce as the future of grocery.

As the lines between online and in store have blurred, Amazon has realized that location will be a key driver for commerce success. Having access to Whole Foods’ 431 existing stores, gives them valuable distribution centers to bring fresh, localized products directly to customers. Amazon was also likely motivated to reach Whole Foods’ millennial audience and develop loyalty with the younger, more quality-conscious consumer.

This generation is more particular about where they buy their food and the ingredients in it, so Amazon will be able to earn the trust of these buyers through Whole Foods’ reputation and its strong identity as a trustworthy source for organic, GMO-free, high-quality food – that consumer trust will now be transferred to Amazon.  

Consumers need to be met wherever they are, whether in store or on their smartphones, but the importance here is an integrated approach. No one channel is the clear answer, but companies that stay competitive will need to more tightly integrate all of their approaches, both physical and digital.

Consumers are the key winners here, as the bar for success in the grocery industry is going to be much higher in the future. Competitive pricing, upgraded digital experiences, and more innovation will directly benefit customers.

Companies that aren’t paying attention to larger trends will lose as consumers demand for more product content; the value of an omni-channel approach to grocery; and the importance of consistent experiences across every channel.

To summarize, consumers aren’t tolerant of brands that look different online than in-store, and this is more important in the grocery market, as missing or misleading product information has the potential for serious harm.

Essential 2017 Omni-Channel Tips: How to Beat The Competition In The Digital Era

There is no denying it…2016 was a rough year for various brick and mortar retailers. The 2016 holiday season  wasn’t as merry as industry pundits anticipated, resulting in the following store closures:

  • Hancock Fabrics:  Filed chapter 11; all 255 stores    
  • The Limited: Filed chapter 11; all 250 stores
  • Office Depot/Office Max – Merged; closed 400 stores
  • Sears / Kmart:  Closed 142 stores (10% of its store base)
  • Sports Authority: Filed chapter 11; all 140 stores
  • Macys: Closed 100 stores
  • American Eagle: Closed 150 stores   

The ‘Amazon’ Effect Takes a Bite Out of Brick & Mortar

The root of their problems may lie with a company that isn’t even competing with them for customers at the mall: Amazon.com. Amazon has been poised for success in its pursuit of relentless innovation and a seamless blend of the warehouse processing efficiencies with the e-commerce shopping experience.  

It is estimated that Amazon makes up about 7% of the U.S. apparel market, and that figure is predicted to increase to 19% by 2020 (Barrons 2016). Moreover, the 2016 “State of Amazon” study revealed that Amazon is often involved in almost all online shopping activities (Consumer Goods Technology 2016). Approximately 9 in 10 consumers will check Amazon even if they find a product they want on another retailer’s website.

Blurred Lines & Blended Commerce – The Changing Face of Retail

Today’s consumers float freely from physical shopping to virtual experiences as traditional and modern shopping models unify  into blended commerce. Pure e-commerce retailers are evaluating retail store fronts, while traditional brick and mortar retailers are rapidly pursuing online and mobile commerce channels.

“The shift in retail to the Internet is a huge change… every retail company is trying to manage the transition. It’s not well defined or understood and there’s no road map” said Simeon Gutman, a retailing analyst for Morgan Stanley (New York Times 2015).

Given the consumer’s lofty expectations for an integrated cross-channel shopping experience, there is a steady race to remain relevant in a hyper-competitive retail environment.

While Amazon is expanding its physical presence, Walmart is strengthening its ecommerce strides (eMarketer 2017).

At the beginning of 2017, Amazon announced that it will open its newest brick-and-mortar bookstore in New York City. At the same time, Jet.com – a Walmart subsidiary – announced that they purchased online footwear retailer ShoeBuy.

Achieving Operational Excellence Between Brick And Click

Clearly, today’s world of commerce requires a multi-pronged approach. Trying to match the convenience of Amazon with an integrated supply chain with personalized and trusted product content is no easy feat.

A connected commerce approach supports a harmonious model in which transactional and product data work together to optimize the supply chain process.

1WorldSync and DiCentral have set out to explore how brick & mortar retailers can develop the operational backbone that supports e-commerce investments.

Download their joint whitepaper now  and discover how to:

  • Equip your organizations with strategies that set leading digital commerce business apart
  • Connect cloud-based B2B integration with product content aggregation and syndication;
  • Achieve streamlined end-to-end digital commerce in a cost-effective and scalable manner.

References

  1. “Amazon Could Be Largest U.S. Company by 2020.” Barrons. 2 June 2016, http://www.barrons.com/articles/amazon-could-be-largest-u-s-company-by-2020-1464866783
  2. “Amazon Set to Dominate 2016 Holiday Shopping”. Consumer Goods Technology. 27 September 2016. https://consumergoods.com/amazon-set-dominate-2016-holiday-shopping
  3. “Walmart Plays Catch-Up with Amazon.” New York Times, October 22, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/business/walmart-plays-catch-up-with-amazon.html?_r=0
  4. “Omnichannel 2017: Amazon and Walmart Make Moves”. EMarketer. 9 Jan 2017. https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Omnichannel-2017-Amazon-Walmart-Make-Moves/1015000