The future challenges of today’s supermarkets

𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐞 (𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞?) 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 $𝟔𝟒𝟎 𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 (𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐞𝐫)𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝟔 𝐤𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬:

a. 𝚂𝚞𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚊𝚋𝚒𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚢: trade products of humane & responsible agriculture, and sell nutritional food that kids will love without the hidden payment cost of getting diabetes at age 12. Also, sustainability includes sustaining your customers – your Customer Lifetime Value depends on consumers remaining well and alive for many more decades, rather than dead from heart attack at age 50 due to bad nutrition choices.

b. 𝙾𝚙𝚎𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚎𝚏𝚏𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚟𝚎𝚗𝚎𝚜𝚜: crucial for rapid growth. Walmart is #1 because it beautifully engineered its supply chain to unheard-of efficiency. Now it’s doing this same thing with cashierless. Walmart is a great example of an innovator that has found new ways to cut costs & expenses. Compare Walmart’s genius at supply-chain efficiency vs. the food industry’s traditional approach to drive down costs: the greedy selling of obscene abominations that consumers are programmed to call “food”. Selling toxic, highly addictive and cruelly-produced processed low-grade food laden with shelf-life-enhancing chemicals, and programming the masses to call that “food”, is greedy and immoral. This form of greed is perhaps the prime reason for the western world being so ill (the US military spends more than $1.5 billion each year treating obesity-related health conditions and filling positions vacated by unfit troops).

c. 𝚃𝚎𝚌𝚑𝚗𝚘𝚕𝚘𝚐𝚒𝚌𝚊𝚕 𝙰𝚍𝚊𝚙𝚝𝚊𝚋𝚒𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚢. Supermarkets that want to remain in the competition will be forced to accept the future formats of payments, offering a wide array of digital payment options (e.g. Apple Pay) – and then pass on the savings to the consumer.

d. 𝙲𝚘𝚗𝚜𝚞𝚖𝚎𝚛 𝚎𝚍𝚞𝚌𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 in two areas:

  1. Payment & Adoption: incentivize & encourage consumers to adopt the future of grocery shopping. Sahir Anand from EnsembleIQ brings up the importance of prodding customers: “cashiers and employees in traditional retail stores make such adoption easier for consumers by prompting usage”.
  2. Choices: 1/3 of the entire world is overweight. 1/6 is technically obese. Super markets’ profit doesn’t have to come from overfeeding the world with addictive high-sugar / high-salt “food”, it can come from nurturing people. Encourage people to eat healthy, consume less (without necessarily spending less), grow a network of ethic suppliers and don’t push products you wouldn’t want your children or spouse to eat.

e. 𝙲𝚘𝚗𝚜𝚞𝚖𝚎𝚛 𝚎𝚍𝚞𝚌𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗. Change management is super hard in such a traditional economy as grocery. European countries will be the slowest to adopt due to the continent’s fanatic labor laws & regulations, so European grocery chains will have to invest in their human potential by educating employees and creating new jobs for them.

f. 𝙶𝚛𝚊𝚍𝚞𝚊𝚕 𝚛𝚘𝚕𝚕-𝚘𝚞𝚝. Not all populations will automatically fall in love with the new concept, so don’t go full-blast-cashierless immediately. It’s likely we will see baby boomers to falling in love with the cashierless revolution and becoming among the first to adopt it. Supermarkets will have to invest in Consumer Education

g. 𝚁𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚜𝚜 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝙵𝚊𝚒𝚕𝚞𝚛𝚎. Most likely, early attempts at revolutionary grocery-shopping concepts will suffer problems and bugs. So follow British retail grocer Sainsbury’s approach. Back in 2008, when their new e-commerce website crashed, they phoned 30,000 customers to apologize, and gave every one of them a $20 compensation voucher for their mess-up.

Supermarkets offer tremendous potential. They’re dynamic, demanding and competitive, and they impact the lives of nearly everyone. They are also about to change and mutate in a wild revolution. Some players will not remain, but those who will boldly adapt to new consumer expectations (while spending wisely) will thrive.

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