Unprecedented. Paradigm shift. Novel. All words used to describe 2020.
You would be hard-pressed to find an industry that made it through 2020 unchanged. At TRUNO, we marched right alongside as the grocery retail industry was catapulted into the spotlight overnight. Pushed to its limits and forced to rapidly innovate, grocers weathered every storm the pandemic threw its way. Now, as the skies begin to clear, and we optimistically look to brighter days – what are key technology takeaways to carry into 2021?
1. An upgrade today, saves a heartache tomorrow.
Reliable, updated infrastructures were better prepared for the roller coaster that was 2020. With new operational problems to solve such as social distancing and inventory shortages, a dependable point of sale infrastructure with little cause for worry was vital. Typically, we see grocers operate on 30% of lane openings during regular seasons. In 2020, grocers were forced to open all lanes for extended periods of time. We saw retailers that experienced the negative impact of putting off the recommended upgrade in a big and sudden way.
Key takeaway: A great technology partner should work in tandem with your team to maximize your return, while ensuring your technology investment doesn’t become a high-risk liability.
2. Self-checkout is not a luxury, it is an expectation.
2020 created two schools of thought surrounding self-checkout:
A. “I’m so glad we have self-checkout; how can we get more lanes inside our store footprint?”
B. “I wish we would have made the investment sooner; how quickly can we get self-checkout inside our stores?”
Self-checkout technology saw enormous growth in 2020. In fact, TRUNO saw an increase in sales by well over 200% year over year. Consumers now view a pod of self-checkout lanes as a basic need when shopping in-store, not a luxury experience. And, we all know when consumer needs aren’t met – the customer is often very quickly lost.
Key takeaway: If you don’t master self-checkout technology in 2021, you just might lose customers to those that do.
3. Customer loyalty has as much to do with in-store experience as digital experience.
As the vaccine rolls out across America, we all hope life begins to go back to normal. The reality is – we’ve changed as people and as consumers.
Post-2020 ample space for social distancing and self-checkout is as important as the quality, speed and accuracy of the order delivered to a doorstep. Well-timed, personalized emails with easy to use coupons are as important to growing a basket size as in-store display marketing and signage. With consumers rapidly adopting eCommerce in 2020, the experience you provide online will continue to play an increasingly important role. 2020 has solidified that the customer experience now expands outside your brick and mortar.
Key takeaway: Retailers, of all sizes, must focus on concurrently delighting customers with in-store and digital experiences to drive loyalty and growth in 2021.
2021 will be the true test of longevity for many independent grocery retailers as we navigate the new normal post-covid. Those that best succeed will latch onto new technologies and embrace the culture shift. We’ve weathered the storm, now is the time to adjust the sail.
Where is your grocery store headed in 2021?