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Grocers can’t react at the speed of the customer says Blue Yonder

Chris Field
Chris Field

Analytics business Blue Yonder says that retailers are not delivering on their brand promise to the multichannel consumer because they can’t react to their speed.

This finding comes after Blue Yonder spoke to 750 grocery managers and directors in the USA, UK, Germany and France about their customer experience delivery.

90% had ‘issues’ in meeting customer requirements, according to the research, while 25% said they fall short on delivering a true omnichannel experience.

Interestingly, around 35% directors in the UK felt that they have to make too many decisions, and those decisions are not being made fast enough. Speed of delivery was an issue for 20%. In addition, the UK’s supply chains were considered the weakest across the globe – which is extraordinary given the vast territories facing American organisations. What is likely more true is that UK consumers are more demanding.

Survival of the quickest

Blue Yonder says this inability to respond fast enough is a survival issue. The company sells services that enable better forecasting and replenishment, but its big differentiator is machine learning. “Only those retailers who understand the importance of advanced machine learning algorithms and big data will survive and thrive in grocery retail into the future,” it remarked.

What the report does not get into is the relative speed of delivery by category. Clearly, the holy grail is fresh, which is where the profit is. Get fresh right and the rest will follow – most of the time. Morrison had a well-differentiated offer on fresh, but has now more or less abandoned many of the tenets it has offered since the days of Ken.

Fresh isn’t easy, but the opportunities are huge. The consumer is only going to get more and more demanding, and may start to make even more different choices across different channels. Particularly with the advent of new players like Amazon Fresh.

While I don’t think for a moment that Amazon is going to dominate fresh, it will reset all expectations, and pile more pressure and cost onto the retailer.

For more insights into current retail challenges – and how to solve them – visit our Retail Connections website

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