Groceryshop Gossip: 3 Big Themes Industry Leaders Agree On

The inaugural event was marked by all the usual Vegas suspects: lights, cameras, celebrities (albeit Grocery superstars are a far rarer sighting on The Strip), entertainment, late night networking, and for some investors even a risky gamble or two on emerging technologies and brands. With 2,200 attendees from over 900 companies and 28 countries, Groceryshop was created out of undeniable industry demand, and delivered an experience that met those requirements.

loc ai CEO Mike Demko mid presentation at the Groceryshop Start-Up Pitch Contest

locai CEO Mike Demko mid presentation at the Groceryshop Start-Up Pitch Contest

The Startup Pitch Contest kicked off the event Sunday, October 28, where locai founder and CEO Mike Demko competed against 11 other entrepreneurs for one of two $10,000 prizes. Mike led the charge, conveying a passionate 4-minute pitch, followed by provoking questions from the panel of investors. After a brutal and anxiety-inducing 2 hours, the investors announced the winners (we were a close runner up!). The pitch competition was followed by opening remarks delivered from the Chief Digital Officer of Kroger.

Throughout the 4 day event we noticed a few common ideas being repeated by speakers and industry leaders, and reaffirmed by C-Suite executives and strategic advisers. There is no denying that the landscape of grocery is changing at a rapid pace, driven by the expectations of Millennials in tandem with advances in technology and innovation. We live in a digital world, and although grocery is the largest retail category (worth a trillion dollars in the U.S. and Canada) it is the last category to shift online with less than 5% of sales happening via eCommerce. However, we’ve reached the precipice, and every major retailer is focused on the projections indicating that this number will approach 20% within the next 5 years. They’re all hungry for a slice of the pie, but who will be successful? Here are the three major things to keep in mind:

Artist rendition of  loc ai CEO Mike Demko

Artist rendition of locai CEO Mike Demko

Multi-format Fulfillment

  • There is no one-size fits all model for order fulfillment.

  • In-store, warerooms, dark stores, robotics and warehouses all have their place and advantages in a holistic and scalable strategy.

  • The bottom line? In-store fulfillment alone isn’t sustainable and grocers will need a “toolkit” of different fulfillment approaches to support the varying needs they will encounter in the markets they serve.

Focus on Omni-Channel, not just Online

  • The modern shopper wants the ability to make a purchase online, in-store, or via an app. Focusing all efforts on one channel will not increase consumer engagement over time.

  • It’s important for retailers to know their customers across channels and ensure they are meeting different customer need states as they arise.

  • The demand is for convenience, but also efficiency. There are a number of retail categories, like mattresses for example, where people may want to try something in-store but have it delivered to their door. Same goes for grocery - staples may be assigned to auto-ship, while a craving warrants a quick stop and shop on the way home.

Personalization as a Service

Here at locai we couldn’t agree more. Our platform is built with these tenants in mind. From our Order Management System - which  enables multi-format fulfillment supporting in-store pick and robotic solutions, as well as pick and pack in warerooms and dark stores via our Fulfillment Management System - to our turnkey website that delivers on an omni-channel approach to shopping, your brand fluidly greets the customer at each touch point in their grocery experience. Personalization has always been our biggest differentiator and is inherently woven into our headless architecture driving features such as Meal Planning, Searchandising, and Endless Aisles. As experienced practitioners of eGrocery, we know it’s not just about the breadth of your offering, but rather how you present it that determines the size of a basket and the satisfaction of your customer. We believe that convenience must go hand-in-hand with exceptional service, and our platform ensures this from purchase to fulfillment.