Even without a pandemic, the food world is always in flux. As soon as we start to get comfortable with our food choices, new trends come along to confuse and delight us. The coronavirus pandemic has only amplified this effect. From grocery shopping to eating out, 85% of consumers say their food-related habits have changed since the outbreak (FoodDive). That means retail needs to be even more reactive and responsive when it comes to trends, keeping shoppers excited and engaged and finding the right fit for the right target group.
Thanks to new data and insights tools, reacting quickly isn’t just possible—it’s the norm. Businesses need to move fast or get left behind. But how do you know what your customers want? How do you jump on emerging trends before they become mainstream? How do you stand out from the competition? The answer is simple: follow where your customers are going.
New innovative technology promises to cut out the human guesswork and instead use machine learning to identify emerging trends from social media and news outlets. It can then predict what will happen next so that brands can react quickly and smartly before their competitors have even caught on.
We’re not just talking about big, sweeping trends that we think will be important for the year ahead—we’re talking about a way to discover trends in real time.
Conscious eating for example is becoming a thing. A recent KPMG survey revealed the following:
- 90% of consumers are willing to pay more to an ethical retailer or brand that gives back to society
- 80% of customers now prefer to buy brands that align with their values
- 86% are more focused on health and wellbeing
- 37% are now prioritising sustainable products or services more than before COVID-19
Personalisation is the new loyalty
Personalisation is a retail buzzword used for many years but is just now becoming a key strategy. It makes sense – the more retailers can understand what makes us tick, the easier it is to sell us things. And we don’t just mean our name on a loyalty card. We’re seeing personalisation being seamlessly integrated into multiple touchpoints both in-store and online, from automated offers to better product suggestions based on our purchase history or our health, wellness or sustainability goals.
When done correctly, personalisation boosts engagement and increases revenue by up to 28% and sales conversion by up to 71%, according to Gartner
Accuracy and relevance are key though. As consumer expectations rise, so do their frustrations if they don’t get what they want. Retailers must now take extraordinary care to understand their customers dietary context and needs to deliver the best possible experience.
According to a 2021 Google survey, 94% of U.S. consumers abandoned a shopping session because they received irrelevant search results. It’s a phenomenon known as “search abandonment”. Google calculated that retailers miss out on a staggering $300 billion each year due to search abandonment in the U.S. alone.
3 opportunities to use smart tech to transform food shopping
1. Enabling the industry to respond and cater to consumers
2. Upgrading the shopping experience
3. Underpinning personalisation with relevancy
Changing consumer expectations are driving the need for innovation across our industry. Smart nutrition tech, especially when integrated with cloud services provided by the big tech players has the potential to transform food shopping and discovery at an unprecedented scale. The future of shopping is here, and it’s exciting too!