Thursday, May 09, 2013 by Lee Mannering
Despite uncertainties around rising fuel prices and the overall U.S. economy, retail expectations for sales in 2013 remain optimistic according to Progressive Grocer’s Annual Report of the Grocery Industry. This annual survey of retail executives found that private label, produce, and deli/prepared foods are the top three traffic generators – with the highest expectations being tied to higher produce sales this year.
This optimism was also reflected when respondents ranked the most influential in-store department in terms of driving stores’ overall brand/image:
- Meat/fresh meats: 49.6 percent
- Produce: 28.1 percent
- Deli/prepared foods: 12.6 percent
- Grocery/dry grocery: 10.4 percent
- Bakery: 8.1 percent
One section of the annual report that has grown during the past three years has been the focus on connecting to consumers in new ways (via social media, mobile, etc.). The top five benefits of mobile devices/smartphones listed by respondents were: weekly sale items (68 percent); e-coupons (64 percent); personalized discounts (39 percent); e-recipes (31 percent); and price comparisons (28 percent).
As for social media, it trailed only associate feedback as an extremely/very effective strategy to tap into consumer insights. When it came to retail attitudes on social media, 57 percent of retail respondents characterized it as “challenging,” while others described it as “insightful” (33 percent) and a “blessing” (27 percent).
And wherever there’s a blessing, there’s typically also a “curse” to go with it (with 10 percent of respondents feeling this way).
If you’re a supplier or retailer with the “curse” mindset concerning social media, you may want to put our Fresh Connections: San Diego on your calendar. From June 11-12, we’ll be looking at how to reach the digitally connected consumer and other key trends. Even though it’s about a month out, a number of influential buyers have already registered for this event.