Grocery goes high-tech – and social

After enduring 18 months in a punishing economy, grocers have emerged in better shape than most retail segments according to the Fifth Annual Supermarket Benchmark Study from RIS News and IDC Retail Insights. Still, there are no expectations of returning to business as usual, and technology is a key linchpin in grocers' business strategy going forward.

This fact was aptly demonstrated by Ilkka Alarotu who heads up consumer analytics and pricing for S Group, the largest grocery cooperative in Finland in the recent webinar Optimizing Shopper Insights For Grocery Retailers.

During the webcast, Ilkka shared how S Group (EUR 12.3 billion in sales last year) is working on optimization, including value chain, pricing and space planning optimization (they have more than 40,000 store-based planograms per assortment period) -- all built on predictive analytics and the ability to accurately forecast supply and demand.

Facebook for groceries
S Group is also a leader in providing social networking for its shoppers with an interactive Web community, digital shopping list and recipe recommendation site called Foodie.fm. Users can access personalized recipe and product suggestions, comment on recipes, and see updates and recommendations from family and friends they follow on the site.

Not only does Foodie.fm provide price, product and nutritional information of over 15,000 products available in S Group stores, users can also order the suggested groceries and have them delivered to their doorsteps.

“The personalization technology provides a state-of-the-art way for us to meet the unique needs of individual consumers,” said Alarotu. Added bonus – S Group get tons of information from the site on shopping behavior, customer preferences and much more.

Tune in to the webcast to hear more from Alarotu on how S Group’s grocery division has achieved 44 percent market share in Finland, as well as tips on becoming a shopper-centered merchant from grocery industry consultant Jim Hertel and case studies from SAS’ Cyndy Renfrow. One national US grocer Cyndy worked with used analytics to target its promotions and achieved a 40 percent redemption rate (compared to the industry average of 2 percent).

tags: customer intelligence, Cyndy Renfrow, digital shopping, grocery, Ilkka Alarotu, Jim Hertel, retail, S Group

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