Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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A Deloitte study uncovered striking changes in consumer behavior and buying patterns in the fresh food industry in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more about consumer behavior transformation, in our earlier story.

5 Ideas to stay ahead in the fresh category

When consumer buying patterns and consumer personas change, new ideas must be implemented by the industry players to address the dynamic shifts. Here are a few ideas that can be actioned upon.

Ensure your products are fresh

Since consumers are shopping less frequently, it has become extremely important that the items are as fresh as possible at the time of purchase. To make that possible, stores need to collaborate closely with their supply chain partners, try bringing intermittent deliveries of smaller shipment sizes and use advanced analytics to reduce the gap between in-store product delivery and consumer purchase. Mechanisms could be worked out to guide consumers in store and online to buy the products that would last longest and use technology to label products with signs that state the shelf-life of the product like “fresh for six days”.

Avoid stockouts

Although it might sound obvious, avoiding stockouts has become more important than ever. Stores might lose loyal customers if they do not find their favorite items. Stores must develop an understanding of the buying patterns of conventional and contemporary buyers. They must stock intelligently and keep frozen or preserved alternatives available in case of fresh stockouts and nudge consumers subtly to choose the substitute product.

Create a fresh image/brand

Retailers must leverage all interfaces to engage and communicate with customers while emphasizing the image of fresh. Creating brand association with fresh will go a long way to win new consumers and retain loyal consumers. Retailers can use their online platforms to guide the customers towards the fresh produce and allow customers to create digital personal with their own preferences. Such details will go a long way to establish the retailer as a champion of fresh products.

Think anew and innovate

In store promotion of fresh products through placement and décor is a core strength of retailers. They must make similar efforts to engage online shoppers. Retailers can reach out to contemporary consumers with something like virtual fresh basket of the day and capitalize their propensity to try out new products. Consumers who just click on the “buy again” can be shown additional fresh produce that can complement their purchase. Since the technology is available, retailers should think innovative ways of cascading the products to garner better sales.

Keep moving forward

As the pandemic scare diminishes and people become more comfortable returning to the physical stores, the first reaction of the industry might be to invest in promotions to increase the in-store footfall. It is advised that retailers don’t fall in that trap as the future is expected to be dominated by omnichannel. It is thus essential to keep moving forward by building virtual connectivity capabilities, especially now when the future course of the pandemic is rather uncertain. With their affinity for virtual channels, the younger contemporary consumers are expected to pull the industry towards omnichannel presence eventually, hence, to stay ahead, industry leaders must decide to lead.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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