Retailers must respond to the trends of customization and personalization to keep up with the changes happening in grocery, according to consulting firm Brick Meets Click.

Supermarkets need to offer a selection of ways for consumers to shop for and buy their products, and in a new paper Brick Meets Click makes three recommendations on that topic.

First, companies should invest in the search capabilities of their websites.

Searches should produce accurate results, but consumers should also be able to search by product attribute.

“To date, some retailers have been slow to add attributes because it hasn’t always been clear how they add value to the business, but leveraging product attributes is becoming essential for being a nimble competitor and satisfying shoppers’ needs,” Brick Meets Click wrote in the paper. “For example, grocers who can quickly identify where product sales are increasing faster than the category will be able move first with products trending ahead of the market — and therefore deliver a better customer experience that will capture more spending.”

Second, companies should offer pickup along with delivery.

Brick Meets Click found that about 25% of online grocery shoppers only use pickup, so supermarkets that only offer delivery are missing out on a significant chunk of the market. In addition, the firm projects that the role of pickup will continue to grow because it has several benefits for shoppers and stores.

Pickup costs less for everyone, triggers additional in-store purchases and allows stores to maintain their personal connections with consumers.

“Offering both services is the best way to reach and satisfy your omnichannel audience,” Brick Meets Click wrote. “Shoppers expect to be able to customize the way they shop so that it fits into their life — and this includes choosing the way they receive their online grocery orders.”

Third, companies should watch the evolution of smaller formats to see what trends in grocery are getting the most traction.

Brick Meets Click notes that retailers are using such stores to test out innovations that could be rolled out more broadly later.

“The successful small formats will be fundamentally different, built to be economically viable in serving specific trip missions, and they will leverage smarter technologies to deliver curated, localized assortment strategies to optimize sales per square foot,” the firm wrote. “This trend will only intensify as online grocery grows and stores can reduce their in-store assortment.”


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