38,000 supermarkets in the US bring in $650 billion per year, according to FMI and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And thanks to big box retailers like Walmart and Target’s determination to capitalize on consumers’ enduring hunger, competition in grocery is cutthroat and profit margins razor-thin.
Technology can help retailers modernize operations, reduce shrink, and drive sales. But not all retail technology is suited to grocery. Today’s average supermarket stocks 40,000 SKUs more than it did in the 1990s. In terms of operations, that’s a lot of vendors (and merchandise) to manage.
Further complicating grocery store operations is employee turnover, which is particularly high in this retail vertical. The more non-management, part-time workers a supermarket has, the more likely it is to suffer from high turnover. And, the rate of employee turnover skyrockets from 28.1 percent in rural settings to 40.2 percent in urban, metropolitan areas.
The autonomy of category managers also makes food retail unique. Each category is a mini business. As such, category managers have the power to decide how to merchandise and price their area to keep vendors and shoppers happy. It’s an effective strategy, but means there’s more variation in pricing, availability, and presentation from one store to another than there are in other retail verticals.
In the beginning, most of our partners were convenience retailers. Over time, however, we carved out a niche in grocery because we address the above (and so many other) challenges. Here are 3 ways CB4 helps grocers bring home the bacon.
CB4 Lessens Disruption Caused by Employee Turnover
We’ve can all agree that employee turnover in any retail store is a problem, and the numbers show that the problem is made worse in supermarket settings. New employees don’t know exactly where products go and aren’t well-versed with the merchandising issues to which their store is likely to fall prey. Thus, stores with high turnover are more susceptible to operational issues.
The challenge becomes even more severe as grocers make their stores the hub for e-commerce shipments. Store teams are stretched thin, and therefore less likely to have the time and walk the floor to check for merchandising problems. The store’s sales velocity grows. Items are not properly scanned. Or they’re misplaced. Out-of-stocks prevail. Pressure for stores to become fulfillment centers further aggravate store operations.
Without the guidance from CB4’s app, whether these issues are fixed is left to blind luck. Sales associates and managers walk their floors, fixing whatever obstacles to sales they happen to spot. In a high-end boutique selling just a few niche products, this might work. But not in a dynamic supermarket selling upwards of 40,000 SKUs with heavy foot traffic.
But CB4 is a grocery store technology that helps store managers quickly fix the operational issues that are costing them most. Grocery store managers with CB4 get a weekly list of the SKUs that are underselling most severely. Store managers can fix each SKU in about 5 minutes to restore sales, and then get back to serving customers, training new employees, and all the other important tasks on their list.
CB4 Keeps Customers Loyal
Think loyalty’s all about personalized offers via mobile apps? Sure grocery loyalty apps can be highly effective. But there’s also the original method of personalization: ensuring availability for each and every product your local shoppers want.
So finds InMoment, a firm that specializes in customer experience intelligence. Forbes writes that InMoment’s research found that “one-third of shoppers say that finding the item they want, where they expect it, is among the top two reasons for shopping a physical store.” In-store shoppers are there to see, touch, and feel the products they came for. When issues in store prevent them from doing that, 48.9 percent of grocery shoppers head to a competitor, according to our survey of 1,000 US-based grocery shoppers.
At a high level, CB4’s patented AI algorithms discover hidden local demand patterns in retailers point of sales data. The technology pinpoints demand for specific SKUs at each store in a grocer’s chain. Then, CB4 sends store teams recommendations to investigate SKUs with high hyperlocal demand that aren’t selling to expectation.
Often, the problem is easily fixed. A category manager may need to get an out of stock issue on a vendor’s radar. Perhaps one product’s sign is covering up another’s. An item may have been left in the stockroom. Whatever the issue, CB4 will guide the user in resolving the issue. In CB4 stores, customers successful find and purchase local favorites (often left off the chainwide top sellers list) that would otherwise be unavailable to them. As a result, shoppers are more likely to return with their grocery list (or for their quick stop) the following week rather than head to a competitor.
CB4 Enhances Category Insights
Category managers and buyers are there to actively manage and maintain relationships that affect their category’s business. Sometimes, these decisions are made higher up the chain. A buyer will flag a store—perhaps as “suburban” vs. “city”—and then draw on commonly held assumptions about what (and how much) that store can sell.
Likewise, in-store category managers operate autonomously. This means they have the power to make store-level merchandising decisions independent of the broader organization. In both cases, it’s hard to strike a balance between what an individual store decision-maker knows the store needs and what the data for the larger chain seemingly reveals about demand.
Grocers who use CB4 often get recommendations for persistently out-of-stock merchandise. When inventory levels are set too low, stores sell out of locally loved products. An assumption someone made was clearly wrong. Without CB4’s grocery store technology, the problem would continue undetected because neither the category manager nor the buyer is even aware that this store could sell more of that item.
There’s a lot going on in grocery. Tens of thousands of SKUs to stock, employees to manage, and customers to keep happy. CB4 helps you resolve the costliest issues that are hurting sales most in the shortest amount of time possible. After spending under an hour a week using CB4, store teams can get back to all the other important tasks on their list.
Learn how CB4’s grocery store technology helps store managers identify and resolve urgent floor execution issues in their stores that damage the customer experience and hurt sales. For a deeper dive, check out our case studies on what CB4 is doing at Associated Food Stores and Heinen’s. percent