Hybrid Cloud and AI Reshapes Grocery Retail Industry

27% of respondents report hybrid shopping is their method of choice.

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Mixing physical and digital channels in shopping journeys is on the rise, as retailers must become more agile to meet customers where they are, integrating digital and in-store experiences, according to a study from IBM and National Retail Federation (NRF).

“While many surveyed consumers still place high value on the traditional in-store shopping experience, they also now expect the flexibility to build their own shopping journey, according to the behaviors prevalent to their age range, available tools and the product category they are looking to purchase,” says Mark Mathews, VP of research development and industry analysis at NRF. “This ‘hybrid’ approach is a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.”


From IBM:

  • 72% of respondents say they use the store as all or part of their primary purchase method.
  • Top reasons respondents choose to visit a store include touching and feeling products before buying (50%), picking and choosing their own products (47%) and getting products right away (43%).
  • 27% of respondents report hybrid shopping is their method of choice.
  • 62% of respondents are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact, up from 57% two years ago.
  • Half of respondents say they’re willing to pay a premium for sustainability.


“The survey shows over the last year, sustainability became increasingly important to consumers, though there’s still a gap between their intentions and actions due to lack of information in the buying process. Increasingly, it's becoming essential that retail brands demonstrate sustainable choices and options in each step of the customer experience.  At the same time, hybrid shopping has taken hold in most categories, particularly in home goods and apparel; and while stores continue to play the predominant role in grocery, hybrid shopping is growing in these categories too," says Luq Niazi, global managing director IBM Consumer Industries.


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