Survey results found that only 4 percent of retail organizations have a fully-executed omnichannel strategy, indicating that the retail industry (like the food and beverage industry) is at a turning point. Scott Bolduc, director of supply chain strategy at SPS Commerce Inc., the Minneapolis, Minn.-based supply chain solutions provider, described how food retailers can meet the omnichannel strategy. He describes the strategy as “Endless Aisle.”
For some time, the titans of general merchandising—Wal-Mart, Target and Costco, to name a few—have been penetrating the pockets of the food and beverage industry, Bolduc notes. What’s a grocer to do? Many are adding general merchandise to their product mix as a competitive strategy, and looking to digital commerce as an outlet for this expansion.
In fact, it almost appears that this strategy is essential for the traditional segment of the industry in adapting to the new competitive environment, if not critical to its survival. The possibility of higher margins to feed the bottom line is an added incentive. It’s seems like the next natural step in blurring the lines between retailers and food purveyors.
Since grocers haven’t always thought exactly like general merchandise retailers, they may feel like they’re behind the omnichannel retail curve. However, even seasoned general merchandise retailers are struggling with this concept, according to the 2013 Retail Insight Report from RSR and SPS Commerce. Survey results found that only 4 percent of retail organizations have a fully executed omnichannel strategy, indicating that the retail industry (like the food and beverage industry) is at a turning point.
To compete in today’s omnichannel retail marketplace, food and beverage players have to buy into the digital consumer’s rules: the demand for an “endless aisle of goods” and increasingly higher expectations. Their creed: The item I want to purchase must be available within hours or days, and it must be competitively priced, regardless of where I want to buy it (in the store, online or on my phone).”
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