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October 25, 2018

Retailers today can use data mining to better understand and serve a broad range of consumer needs. Data can inform decisions about product selection, staffing and more. As grocery store competition heats up from new sources, those insights can provide even greater opportunities for competitive advantage.

Surviving the Brave New World of Food Retailing, the newest report from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, details emerging areas of competition and new ideas retailers must embrace to remain relevant in this climate. Not surprisingly, data insights are a key to future strategies.

The report makes clear that insights can be used even in store design to delight customers by addressing long-standing pain points. For example, movie theaters have improved the customer experience by offering stadium seating and reserved seats, addressing customer frustrations.

Grocery stores need to think along those lines. According to the report, supermarkets have been finding creative ways to reduce or eliminate lines at the checkout — a long-time cause of customer complaints. Many stores now have self-checkouts or even scanner guns that shoppers can use in the course of their trip. Some companies are experimenting with new technologies that completely eliminate the front-end.

The report examines how retailers are using “design thinking” with displays, layout and even flexible displays to best meet customer demands at different times of day and different days of the week — when the shopping trip varies widely.

Thoughts on design thinking and other ways retailers can maintain relevance in today’s market are included in the new study, available for free download: