Consumer & Grocery

Part
01
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Part
01

Fresh Market

The Fresh Market, Inc. is a leading chain of grocery stores dedicated to offering fresh premium perishable foods across the US. Today, the brand has over 160 stores in 22 states.

BRAND OVERVIEW

  • The Fresh Market, Inc. is a food retailer operating a chain of stores, that offer fresh premium perishable food items. The company operates in the Southeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern states.
  • The company was founded in 1982 when it started as a grocery store in North Carolina but later grew into a chain of supermarkets that offers the freshest green grocery and delicious foods.
  • In 2016, Fresh Market was acquired by Apollo Global Management.
  • Today, Fresh Markets has over 160 locations across 22 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Mississippi.
  • The company boasts of providing its consumes with a warm and inviting shopping experience in all the states it serves.

KEY MESSAGING WITHIN THE COMPANY WEBSITE AND MARKETING MATERIAL

  • The key message that Fresh Market uses to market its products on the official website is “Fresh. Seasonal. Sensational” with the slogan “Explore delicious offerings from The Fresh Market.”
  • The company supports its brand message by clearly outlining how it sources its ingredients and produce through different departments. For instance, the company outlines that most of the produce is sourced around the world to ensure the ‘freshest, tastiest choices’ for consumers.
  • The company also states that it offers organic products including chicken and turkey that feed on a vegetarian diet, fresh fish and shellfish from which it partners with the New England Aquarium for health guidelines.
  • The brand also uses the message, “Your Fresh Deals” as a strategy to attract consumers through promotions. On its official company website, the brand has included a link where consumers can access the latest news on the products and stores as well as the food offers.
  • On the website, consumers can select their preferred store and check out the weekly specials offered by the company for different product categories including bakery, meat, coffee, Deli, organic, and seafood.

KEY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE


BRAND POSITIONING APPROACH

  • The Fresh Market’s overall approach when it comes to brand positioning entails strategizing on consumer value, quality of services and products, and convenience.
  • Through its messaging on its website, the brand illustrates its value for its consumers.
  • Through its 'Departmental Stores' link, it is evident that the brand only provides foods that are of great value to consumers.
  • The brand also pays a lot of attention to consumer needs by providing extra services such as weekly deals, free recipes, and free return policy/product recall options that enable consumers to return any product they are not pleased with.
  • The company’s quality of services and products is also a brand positioning strategy in which it ensures that all the produce it offers is fresh and delicious. Through the messaging “Your Fresh Deals,” Fresh Market informs its consumers that it is dedicated to providing quality foods.
  • Of great importance is the convenience to consumers. The brand enables consumers to order their favorite products online and have it delivered on their doorstep in “as little as one hour.” This strategy enhances convenience to consumers.

Research Strategy:

In order to provide analysis of the company background of Fresh Market, we searched through the official website of the website as well as through its annual reports where we were able to obtain relevant information for the overview, key messaging, key differentiator, and overall approach to brand positioning. The latest annual report that is available in the public domain is for the year 2016. 
Part
02
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Part
02

Whole Foods

Whole Foods was founded in 1980 with a staff of 19 people. The brand distinguishes itself from other competitors by maintaining strictness in the quality standards of their food.

COMPANY BACKGROUND

  • Whole Foods was founded by the owners of Safer Way Natural Foods, John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy, and the owners of Clarksville Natural Grocery, Craig Weller and Mark Skiles in 1980 with a staff of 19 people.
  • With the acquisition of Whole Foods Company in 1988, Whole Foods Market started its development from Austin, first to Houston and Dallas, and then to New Orleans. In 1989, with a shop in Palo Alto, California, it extended to the West Coast. While opening fresh shops from the ground up.
  • It expanded through the acquisition of other natural food chains throughout the 1990s: "Wellspring Grocery of North Carolina, Bread & Circus of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Mrs. Gooch's Natural Foods Markets of Los Angeles, Bread of Life of Northern California, Fresh Fields Markets of the East Coast and the Midwest, Florida Bread of Life Stores, Detroit Merchant of Wine Stores, and Nature's Markets".
  • In 2000, Whole Foods purchased Food for Thought in Northern California and Harry's Farmers Market in Atlanta. It moved to Manhattan in 2001 and expanded to Canada in 2002. "Whole Foods Market entered the United Kingdom with the acquisition of seven Fresh & Wild stores".
  • The company is in 500 stores, in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
  • Their geographic focus is in regions, North America and in the U.S. is coastal such as the East coast and the West coast. It is also focused on big cities.

KEY MESSAGING WITHIN THEIR WEBSITE AND MARKETING MATERIAL

  • The key messaging in their website gives a consumer the perspective of a brand that cares about their health with phrases like "America’s Healthiest Grocery Store"
  • The messaging also depicts a brand that stands out in the grocery industry with the use of words like "healthiest", "finest", and "strictest".
  • The focus of the communication is to give the consumers a perspective that Whole Foods stores are the best grocery stores in terms of offering healthy food.

KEY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

  • According to their websites, they "seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture" and they are "world's leader in natural and organic food" with a purpose to nourish people and the planet.
  • "It is also the first grocery to be certified organic in America"

OVERALL APPROACH IN BRAND POSITIONING

  • The company is strategizing around value and quality by portraying a brand that maintains strictness in quality standards, a brand that is committed to sustainable agriculture, and only providing the finest foods available.
  • The brand is also strategizing around convenience by offering an online shopping option to their customers. Customers can order side dishes, appetizers, and even full heat-and-serve meals online.
  • Whole Foods' supply chain is one of the main positioning approaches. It procures its products from local and international manufacturers and guarantees that its products are produced without infringing labor laws, human rights or animal rights.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We started by searching through Whole Foods' website and industry blogs, and publications. Our primary focus was on the background, key messaging, key competitive advantage, and Whole Foods' approach to brand positioning. In compiling this information, we examined the company's mission, values, purpose, and history.
After finding a list of sources with the company's messaging and competitive advantage with information on key messaging and key differentiators, we sorted out them in terms of relevance and consistency. We then listed out the key messaging used in their websites and marketing materials, and the key competitive advantage of the company.
Part
03
of eleven
Part
03

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co. and was co-founded in 1960 by North Carolina grocers, W.T. Harris and Willis Teeter who are a regional chain. Harris Teeter is diverse and committed to supplying fresh food of high value and quality.

HARRIS TEETER BACKGROUND

  • Harris Teeter was co-founded in 1960 by North Carolina grocers W.T. Harris and Willis Teeter and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co.
  • Harris Teeter is a regional chain.
  • Harris Teeter is a popular grocer and operates 230 stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
  • The company operates over 230 stores and 14 fuel centers in seven states in addition to the District of Columbia.
  • Harris Teeter also owns grocery, frozen food, and perishable distribution centers in Greensboro, NC and Indian Trail, NC, as well as a dairy in High Point, NC in addition to its retail stores.
  • Harris Teeter has approximately 30,000 associates and is headquartered in Matthews, NC.
  • Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. merged with The Kroger Co. on January 28, 2014.


HARRIS TEETER KEY MESSAGES

  • One of Harris Teeter's messaging tagline is “It’s my Harris Teeter... An incredible place to work and to shop”. This messaging gives the customer a sense of ownership.
  • They are communicating inclusion via their website banner, welcoming to all people, regardless of background, color or culture.
  • Harris Teeter describes itself as "part of the community".


HARRIS TEETER KEY DIFFERENTIATORS

  • Harris Teeter is wining new fans while maintaining loyal customers because of its commitment to fresh food, and other innovative features.
  • Harris Teeter believes that by giving back to the communities where it is located, they can "build incredible neighborhoods" for everyone.
  • They believe that an important part of doing business is getting involved in the communities at the local store level and through corporate contributions.
  • Diversity and inclusion are reflected in the culture at Harris Teeter, where all its workers are comfortable and make a contribution towards the organization's success.
  • At Harris Teeter the needs of their diverse customer base is met.


HARRIS TEETER BRAND POSITIONING

  • According to the Charlotte News Observer, "Harris Teeter’s regional heritage is part of its appeal, and its ability to offer something unique is a major benefit."
    • Although its pricing is higher than some other local stores, they are strategizing around value and quality.
    Part
    04
    of eleven
    Part
    04

    Publix

    Publix is the largest employee-owned grocery chain with 1,222 store locations. It differentiates itself from its competitors as a company customers can count on.

    COMPANY BACKGROUND

    • Publix Food Store was first opened on September 6, 1930, by George Jenkins in Winter Haven. In 1935, a second store was opened in a location across town.
    • The first two stores were closed and the first Publix Super Market was opened on November 8, 1940.
    • In 1945, Jenkins acquired a "warehouse and 19 All American stores from the Lakeland Grocery Company". The small stores were replaced with larger supermarkets.
    • Publix is one of the country's ten largest-volume supermarket chains and employs more than 200,000 people.
    • Publix has 1,222 store locations, 9 distribution centers, and 11 manufacturing facilities.
    • Publix's focus is on the Southeast region of the United States.

    PUBLIX KEY MESSAGES

    • One of Publix's messaging tagline is “We are Publix... an outstanding corporate citizen”. This messaging gives the customer a sense of ownership.
    • They use phrases like "Giving Back" to give customers the perception of a brand that they can count on.
    • On both Facebook and Instagram, Publix seeks public participation by posting thought-provoking statements that compel their audience to post their views on the comments sections. 
    • The messgaing on Twitter is similar to that posted on Facebook and Instagram.
    • On Instagram, the company has used more images of well-presented pastries and drinks than videos. Publix has, however, focused more on redirecting their audience to their blog where they provide comprehensive information about their messaging, most of which are recipes.
    • Publix has used short videos of an average of 1.5 minutes on YouTube for some of their recipes. 
    • In all the messaging materials used, Publix tries to portray a sense of openness in their service delivery.  

    KEY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

    • One key advantage of Publix is that its staff are literally invested in the company. It is the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the country.
    • Publix is also dedicated to customer service and community involvement.
    • Publix is also dedicated to sustainability and service to society. It promotes enterprise-wide energy and water conservation programs and reduces its carbon footprint.
    • Publix differentiates itself as a company the community can count on. They refund unsatisfied customers and have won awards for being an industry leader and member of the community.

    BRAND POSITIONING

    • Publix is strategizing around customer value. They promise their customers that they are dedicated to their service.
    • The company is also strategizing around sustainability by being intolerant to wastes.
    • Publix is strategizing as a brand customers can "count on", they guarantee their customers refunds in case they are not satisfied with their goods.

    RESEARCH STRATEGY

    We started our search by looking through the official website of Publix, industry blogs, and publications. We were able to obtain relevant information for the overview, key messaging, key differentiator, and overall approach to brand positioning.
    Part
    05
    of eleven
    Part
    05

    Lowes Foods

    Since Lowes Foods was founded in 1954 it has maintained a fast growth, opening nearly 100 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Its key message is centered in how the store offers "homey" flavors and local products to its consumers. It has been focusing on transforming the look of its stores as well as innovating with its products in order to better position its brand.

    COMPANY BACKGROUND

    KEY MESSAGING

    • On the company's website, the key message is centered in how the store brings "homey" flavors and products with the tagline "There's no place like homegrown."
    • On other marketing materials, its key messaging is also centered in "home" flavors; for example, in its "Ritz" ad Lowes focuses on mixing local beers with Ritz crackers.
    • Its Facebook cover photo is a box with the phrase "In local farms we trust", reinforcing Lowes' key message and promoting local food.

    COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

    • Innovation has been key to differentiate their stores.
    • Lowes Foods also differentiates itself from others in its commitment to quality, value, and service in each of its stores.
    • By providing products and services that are unique and preferred, Lowes Foods gains a competitive advantage.

    BRAND POSITIONING APPROACH

    • According to Tim Lowe, the company president, Lowes Foods has committed "to being authentically local to keep us relevant to our customers."
    • The company has physically transformed all of its stores "to emphasize higher-quality, freshly made take-home meals."
    • The company is committed to continuously "being a leader in disruption," focused on innovations that attract buyers in order to improve their consumers' perceptions of Lowes Foods' brand.
    Part
    06
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    Part
    06

    Trader Joe's

    The first Trader Joe's store was opened in 1967, and now there are 488 stores in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Trader Joe's communicates that the value for money and quality products is a key focus for the company. It stands out from other groceries/ supermarkets by means of their unique natural products, strategically placed stores, low prices, and supply chain management. Trader Joe's strategy development encompasses convenience, experience, value, and customer service. Below is our deep analysis of the company.

    BRIEF COMPANY BACKGROUND

    • In 1958, Joe Coulombe started to manage a small chain of convenience stores in Los Angeles. In 1967, almost 10 years later, the first Trader Joe’s store was opened in Pasadena, California.
    • This year, 2019, there are 488 stores under Trader Joe's in 41 states and the District of Columbia in the United States.
    • Trader Joe's locations are in cities, suburban areas, and now they are targeting remote and rural communities with their Mini Joe's stores.

    KEY MESSAGING

    KEY DIFFERENTIATOR

    • Unique natural products: Trader Joe’s deals with the products that are free of genetically altered ingredients, preservatives, flavors, and artificial colors. They taste-test all the food that is being considered for private labeling. Unique private labeled products give the company pride due to their high quality.
    • Strategically placed stores: Trader Joe's stores are located in affluent communities. Also, inexpensive retail locations are selected for use within these communities, for example, the strip malls in a close proximity to prime retail locations.
    • Low prices: Trader Joe's buys raw products directly from their suppliers and rely on word-of-mouth advertising. As a result of this, they save on the costs of using middlemen services on their goods, hence, saving on the costs of advertising. This, in turn, reduces the price of their products.
    • Supply chain: The company does not use middlemen in their supply chain, they buy directly from the suppliers. Also, 80% of their products are made for Trader Joe's own private brand.

    APPROACH TO BRAND POSITIONING

    • According to CEO Don Bane, the value being offered by the company to its customers include quality, taste, price, and private labeling.
    • Trader Joe's strategy development encompasses convenience, experience, value, and customer service.
    • Convenience: Trader Joe's stores are smaller than most groceries and have a simple layout, making shopping more convenient. Also, the stores have a limited product range. As a result of this limited selection, shopping is simplified.
    • Experience: Trader Joe's exotic decor, fun atmosphere, and unique products provide a unique shopping experience.
    • Value: Trader Joe's low prices and private brands assist its high-quality discount grocery status.
    • Customer Service: Trader Joe's management practices foster employee motivation which ultimately leads to customer satisfaction.


    RESEARCH STRATEGY

    In order to provide this company analysis, Trader Joe’s, we started our search by going through the company's website. We subsequently used the links on the website to visit their ‘Our Story’, ‘Timeline’, and ‘Fearless Flyer’. This search led us to find the information on the founding date and the number of locations of Trader Joe’s stores. To find out the geographic focus of the Trader Joe’s stores, we searched through articles and came across the three mentioned locations, this is, cities, suburban, and rural. We also went to LinkedIn to determine if Hollandia has an account or not. Our search revealed a LinkedIn account which we have also included in our sources below.
    Next, we looked for information about the key messaging within the Trader Joe’s website and marketing materials. We looked at the articles on the website. The company's website has a simplistic design and clean layout. Trader Joe’s does not have any links to social media platforms on their site. Our rationale is that Trader Joe’s keeps their website simple to stay in line with their strategy of convenience.
    Finally, we searched in the industry-specific articles to locate information on how Trader Joe’s stands out from its competitors. This led us to articles on ‘On Strategy’, ‘Business Insider’, and a research article on a complete company overview of Trader Joe’s. From these articles, we were able to obtain the information on Trader Joe’s overall approach when it comes to brand positioning.

    Part
    07
    of eleven
    Part
    07

    Hospitality Industry Trends

    Some current key consumer trends with the hospitality industry include the use of Artificial Intelligence, preference for companies that have adopted the use of sustainable initiatives and the consumers' demand for healthy food alternatives.

    #1. Use of Artificial Intelligence

    How consumers are participating

    Impact on the hospitality industry

    #2. Preference for that have Adopted Sustainable Practices

    How consumers are participating

    Impact on the hospitality industry

    #3. Preference for Healthy Food Alternatives

    How consumers are participating

    • Consumers have become more conscious of their health and well-being. As such, this has resulted in more consumers demanding better and healthy food options.
    • Some popular and healthier foods that consumers have increased demand to include organic and vegan options, gluten-free, and low-fat foods.
    • Consumers have also shown a preference for locally-sourced foods as opposed to processed food options.

    Impact on the hospitality industry

    • Restaurants and hotels have been forced to change their menus so that they can meet the demands of consumers for healthy food options
    • Consumer's demand for healthier food alternatives has led to the development of the "farm-to-table culinary concept", that provides consumers with better access to fresh food products.

    Research Strategy:

    We were able to obtain insightful information that addresses the current key consumer trends within the hospitality industry in the US by scanning through authoritative blogs and publications related to the hospitality sector. Some sources that we researched through include Hospitality Insights, Business Destinations and, Smart Meetings. These resources contained numerous trends in the sectors such as the use of AI, the availability of smart hotel rooms that are linked to the Internet of Things, availability of sustainable initiatives, consumers seeking healthy food options, use of robots, the influx of international travelers and the use of social media to create awareness. However, we only included the trends that were common across all the sources.
    Part
    08
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    Part
    08

    Retail Landscape, Past & Present

    In the United States, brick-and-mortar sales rose from $2.985 trillion in 2016 to $3.043 trillion in 2017, showing a 2% increase compared to e-commerce, wherein sales increased from $390 billion in 2016 to $453 billion in 2017, a 16% increase. Past trends in the brick-and-mortar retail landscape include an exponential rise in the closure of brick-and-mortar retail stores leading to dwindling annual sales. In the future, despite the closure of retail stores and decreasing sales, the brick-and-mortar industry will still hold a major percentage of the US retail industry with 90% of transactions still performed physically.

    US RETAIL LANDSCAPE–PAST AND PRESENT

    2015–2019
    FUTURE TRENDS
    • Over the next three years, the US brick-and-mortar retail industry will experience declining sales with 2020 seeing a sales increase of 1.6% from 2% in 2019. 2021 and 2022 sales are predicted to rise by 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively.
    • Closures of brick and mortar stores are predicted to continue but will soon be offset by direct-to-consumer brands expansion.
    • According to Buxton, pure online retail stores such as Amazon only constitute about 5% of the US retail industry with another 5% accounting for multi-channel retail.
    • This means that physical stores still account for 90% of retail sales and 95% of all retail sales are done by retailers with a physical presence.
    • Buxton claims that the future of retail sales in the US is still tilted toward the brick-and-mortar channel. This claim was recently affirmed by the results of a survey performed by A.T. Kearney, a consulting firm who surveyed 2,500 people from all age bracket with the majority choosing the physical store experience to the e-commerce counterpart.
    • Some future trends to watch out for in the brick-and-mortar industry include the recent rise in showroom stores, the influence of AI and robotics in physical shopping experiences, pure online-only stores beginning to have physical stores, and high demand for personalized experience by customers.
    • More and more of attention is moving toward multi-channeled brands as consumers are willing to stand with respected brands who deal on the multi-channel end.
    • US consumers generally prefer brick-and-mortar shopping, considering that 37.9% prefer brick-and-mortar while 16.7% are more e-commerce centered with the rest not having any preference.
    Part
    09
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    Part
    09

    Brands & Customer Experience

    Examples of brands implementing customer-experience driven changes include: BOSE, USA Today TV network, Eatel, and Chick-Fil-A.

    BOSE

    Integrating customer experience into the brand strategy

    • This high end retail brand set out to improve its personalized customer experience, in-store and at its call centers.
    • At a functional level, the retailer was trying to strengthen its employee training programs and increase customer satisfaction ratings and engagement.
    • The specific objective was to capture and assess the responses of employees in Bose direct-to-consumer channels to consumers who inquired about the pricing of Bose products.
    • The vendor that Bose employed to meet this objective, namely the company Second to None did three following things:
      • Secondly they aligned Bose’s brand strategy with customer’s interactions with call centers and in-store.
      • Thirdly, they provided key drivers, customer experience mapping and sales linkage analysis in their cloud-based console.
    • Subsequently, the vendor created a demographically diverse group of auditors, to design a program that included mystery shops and brand audits to evaluate both the in-store and call center experiences.
    • They also employed multiple scenarios to help managers focus on specialized product knowledge and the ability of the employee to tailor that knowledge to the customer interaction.

    Results


    CHICK-FIL-A

    Integrating customer experience into the brand strategy

    • With increased competition, capacity challenges and rising customer expectations, Chick-Fil-A wanted to ensure that it could continue to deliver on their promise of delivering exceptional hospitality and customer service.
    • The company to meet their objective worked along with Brand Strategy provider Joe Smith Company to create a holistic and directive brand experience strategy that would be driven by customer experience in the way as follows:
    • With all these ideas new concepts in the form of customer journey maps were created for the brand and were tested live.
    • Also, a set of experience principles were created to inform all hospitality and service experiences, independent of channel or touchpoint.

    Results


    EATEL

    Integrating customer experience into the brand strategy

    • Eatel is a communications company that has served Louisiana for more than 80 years.
    • The company wanted a responsive, self-service customer portal to support its residential and business customers.
    • As a strategy for the brand, the vision behind this requirement was to come out with a portal that was forward-looking and customizable to change with evolving service offerings, as well as being able to bring together various services and offerings of the EATEL ecosystem.
    • The portal worked successfully towards modernizing the customer experience through the portal as a user with multiple accounts or statements could easily switch from one account to another.
    • The user dashboard provided snapshots of account-related information along with the ability to navigate among three groups of features: Billing, Support and Services and Account Settings.
    • Eatel also integrated applications to make secure payments possible for the customers.

    Results

    • As a result of the implementation of customer experience into their brand strategy, the improvement strategies within the brand's offerings 50% of calls coming into the residential call center which were payment related reduced by 30%.
    • Having an online interface helped the brand to engage with a key segment of younger customers who were previously reluctant to make phone calls.
    • Business customers also liked the control that they gained over contacts, permissions and more from their own login instead of calling in with each request.

    USA TODAY

    Integrating customer experience into the brand strategy

    • USA Today was looking at ways to enhance the user experience on their owned and operated sites, especially pertaining to the coverage of major tent pole events like the 2018 Winter Olympics on both a national and local scale.
    • In terms of brand strategy the aim was to surface relevant content to local audiences as well as keep coverage fresh for viewers returning to the national site for more Olympics content.
    • The USA Today Network was also trying to break loose from an "autoplay with sound on" default experience that they found not to be a customer favorite.
    • To tackle this issues relating to customer experience, USA Today used their Brand's partnership with IRIS.tv in the ways as follows:
      • USA Today Network integrated IRIS.tv’s Adaptive Stream to automate the video playback experience from manual video playlists to dynamic playlists.
      • The USA Today Network also took benefit from the partnership to surface more relevant content and gather insight on customer behavior.
      • From the integration with IRIS.tv into the video player, the product, editorial and revenue teams were also able to learn from user behavior and make necessary adjustments to improve their strategy.

    Results

    • 50% increase in video views and significant growth for new and loyal audiences.
    • Additionally, the strategy created new revenue opportunities with advertisers.
    Part
    10
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    Part
    10

    Service Industry Trends

    SERVICE INDUSTRY TRENDS

    Consumer trends go through cycles in popularity, meaning there are relatively few "brand new" trends in the service industry. Rather, several trends, that have previously been peripheral, have evolved and moved into mainstream consumer behavior. This means that there is an opportunity for service industry providers to embrace these developing trends and tailor their approach to the way they provide services.

    GENDER INCLUSIVITY & FLUIDITY

    • Conformity is outdated. Consumers are more interested in expressing themselves as individuals, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
    • This is a trend that has been evolving over the last 5 years but has emerged as a top consumer trend in 2018/19.
    • A 2015 survey found 50% of millennials considered gender to be a spectrum rather than the traditional view that it is binary. This is a major shift from previous generations.
    • 57% of females as opposed to 44% of males held this view.
    • Race is also a factor in the popularity of this view with 55% of Caucasians expressing the view gender is a spectrum. The view was less popularly held in the Latino (47%) and African American (32%) populations.
    • Issues of gender have historically been divisive. This view is slowly evolving and has come to the forefront of consumer thinking in the last 2 years.
    • For those in the service industry, there is a need to move beyond recognizing how services are being used and to reflect the trend in reality.
    • In order to do this, service industry players need to orientate and focus the services they provide on universal traits and lifestyles.
    • In many instances, this will mean a change in the type of services provided and the audience to which those services are targeted. However, the gender inclusively and fluidity trend suggests this is essential if a service provider wishes to maintain market share and evolve.
    • The beauty industry provides a good example of this.
    • Traditionally, there has been a focus on marketing beauty services toward the female population. This trend suggests that a change in strategy is needed to account for the changing views of society.

    RESPONSIBLE CONSUMERISM

    • Responsible consumerism is not a new concept.
    • This concept has previously been embraced peripherally by society. In 2018/19, it has merged with mainstream thinking, making it one of the key consumer trends for the service industry to encompass and react to.
    • Responsible consumerism is also known as ethical consumerism or socially conscious consumerism.
    • All refer to a conscious effort by consumers to engage with service providers that adopt a "minimal or no harm" approach to the environment, respect human rights, avoid exploitation and adhere to the principles around environmental sustainability.
    • A number of studies over the past 5 years have identified that consumers are willing to pay a premium for goods and services that adopt responsible and ethical practices.
    • Service industry providers need to illustrate that they are adopting this approach. This can be done by adopting fair working conditions and gender equality practices.
    • They also need to consider the impact their services have on the environment and adopt strategies to minimize any impact.
    • In providing these services, they should look to use products that adopt these same principles.
    • Transparency is a key issue for consumers.

    THE "M" FACTOR

    • The Mobile Factor is another trend that has slowly evolved, and in 2018/19, has emerged as a key consumer trend in the service industry.
    • Smartphone usage has steadily been increasing over the last 10 years — it is nothing new. What is new is the way that consumers are using their smartphones in the provision of services.
    • Mobile web adoption is growing at exponential rates.
    • Its growth is 8 times faster than the growth of web adoption over the 1990s and 2000s. By the end of 2019, it is estimated that 4.68 billion users will be accessing the mobile web.
    • The US is one of the top 2 countries for citizens accessing the mobile web.
    • In the US in 2018, the time spent on a mobile device was 203 minutes per day. In 2012, it was only 88 minutes.
    • There is a need for service industry providers to recognize this in their operations and in the way they create a presence on the web. Websites and the information they provide needs to be in a mobile-friendly format.
    • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have relatively low uptake rates in the service industry. There is a need to embrace these technologies.
    • An example of this could be in the provision of engineering services where certain tasks can be mapped out in a virtual world and conveyed to the consumer via the mobile web. This creates greater efficiencies in the provision of services.
    • This approach also embraces the principles around responsible consumerism.
    • Service industry providers need to consider developing mobile customer service apps specific to their business.
    • Food service providers have been at the forefront of these types of apps in the last 2-3 years. Beyond food service providers, the service industry as a whole has been slow to adopt this technology.
    • Such apps also allow the provider to develop information about the customer and tailor services to best meet their needs.
    • The IT service industry is a good example of where an app could be used to maximum potential, especially given the need for frequent and ongoing communication between the parties.

    RESEARCH STRATEGY

    We searched for credible articles and reports from service industry leaders, consumer organizations and marketing publications to identify the consumer trends driving the service industry in the US in 2019. Wherever possible, we focused on the US but there is a tendency in articles of this nature to focus on the global market. Where we relied on an article that had a global focus, we cross-referenced the information with consumer reports from the US market. Several trends were identified. We discovered that there are almost no new trends. Some trends that have been developing or on the peripheral of consumer behavior over the past 5 years have moved into the mainstream in the past 2 years. Given this, we cross-referenced all the information that we found to identify the trends that are having the most impact on the service industry in 2019. Once we identified the top consumer trends, we researched each individually to determine exactly how it was impacting on the service industry.
    Part
    11
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    Part
    11

    Supermarket & Grocery Trends

    Some current key consumer trends within the supermarket and grocery industry include automated checkouts, use of retailers' mobile apps and improvement of the shopping experience for consumers by the use of "lab stores." Below are various key consumer trends within the supermarket and grocery industry:

    AUTOMATED CHECKOUT

    Overview of how consumers are participating

    • Many consumers do not want to stand in queues after selecting their items. (source 1)
    • As such, this has led to the increasing use of automated checkout systems in retail stores, commonly known as "scan and go."
    • Through this approach, consumers can scan their goods using mobile apps or devices provided by the store and make payments as they shop. This has resulted in a faster front-end experience for consumers.

    How it impacts the supermarket and grocery industry

    MOBILE APPS

    Overview of how consumers are participating

    • More consumers are using the mobile apps of various retailers.
    • As of August 2018, 67% of consumers had downloaded their retailers' mobile apps.
    • The main use of these apps is to locate items within the store, find or redeem coupons and identify items that are on sale.
    • 83% of consumers are happy with the services offered when using the mobile apps.

    How it impacts the supermarket and grocery industry

    • Retailers are enhancing their mobile applications so that customers can use them to build their shopping lists, can link to their loyalty cards and can be used to offer digital coupons.
    • Retailers are integrating digital wallets into their mobile apps.
    • Retailers are also using the mobile apps to increase communication with their clients, since they can send personalized messages based on the shopping trends of various consumers.

    LAB STORES

    Overview of how consumers are participating

    • Consumers get the opportunity to try out new products and sample them for free. (source 1)
    • In this case, the store is a showroom for customers, which is then complemented by online purchases.
    • In this case, the focus has shifted from the transactions to be made by the consumer to the entire consumer experience.

    How it impacts the supermarket and grocery industry

    • Retailers have developed "lab stores" within their premises whereby they can test out new products by getting customers to try them out and listening to their views and opinions.
    • Some retailers are also introducing kitchens within the retail environment whereby they can test their recipes before they are made available to consumers.

    Research Strategy:

    Our research team explored a range of general and industry media sources including Forbes, Retail Dive, PR News Wire, and Grocery Dive, among others. A wide range of potential trends in the supermarket and grocery industry emerged, including artificial intelligence tools, restaurant integration, and shifting sales channels to online platforms, in addition to the trend listed above.

    Any "top" list necessarily contains an element of subjective judgment. Our researchers ultimately chose the three trends above based on the frequency of their appearance in industry and business media, the recency of their emergence, and the apparent strength of these trends in impacting customer experiences.
    Sources
    Sources

    From Part 07
    Quotes
    • "Artificial intelligence plays a number of different roles within the hospitality industry, but the main one is to improve customer service. One example of this is AI-powered chatbots, which can be used for online customer interactions, removing lengthy waiting times and providing swift, intelligent responses to questions"
    Quotes
    • "Eco-friendly practices are becoming the norm, as properties focus on renewable energy resources and water scarcity. Many hotels are installing solar panels and updating systems so that air conditioners and lights automatically switch off when guests leave their rooms."
    Quotes
    • "Only 25% of H&L CEOs believe that AI will significantly change their business in the next five years. However, data systems incorporating AI can upgrade CRM systems to improve the guest experience."
    Quotes
    • "Chatbots, robots and other forms of artificial intelligence provide users with on-demand information and personalised recommendations. F"
    From Part 09
    Quotes
    • "A national high-end retailer asked Second To None to help it improve the personalized Customer Experience in-store and in its call center. Operating more than 500 locations – 125 company-owned, this retailer sought to strengthen employee training programs and increase customer satisfaction ratings and engagement."
    • "Using a demographically diverse group of auditors, Second To None designed a program including mystery shops and brand audits that evaluated both the in-store and call center experiences. Multiple scenarios were employed to help managers focus on specialized product knowledge and the ability of the employee to tailor that knowledge to the customer interaction."
    • "Meaningful results began to show after only six months. Integrated data from existing satisfaction programs and from our mystery shopping/auditing program highlighted employee training opportunities that led to a measurable increase in employee product knowledge. Over a three-year period, when combined with improving customer satisfaction scores at the call centers, this retailer improved conversions 14 percentage points."
    Quotes
    • "As a Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization, Gannett/USA Today Network has always prioritized their solid reputation and relationship with their audiences on both a local and national level. At the onset of USA Today Network’s partnership with IRIS.TV, they were looking to solve a few key challenges."
    • "In 2018 Kara Chiles, Senior Director of Product Management began looking at ways to enhance the user experience on USA Today’s owned and operated sites, especially when it came to covering major tentpole events like the 2018 Winter Olympics on both a national and local scale."
    • "With over 180 local news sites and their national USA Today franchise, the logistics and coordination required to effectively cover a tentpole event like the Olympics was a significant challenge. The goal was to surface relevant content to local audiences as well as keep coverage fresh for viewers returning to the national site for more Olympics content."
    • "USA Today Network was looking to break loose from an “autoplay with sound on” default experience that they knew was not a customer favorite, to a new video experience that would both capture and retain users, as well as satisfy advertisers."
    • "First, USA Today Network integrated IRIS.TV’s Adaptive Stream™ to automate the video playback experience from manual video playlists to dynamic playlists With IRIS.TV the team was able to surface even more relevant content and gather insight on behavior. This yielded a 50% increase in video views and significant growth for new and loyal audiences."
    • "With IRIS.TV integrated into the video player, the product, editorial, and revenue teams were also able to learn from user behavior and make necessary adjustments to improve their strategy, leading to the growth in new and loyal audiences and creating new revenue opportunities with advertisers."
    Quotes
    • "Chick-fil-A once again led the field with a score of 87—its third straight year hitting the mark, which is the highest of any restaurant chain, full or limited service"
    • "Chick-fil-A, which has more than 2,200 restaurants in 47 states and Washington, D.C., reported over $9 billion in revenue in 2017, marking 50 consecutive years of sales growth."
    From Part 11
    Quotes
    • "Consumer scan and go can be a win-win for retailers and consumers: saving consumers time by not having to rebag everything or stand in line, saving them money by giving them interactive offers in the aisle, saving retailers space and labor at the front of the store, and even more important, giving them much richer insights into consumer thought processes as they shop"
    Quotes
    • "Kroger recently announced that its “Scan, Bag and Go” program, which allows customers to use a mobile app or store-provided handheld devices to scan products and then pay for them, will expand to 400 stores this year. "
    Quotes
    • "In another sign of increased consumer adoption, 67% have downloaded a mobile app from a retailer on their smartphones versus 63% a year ag"
    Quotes
    • "About 57% of more than 1,000 consumers surveyed by Yes Marketing said they have used a retailer's mobile app while in-store, often to redeem or find coupons or discover items on sale, according to a press release highlighting the survey results. "
    Quotes
    • "Whether it's to find and redeem coupons or to locate sale items, more than half of consumers (57 percent) have used a retailer's mobile app while in-store, "
    Quotes
    • "After fighting it for years, many retailers have embraced the showroom concept, where shoppers test and try products before making their purchase online."