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3) TECHNOLOGY

people 6 influencer pie chart

Through technology, shoppers' lives are changing at an ever-increasing pace. Technology marches on and failing to march onwards with it is a sure way to be left behind.

Information is a central facet to this change. Shoppers know more about a wider variety of products than ever before, and they expect to get anything that they want. While more informed shoppers may increase sales opportunities, the stakes rise immensely: as shoppers build new habits, they may end up moving their limited shopping dollars to the retailer that stocks the new and interesting product that couldn't be found elsewhere. Information increases opportunity, but it also increases expectations.

Meeting demand goes beyond simple access to more diverse products. People have become used to the incredible convenience of online shopping for nearly everything, including food. Savvy manufacturers have grown better at reaching shoppers and winning their brand loyalty.

Still, the power of a shopper's in-person engagement cannot be denied. According to IDDBA's Vice President of Education  Jeremy Johnson, "click and collect" grocery shopping may realize increased sales for the retailer, but it also hurts impulse-driven shopping areas like bakery and deli. Retailers cannot afford to lose sight of the power of look, smell, and touch.

Smart operators need to think strategically about not only the opportunities opened up by new technology, but how they will respond to the vulnerabilities technology also creates.