From a consumer perspective, the online grocery experience is broken. While an increasing majority of consumers are shopping based on lifestyle choices and wellness needs (up 15% over the last two years), online retailers aren’t making it easy for them to find products that meet their criteria.
Approximately 1 out of 5 products online fail to include critical information including nutrients, ingredients, and warnings according to a recent audit of grocery e-commerce sites. By not delivering this information, retailers are providing a broken experience for consumers searching for products based on their needs and missing out on potential sales. In primary research Label Insight conducted with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) last year, 44% of shoppers said a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance affects the way they shop, and 49% adhere to a diet or health-related eating program. In a refreshed study to be published later this month, we’ve seen those figures continue to grow as high as 55% and 65% respectively. Now, more than ever, consumers are craving clarity and detailed product information to fulfill their diverse preferences when grocery shopping online.
In times of rapid change and intense competition — like in grocery retail today — we think it is essential retailers do two things: reflect on how they're reacting to shopper demand while at the same time, differentiate themselves from the competition.
Retailers have been quick to react to consumers’ increasing demand for product data transparency and have been somewhat successful in providing more basic product information. This is most evident in shelf tag health and wellness (H&W) programs we’ve seen implemented in stores over the past several years (think: those small tags on store shelves that call out claims like "organic", "gluten-free," or "heart-healthy"). While these initiatives have been limited to a set number of health attributes, they have provided retailers with a first glimpse into the challenges and opportunities surrounding product data transparency. Now, it is generally accepted that going from a limited set of H&W attributes maintained for a shelf tag program to addressing full product data transparency is a significant leap of capability. But retailers that take this leap will be able to leverage product data in a number of ways, across all use cases, and most importantly, in a scalable manner. Retailers who attack full product data transparency will be able to slice and dice the data to service such use cases as Custom Health and Wellness programs, innovative Category Review Processes, or to make their inventory more discoverable through engaging search and filtering experiences, to name a few use cases.
What’s new in Label Insight onboarding? We've been working hard to improve our already best in class Onboarding platform that powers our Retail Health and Wellness Data solution. Our onboarding platform is an integral part of our solution for retailers and their Health and Wellness product data. We work closely with retailers to ensure that we engage and onboard product data for all of their suppliers. To date, our success rate is approximately 90%, meaning that on average with our retail partners, we manage to get 90% or more of their products onboarded. An accurate and up-to-date representation of a retailers assortments is critical to the success of an effective data driven health and wellness program. Below you can find some of the new features and challenges we've been working on recently to improve the process.
There is no surprise that consumers are demanding transparency more than ever. When a consumer walks into a grocery store, they want to be catered to. They want their shopping experience to be quick, effortless and, ultimately, applicable to them and their families. So long are the days of shopping for necessity and just picking up bread and butter. Now, it’s about ensuring that bread is Whole Grain or Gluten Free and that butter is Non GMO or Paleo. "Having our dietitians collaborate with a retailer’s dietitians, we’ve noticed great success across multiple programs" Angie Kling, RD, LD, Manager, Food & Beverage Team Label Insight. With so many diets and trends throughout the industry, it’s important that retailers, particularly the dietitians at the retailers, understand how to capture the interests of all their shoppers. We know that most retailers already have a health and wellness program in place, but ensuring it’s differentiated and personalized is one way retailers can stay on top of the trends while still meeting grocer’s demands.
Outside of being so closely attached to product data in my role, about eight months ago, I relocated from St. Louis to Label Insight’s headquarters in Chicago. With it came a new set of regional retailers. I traded in Schnucks and Dierbergs for Mariano’s and Jewel, although I’ve still managed to locate my nearest Target for my extensive shopping trips that go far beyond the pantry. While I knew the demand for consumer transparency and retailer differentiation were both on the rise, I decided to dig into what 2019 and beyond held for some of my favorite retailers (and it wouldn't be a Label Insight blog post without a little data).
Working with retailers to enable incredible Health & Wellness programs has been in our wheel house since we were founded. We grew our business and technology by working with retailers to power their highly flexible, attribute-based shelf tag programs. We have been leaders in this space for over a decade, and work directly with leaders in the market. 2018 saw us continue to innovate in this critical space. In our shelf edge solution, we leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically rank attributes by category or department, providing retailers with a highly customized and scalable attribute solution. We also worked to expand our product types to include food, personal care, pet food, household cleaners, OTC medicine, supplements, and alcohol. Generally, most of our retail partners implement their Health & Wellness (H&W) initiatives with a phased approach, first starting with food, then expanding into adjacent product types over time. We're excited to offer them more options for future expansion, following the consumer trend in holistic transparency: "in me, on me, around me."
Retail Health & Wellness @Label Insight It's that time of the year again where research groups race to get out their 2019 predictions. It seems the reports keep getting earlier and earlier, in line with the holiday music and decorations. This year there are some notable trends that are worth exploring, among them the fact that cannabis is now being considered as a next frontier of health and wellness ingredient - from illegal drug to health product? Wow, things are changing quickly. There continues to be a lot of movement in the health and wellness market. Most notable are the huge investments Albertsons has been making to take on health and wellness such as the Rite Aid merger which they believe will position them as one of the leaders in Health, Food, and Wellness. Lastly, health and wellness continues to make headlines in the store, particularly when tied to technology implementations such as the Kroger app. To get the latest curated news on retailer health & wellness for November read on and enjoy.
This post represents the launch of a post series that seeks to curate news, posts, content and activity on the topic of Retail Health and Wellness from LabelInsight and across the market.