Grocery shoppers are fretting over cost and inventory availability

Paul Woodward, Senior Director, Retail Supply Chain Business | April 25, 2023

Global survey shows that while people are happy to be back shopping in-store, they are frustrated with high prices, self-check-out, and too many delivery shoppers

The past year has seen a boomerang effect of consumers* primarily returning to in-store (68%) grocery shopping vs. online ordering (32%). Yet, new challenges have taxed the industry ranging from inflation to staffing and supply chain disruptions. This has resulted mainly in a new foe – high prices for consumers. In fact, nearly three-quarters said price is the biggest consideration when choosing where to shop for groceries. For grocers, this confluence of outside forces often drives increased competition and shifting customer loyalty.

While pandemic restrictions are hopefully well in the past, when does business as usual return? Or is there a new business as usual? The research noted that ongoing supply chain issues, rocky economies, and global inflation continue to impact consumers, specifically in grocery retail.

Coupled with a staffing crisis and pending recession in certain regions, retailers' economic environment continues to be volatile as the global increase in food costs impacts everyone, professionally and personally.

Price trumps convenience

Regarding grocery shopping in the current financial environment, US consumers noted that price reigns even over convenience.

  • 72% of consumers say the price is their biggest consideration today when choosing where to shop, trumping convenience at 28%
  • 46% of shoppers are shopping at multiple locations to get everything they need at the lowest cost
  • 30% mainly shop at a single grocery location but spend more time looking for promotions and deals
  • 43% cite a great promotional price, and 32% say coupons are the leading reason to try items not normally on their grocery list
  • 37%, however, say eye-catching end caps and other displays somewhat sway their purchasing decisions

Supply chain issues eroding brand loyalty

With the supply chain shortages of the past several years, consumers are growing frustrated and losing their affinity for their favorite brands that may be harder to find.

  • 90% of consumers said they plan to explore store brands due to shortages of their pantry staples
  • 33% plan to stick with private-label brands from now on
  • 38% say lack of or limited inventory is their biggest frustration when grocery shopping
  • 37% of all shoppers cite in-stock inventory and a wide product assortment as the pinnacles of a great shopping experience

Store experience still matters

Despite inventory and pricing woes, many consumers still look for a good experience while shopping and at checkout.

  • 36% associate efficiency, including fast checkout and easy-to-navigate floorplans, with a great shopping experience
  • 32% noted good customer service as the pinnacle of their experience
  • 35% cite slow checkout as a source of frustration
  • 27% are annoyed with an over-reliance on self-checkout
  • 24% are vexed by too many delivery shoppers blocking aisles

Transparency across operations

Oracle has over 30 years of experience in working with many of the world's leading grocery retail brands in the delivery of enterprise solutions that manage millions of buying, selling, and replenishment transactions every day, to solutions that plan, budget, source, forecast and allocate to ensure the product is in the right place at the right time, through to innovating and tracking the design, development, sourcing, verification, labeling and quality safety of every pre-packed, fresh item, health, and beauty or general merchandising product, transacting, communicating, and engaging with millions of customers daily.

Grocery retailers need confidence in data to ensure complete transparency in all aspects, from supply chain standards to product availability. Product safety claims and declarations are more complicated than ever, with greater consumer demand for lifestyle choices, dietary needs, and climate concerns.

This is not a data analytical problem. The challenge is how to operationalize the capture, verification, and execution of the data to drive efficiencies across every part of the business, transparency enabling informed decisions at every stage, and a single source of the truth to facilitate actionable insight to achieve better outcomes in innovation, productivity, and sustainability.

Five trends, drivers, and challenges in grocery retail

  1. Economic uncertainties and inflation
  2. Supply chain disruptions
  3. Rising consumer expectations
  4. Sustainability and private label
  5. People and productivity

Enter the Platform for Modern Retail. We launched the platform that integrates our already best-in-class grocery retail cloud services with software extensions and consulting offers to offer a single environment to manage all aspects of grocery retail.

*Oracle Retail polled more than 5,000 global consumers on their grocery shopping habits last Fall and another 1000 US consumers this winter.