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Insights Interview: Q&A with Diane Powell, Conagra Brands

We sat down with OmniShopper
speaker Diana Powell who is a Shopper Insights Manager at Conagra Brands, to
discuss how retail is being disrupted.
How has retail been
disrupted?
 
Powell: In the
food industry, traditional grocers are experiencing competition no longer just
from other grocers, but from emerging channels of meal sourcing such as
subscriptions, meal kits, offline and online wholesale/club stores, and
hundreds of new delivery models.  Traditional brick and mortar stores are
having to rethink how they do retail ' with more ready-to-go options and
elevating the shopping experience to draw shoppers in.
How has omnichannel
impacted retail positively?
 
Powell: We've
been keeping a close eye on ecommerce and how it impacts shopping for
food.  Shoppers view online shopping as complementary to their in-store
experience and most don't foresee it replacing all in-store.  Shoppers who
are buying groceries in store AND online spend more overall than in-store only
shoppers.
How is this new era
of shopping everywhere impacting shopper insights? 
Powell: We must
be ahead of the digital transformation to keep up with where shoppers
are.  It's not enough to just send the same old surveys to mobile phones,
but we must find new ways to use cutting age big data to understand online
behaviors that consumers don't even know they are doing. Also, with the IoT,
behavior and trends change faster than ever, so we need to update research and
findings more frequently as to not lag in our reporting.
Additionally, in the food industry, we've also traditionally
spent our time researching women. However, with equal proportions of men
and women millennials doing the grocery shopping, we can't have blinders to
both genders!
How are shoppers
shaping the future of retail?
Powell: In food
ecommerce, there is a clash between the shopper's perspective of value and the
retailers when it comes to ecommerce.  Shoppers are used to shopping
online for other categories (electronics, clothing, housewares, cleaning
supplies, etc.) and when they shop online for these products, they are
expecting to get great deals.  They have cost comparison sites and aps at
their fingertips and are quick and savvy deal shoppers.  They apply this
same thinking to their online grocery shopping and expect to find good prices
and deals. 
However, food retailers think that because of the
convenience of online grocery shopping, shoppers should be paying a
premium.  They charge fees for pickup and delivery, charge higher prices
for the same products, don't integrate as many couponing options, and some even
ask for a tip for the person delivering.  Shoppers are not willing to pay
such a premium (only about $5) and therefore I don't think we're seeing the
shift as quickly as it's happened for other goods.  It will be fascinating
to see how sites like Jet.com and amazon, which are modeled to give shoppers
great prices, will force the traditional brick-and-mortar- e-tailers to step up
their price savings game.
Why is it important
to link digital and physical shopper marketing? 
Powell: Even when
shoppers are in a physical store, they are connected digitally.  Whether
they are using their devices for shopping related activities or not depends on
the minute! A buzz from their purse or pocket triggers a look, a distraction
from the shelf, but also an opportunity to influence.  Of course, we must
be mindful of respecting the shopper's desires for how often/what we contact
them about ' making sure to give the appropriate value exchange customized to
that shopper.
Where do you see retail moving in the next 5 years?
 I'm excited to see a nice balance of the tangible and intangible.  I
think retail shopping will become more immersive, experiential, and
destination-based.  Offering the benefits that are near impossible to
recreate. Perhaps even more analog, more customized. People have a
desire to disconnect sometimes, and to return to the simple. Or on the contrary,
offering high tech in-person experiences that aren't possible in your own home
is also going to happen.  I'm also excited to see the continuation of the
tech explosion ' with voice search leading the way for a lot of cool
innovation.  Deliveries will be faster, subscriptions will grow, and brand
loyalty may make a comeback when shoppers spend more time speaking to their
devices versus searching through.

Don't miss Powell's
session, 'Knowledge
is Power, If You Can Find It!'
on June 20th at 3:40 PM in
Minneapolis, MN. Use code OMNI17BL for $100 off the current rate:
https://goo.gl/XY25DW

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