The pandemic created a seismic shift in the British supermarket sector, particularly with out-of-stock items, public health concerns, and government mandates that kept consumers from shopping in-store. Now, supermarkets are dealing with another adversary that could put their resilience to the test: inflation. According to a recent article by the International British Times, these rapid changes could put the economic viability of supermarkets into question.
British Supermarket Stores’ Clunky Efforts to Evolve
In trying to keep up with rapid developments in consumer demands, grocers have expedited their efforts to establish both their online and offline channels at a speed never seen before. However, the downside to this rushed effort could be seen in a recent report where Tesco experienced outages on both its website and grocery app as hundreds of customers throughout the UK expressed their frustration, unable to complete their online grocery orders.
Tech hiccups, although common, will not secure a customer’s loyalty. Rather, they will look for more reliable options. The current landscape has plenty of disruptors ready to scoop up frustrated customers and deliver the customer shopping experience of their life.
Besides the tech, grocery stores must imitate what their competitors are doing right, such as having large inventories, fast delivery, an engaging mobile experience, and exceptional customer service. Many supermarkets are fueling efforts to enhance the in-person customer experience with contactless payments and faster checkouts to get customers in and out of the store.
Dealing with Inflation
With food prices soaring, customers are looking for the best bang for their buck, and grocers must find a way to cater to this pressing need. Duncan Brewer, Partner at EY’s Strategy Consultancy EY-Parthenon recommends that grocery stores think twice before passing on the high food prices onto their customers. If consumers are negatively impacted, they will simply turn to one of their rivals. He continues by saying that raising prices should be seen as a last resort and they must re-direct their focus on cost reduction as a good, primary step.