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Is time the new currency in grocery?

Busy lifestyles are driving consumers toward convenience, according to research from KPMG

Katherine Black started her presentation with what she called the most boring and predictable insight Groceryshop attendees would hear during the three-day conference in Las Vegas: “Consumers value price above other attributes when shopping for grocery.”

It’s the most popular response, of course, when customers are surveyed on what’s important to them when it comes to grocery shopping, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture, said Black, a principal, U.S. strategy leader, consumer and retail with KPMG. Consumers think about grocery shopping as it relates to their time and their money.

"Time may be the most democratized asset we have," said Black. "We may all have different incomes, but we all have exactly the same amount of time in a week."

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Though they may not cite it as particularly important when ranked against other attributes, consumers are, in fact, looking for convenience and they want it at a reasonable price.

Black told the story of a U.S. grocer trying to load balance its click-and-collect service by offering discounted timeslots during the day to its more price-sensitive customers. The promotion didn't work because customers were at work. However, those price-sensitive consumers flocked to the store once the discounted timeslots were offered outside of traditional working hours.

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Another U.S. retailer offered chopped fruit at a line price of the whole fruit. Sales for the category and that particular fruit increased by more than seven times and helped grow margins "because of the halo that was driven by that offer," said Black. "When you can package a value and convenience in a way that’s meaningful for the consumer it makes a huge difference and it does drive sales."

On the flip side of convenience, are multiple "time detractors" consumers find frustrating:

  • 29% feel the store is difficult to navigate

  • 29% feel overwhelmed and find it hard to make a decision with so many options

  • 60% can't cook what I wanted because some items were out of stock. I now need to make another trip

  • 59% cite waiting in long checkout lines as a waste of time

"Consumers are impatient today. They don't want to deal with out of stocks, they don't want to deal with a confusing store that's difficult to navigate and over-SKU'd and they certainly don't want to wait in a checkout line. And all those things detract from their time," said Black.

Black suggested grocers take the time to understand and define their value time proposition and identify how and where it can be stronger. "These are traffic driving strategies that don't necessarily have to be margin erosive but it's important to get to the heart of what's going on."











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