Published on: September 22, 2021
Got the following email from MNB reader Tom Murphy, i=on the subject of the choices independent retailers have to make:
Throughout my 28 years as a grocery/retail industry executive and management consultant, I have seen countless situations where the business management team just could not get their heads around how technology could help them with efficiency and effectiveness. I can’t tell you how many executives said, “give me a spare dollar and I will spend it on a new store”. Now, back before Amazon, and to some degree, Walmart…total number of stores as well as locations (location, location, location) was the Holy Grail. Along comes Walmart, upsetting the efficiency cart, and retailers slowly started making efficiency investments, as in ECR. With Amazon, the digital age was launched which is typically “front of the store” or “consumer facing”. This is where retail executives figured you added a few more poorly paid resources (always managing labor-costs over quality) vs. some unknown capability from those “mysterious IT folks”.
For the smaller, e.g., mid-sized to very small independent grocers, the inside talent to understand and leverage digital has been a major problem. Why? These senior folks were raised as merchandisers or store operators…if they couldn’t actually touch it, it didn’t exist. So now, here we are. We need more grocery executives to seek help from those that understand technology and how it can help both with efficiency and effectiveness. And for the most part, that knowledge will have to come extra-organization. CART (Center for Advancing Retail & Technology) is an awesome source of information and talent that can be a start, but even that needs to be translated into hard dollars for grocery executives to bite.
Maybe we just need a few more “tech weenies” at the executive level or in the board rooms to help with the awareness, knowledge, and value propositions to determine the investment needs and possible outcomes. It will be a survival decision for many of those attending NGA!
Responding to our story the other day about Amazon cluttering up search results with paid ads, MNB reader Jack Flanagan wrote:
Long time Amazon user, fan and stockholder….and recovering retailer here.
I found your comment resonating with me based on some other indicators.
Used to always preorder the many books I read each year on Amazon. Release day prices were always great. For quite some time now many new releases are priced at only 10% off and that price is maintained for several weeks before a meaningful discount is offered.
I’ve also noticed recently that many orders are received in packages that are grossly oversized for the contents. Doesn’t mean much for an order or two. However, how many millions of packages does Amazon ship daily ? If my experience is in any way representative, tens of thousands of packages daily are packed in excessive-cube boxes. Bad for waste stream, bad for cost of packaging cost and - depending on how Amazon pays for transportation - bad for outbound freight cost.
Finally, I’ve had way too many orders miss promised delivery windows - in some cases by several days - even as the website promises delivery tomorrow for Prime orders - which these are.
Yesterday MNB took note of a CNBC report that "CVS Health said on Monday it would fill as many as 25,000 clinical and retail jobs ahead of the flu season and as the United States prepares to administer booster Covid-19 vaccine shots.
MNB reader Bill Spoehr responded:
Where is CVS going to find the applicants to fill these positions? Do they know something everyone else doesn’t? A friend of mine says that we’ve entered a perpetual state of “shortage” – people, goods, and services. A bit pessimistic, but accurate.
On another subject, from an MNB reader:
Kevin - found the juxtaposition of the article on non-alcoholic beverages (which ended sadly!) and the following Door Dash alcohol delivery service story to be interesting.
For those trying to cut down or eliminate alcohol in their lives and households, the Door Dash delivery ability is a dangerous option.
I completely understand the allure of getting drinks with dinner, but wonder about “over serving” and temptations.
And, on yet another subject, from MNB reader Brian Jobin
Ever since I became a Category Manager I have followed you and your MorningNewsBeat articles. Love them.
Finally got to see you at yesterday’s kick off to the NGA and in my notes that I wrote, the one word I wrote to take back is Possibilities.
There really are just so many possibilities out there. Whether you are a single store owner or 1,000 store owner. The possibilities are endless and we all just need to keep taking one step after another and eventually our growth and change will be exponential.
Thanks for yesterday.
My pleasure. And thanks for the kind words.