Inbound Logistics | January 2022

Consumer Packaged Goods

THE GROCERY STORE OF THE FUTURE With the explosion of food delivery

and contactless checkout, grocery stores offer a more seamless shopper experience across digital and physical interactions, with an emphasis on data collection and efficiency across the supply chain. Here’s what your trip to the grocery store will look like in two years, says a CB Insights report: Text-based customer service . Phones and chat-based service options, such as Albertsons’ live chat for online grocery support and ShopRite’s registered dietitian chat, will be essential resources for grocery shopping. Virtual and robotic kitchens . Virtual kitchens and robotic tools will gain traction. For example, Kroger partnered with delivery-only restaurant ClusterTruck to trial fresh meals for delivery, DoorDash acquired robotic saladmaker Chowbotics, and grocery platformOcado invested in made-to-order meals robot provider Karakuri. Micro-fulfillment . As online grocery shopping grows, making fulfillment profitable is key. The micro-fulfillment market is projected to grow 10 times in the next four years, withWalmart already adding automated micro-fulfillment to several stores. Sustainable packaging . Attention to reusable packaging reached an all-time high in 2020, aided by the EU’s ban on a variety of single-use plastics. Consumer product giants assert sustainable packaging commitments: P&G introduced refillable aluminum shampoo bottles, and Nestlé piloted in-store dispensers for pet food. Cashierless self-checkout . Contactless payment will take over. Brands such as Dollar General already offer buy-online-pickup-in-store options. Just-walk-out technology has also spread among Kroger, 7-Eleven, Circle K, and Giant Eagle.

Like many department stores such as NeimanMarcus and Sears, J.C. Penney led for bankruptcy during the pandemic. However, the decades-old American mall mainstay is getting more adaptable, says a Chain Store Age report. Some of its recent e-commerce upgrades include: New fulllment options: J.C. Penney expanded its curbside pickup and buy-online- pickup-in-store services by partnering with on-demand delivery platformDoorDash to offer same-day delivery frommore than 600 stores. Shoppers can browse and order items such as makeup, skincare, fragrance, and haircare, as well as home goods, via the DoorDash mobile app or e-commerce site. Smart predictive technology: To better understand how online shoppers make their purchase decisions, the retailer is using articial intelligence technology fromMetrical to streamline its digital customer experience. Since deploying the platform, J.C. Penney saw an 18% reduction in cart abandonment. Tech-focused hires: Former Gap and Walmart executive Sharmeelee Bala joined the company as its chief information ofcer, responsible for the technology systems that support its stores and supply chain. Bala will help combine J.C. Penney’s physical assets with its digital footprint. Katie Mullen, previously with Neiman Marcus, was named chief digital and transformation ofcer and will lead the growth of its e-commerce business. The appointments come shortly after Marc Rosen, who previously drove digital strategy at Levi Strauss and global e-commerce at Walmart, was named Penney’s chief executive ofcer in October 2021. PENNEY FOR YOUR E-COMMERCE STRATEGY?


As consumer demand pushes retailers and consumer goods manufacturers to their limits, a new software-as-a-service solution can help them better anticipate demand surges. SAS collaborated with Microsoft to create the SAS Cloud for Intelligent Planning. Available on Microsoft Azure, the solution predicts demand signals including when, where, and how sales will happen. With the benets of the cloud, retailers can access timely data, increasing supply chain transparency and reducing the time it takes to complete a forecast. The articial intelligence creates self-tuning plans and makes sure the right products are in the right place at the right time, provides short-term demand sensing that turns consumer insight into action, and displays forecasts on any device. By using comprehensive shopper data, the software recommends balanced, protable commercial plans across a retailer's channels and customers. Automated with machine learning, the cloud offering is always up to date. That means better on-shelf availability and a maximum return on investment for inventory dollars.

28 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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