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Bülent Dal Ι CEO

We have been reading and hearing many predictions on Covid-19 pandemic which has threaten the whole world’s health and economy. In this article, I have compiled the findings regarding the effects on grocery retail, which undertook the most important mission in the fight against pandemic after the health sector and addressed the expectations based on the IT sector solutions.

 

It is quite obvious that the pandemic will not end completely for a long time according to the predictions. When we consider this, it is predicted by many authorities that permanent new shopping habits and service models will emerge. It seems that these models will be built on the need for contactless shopping. As a result of the contactless shopping need, online shopping is expected to increase beyond the expectations were made before the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

Contactless Shopping:

During the pandemic, the most prominent consumer behavior is choosing contacless shopping options. Retailers, shopkeepers or shoppers need to implement some solutions to minimize the risk of spreading virus. Many applications in physical stores appear to enter our lives; such as regulating the flow in front of shelves, increasing the number of cashier-free check-out points, increase in mobile and contactless payment options, self-service shopping with mobile applications or smart baskets, service at special hours for customers at high risk.

 

In online shopping, it seems that the delivery to the closest collection point or to the customer car, which is especially popular in America will increase. Companies such as Target, Kroger (4), Walmart, Whole Foods and Safeway are expanding their car delivery option every day. I think this can be an option in Turkey at stores which have enough parking spaces. It is stated that 70% of the consumers in the USA will pick up the products from a collection point and 64% will prefer “curbside picking” -delivery to the car (3).

 

The contactless shopping experience that WalMart offers in “Curbside picking” model to leave the products directly into the car’s baggage and in home deliveries taking no customer signatures. (5)

 

Stunning Increase in Online Shopping: 

Growth in online shopping is observed all over the world. Considering the American market where the most researches done , we encounter striking results.

In the table below, when we observe the growth forecasts of the percentage share of the online food retail in the total sales till 2025 and the growth after Covid-19 until today, it is observed that the 2-year growth forecast is reached within the Covid 19 outbreak. (2)

 Regardless of when the crisis will end, the ratio of online sales to total sales is expected to reach 10% by the end of 2020. Before Covid-19, it was predicted that it would normally reach this level within 4 years.

When we look at the graph below, which is also quoted from the same research of Deutche Bank, it is predicted that the volume of online sales during the Covid 19 will continue by 54% after Covid-19.

 

If Covid-19 continues, we can say that online sales can easily reach 12% by the end of 2020.

 

Online Shopping and Turkey : 

AC Nielsen’s consumer survey taking the period between March 8th to April 5th, gives us information about trends in Turkey. In the early days of the pandemic period in Turkey a serious stocking behaviour in basic needs and a serious incursions into the physical stores had been seen, and an increase in online shopping after the social distance preventions and restriction to over 65 age group. According to research 41% of online shoppers shop more frequently than before. Among 41%, there are probably first-time online shoppers. A study conducted abroad can shed light on what this number could be. According to the research conducted by Acosta for the period between 6-12 March, 28% of online shoppers made online shopping for the first time in March.

 

If we focus on Turkey again, 49% of online shoppers have stated that they will continue to shop food, beverage and household cleaning products online after the pandemic. This predicts that the online retail market on grocery and fast moving consumer goods will increase more than normal.

 

When we refer to the growth rates in the first months of 2020 compared to the previous year in product category bases, we see that there was an additional growth between 2 and 4 times compared to the normal. It is observed that there is 3-digit number growth compared to the same period of the previous year, ranging from 120% to 220% in category basis. (9)

 

Meanwhile, whether there are disruptions in delivery times in online sales in Turkey, though I can say compared to abroad there is better lead times here. You have to wait at least 2-3 weeks in most places to supply non-essential products in America. We see up to 2-4 day delivery times for all the products listed in Turkey.

 

Equivalent product preference increased. The customer is more open to trying new products.

According to the research, 60% of consumers are not insistent on the immediate delivery of the product. Agree to wait. In this period, 65% of consumers tend to try new products. (1) A serious increase is observed in private label product sales. It is necessary to consider this audience and rebuilt the product portfolio accordingly. Turkey is in a better position compared to many other counties in terms of the brand diversity and stock availability of essential products.

 

More storage and shipping space will be needed.

With the increasing tendency of consumers to pick the product from a collection point, the need for more storage and shipping space will increase. Increasing the storage areas that will keep the product at the desired temperature will be inevitable. As Kroger started with ClusterTruck (8), model, restaurants without customers (Dark Kitchen), where customers do not served inside, will develop.

 

We will see that certain areas of supermarkets have turned into a collection area. In fact, some supermarkets have completely transformed into the “Dark Store” concept during the pandemic. (7)

 

Changing Consumer Habits: 

In a study conducted in late March after the first panic phase in the pandemic process, it turned out that 65% of food shoppers changed their shopping habits. When we go into deep, the changes can be observed on the basis of the demographic segments below. (3)

Source : Grocery Shopping during the COVID-19 Pandemic , Acosta, April 2020.

Getting more open to the equivalent product: 88% of shoppers could not find the product they were looking for, and 47% of these customers bought the equivalent products for more than half of the products they couldn’t find.

 

A decrease in the frequency of customer visits and an increase in per basket size were also observed. Initially, after the high demand for cleaning and packaged products, people’s eating three meals at home increased the demand for fresh and meat products more than usual during this period. Considering China, Italy, Hong Kong and Singapore, we can come to a conclusion about how the behaviors in this period will be shaped and what will be permanent.

 

In my next articles, I am planning to mention the information infrastructure and business models of retailers due to theses effects.

 

I believe that challenging processes will have positive, long lasting results on business and social life. Food Retail will also successfully exit this exam; In my next articles, I would like to include details on issues such as digital transformation, increased domestic production capacity in agriculture and animal husbandry, a higher level of food safety, and the producers to interact more closely with consumers. While this process is continuing, it will be beneficial to deepen a little more in matters that will create added value to prepare for the future.

 

 

Sources:

  • 5 Realities Retailers Can Do NOW to Help Protect Their Businesses LATER. April 16, 2020 Nicole Leinbach Reyhl – Retail Minded
  • THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ONLINE GROCERY – “Why the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 will change the grocery industry forever in the United States, April 2020″

 

 

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