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Mass merchants, automation, and grocery inflation - Weekly Snacks #43

Campaign Corner

Try it for yourself. Actor-turned-surgeon, Steve Martin, puts on quite a show during Super Bowl LVII in an ad for Pepsi Zero Sugar, pretending to perform a nose job on a dog. But he assures viewers that it's all just acting, and his job is to make the performance seem believable. Whether he's showing frustration while waiting in line or pretending to enjoy a bland dinner, everything he does is part of a big act. After taking a swig of Pepsi Zero Sugar, he exclaims how much he enjoys the drink, but it's unclear whether he's acting or being genuine. To find out, viewers are encouraged to try it themselves.

Forever caring. Following a tender moment where a little girl promises to always care for her pet named Bear, the two embark on a lifelong adventure together. Their journey includes playing indoor tag, taking daily walks through all types of weather, dealing with toilet paper messes, and enjoying trips to the beach. Throughout it all, Bear is nourished with The Farmer's Dog's custom dog food during mealtimes. This Super Bowl ad from The Farmer’s Dog will make you tear up, so grab your napkins before watching it. 

It happens. During Super Bowl LVII, Pringles’s ad tells an inspiring story about those who share a common struggle. In the midst of grabbing some Pringles, an unsuspecting snack lover gets his hand stuck in the can. But his grandpa reassures him from the couch, saying that it happens to everyone. In fact, even some of the most accomplished members of society manage to keep the world turning while dealing with their hands caught in Pringles cans. Surgeons, judges, airport ground crew members waving semaphore flags, and even celebrities like gameshow contestants and Meghan Trainor all lead successful lives while sporting their "Pringles gloves".

Technology elevating retail

Self-checkout technology. What should grocers consider before investing in this technology? While self-checkout can improve efficiency and reduce labor costs, grocers must also consider factors such as customer experience, loss prevention, and system maintenance. GroceryDive recommends that grocers evaluate their current checkout processes and customer needs, assess potential risks and benefits, and choose a technology vendor that can provide a scalable and reliable solution. 

Mass merchants online. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of online grocery shopping, and mass merchants are using their size and scale to compete with established players like Amazon and Instacart. Walmart, for example, has expanded its curbside pickup and delivery options, while Target is leveraging its Shipt platform to offer same-day delivery. The article also notes that mass merchants are able to offer lower prices than some traditional grocers, which could further fuel their growth. 

Experts in Retail

Price decrease demands. Do grocers have the leverage it takes to strong-arm their suppliers into reducing prices? Various experts answered this question in one of Retail Wire’s discussions. Here’s what Shep Hyken shared on the topic: 

Automation in retail. Do you believe that 65 percent of all retail work can be automated within the next few years and, if so, what would that mean for people working in the industry? These were the questions answered by retail experts in one of Retail Wire’s discussions. Carol Spieckerman mentioned that: 

Localization and the situation with grocery prices

Coca-Cola’s going local. The company has launched several pilot programs that target specific geographic regions with tailored content and messages. One program, called "Hyperlocal," uses data analytics to identify specific neighborhoods in major cities where Coke consumption is highest, and then delivers targeted ads and social media content to those areas. Another program, called "Centers of Excellence," involves partnering with local retailers and restaurants to create custom marketing campaigns that highlight their connection to Coca-Cola products. These initiatives are part of Coke's broader efforts to connect with consumers on a more personal level and build stronger relationships with local communities.

Grocery inflation. Reports show that grocery inflation in the US continued to decline in January, with overall prices up just 0.4% compared to the same period last year. This marks the lowest rate of inflation since August 2020 and a significant drop from the 1.4% inflation rate in December. Lower prices for meat, dairy, and produce contributed to the decline, while prices for non-food items like paper products and cleaning supplies continued to rise. The article also points out that competition among retailers and private label products has helped to keep grocery prices in check.

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