Photo by Martijn Baudoin on Unsplash

Written by: Gary Hawkins, founder, and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART)

Read Grocery Dive’s article HERE

While nearly all the supermarket retailers are experiencing substantial sales increases during the COVID-19 crisis, many would be less excited if they knew what was happening under the surface. A select few retailers with extensive customer intelligence are understanding that many shoppers have switched their shopping to a competitor while the remaining shoppers are shopping more frequently and spending more. And while this is a good scenario today, what happens if and when shoppers begin reverting to pre-crisis shopping behavior? If those lost shoppers don’t return, some supermarket retailers are going to be in a tough spot.

These findings, based on actual customer shopping behavior, are mirrored in mobile-based location data. Studies of two significant retailers show a significant drop in the number of unique mobile devices (smartphones) going to the retailers’ stores. This was seen when comparing January to the following months as the crisis unfolded. Those mobile devices that continue to go to the stores are going more frequently.

Now combine these powerful insights with the rapidly growing focus on digital shopper engagement. Those retailers armed with actual customer insights are positioned to execute highly targeted stealth marketing campaigns to win back the lost shoppers. And indeed, these efforts are already underway in several markets. The frightening aspect of this scenario is that those retailers lacking customer data and insights won’t even know what’s happening.