Boost in digitalization in German food retailing due to the corona crisis – eCommerce Magazine

The corona pandemic posed enormous challenges for food retailers – and at the same time accelerated the path to the digital future. Every third German supermarket or discounter is now pursuing a comprehensive digital strategy. For comparison: Last year it was just 14 percent. This shows the new study “2020 supermarket of the future“. For the study, the company specializing in digital market management Responsive acoustics (ReAct) conducted an expert survey among owners, managers and market leaders in the German food retail trade in June.

Supermarket of the future: digitalization boost in food retailing

Hamster purchases, distance regulations and hygiene measures have led to a rethink as well as a digitalization boost in the German food retail sector. According to their own assessment, 32 percent are already following one comprehensive digital strategy, another 48 percent are betting individual digital projects around. In the previous year’s study, only 14 percent had a real digital strategy, just under half relied on individual digital projects.

Supermarket of the futureSource: ReAct

“Many retailers were surprised by the rush of customers in March, could not fulfill all wishes and also had Supply chain problems. The result: A lot of improvisation took place during the lockdown. The key to a more efficient organization and a stronger customer orientation lies in digital market management – and this is exactly the potential that many food retailers want to exploit right now, ”says Wilbert Hirsch, founder of Responsive acoustics.

Responsive acoustic deer
Wilbert Hirsch is the founder of Responsive Acoustic.

Virtually every area of ​​retail is affected by digitalization. The study participants named ERP (67 percent), shopping experience / better service (64 percent) and employee management (57 percent) as the three most important digital topics at the moment. “What is striking is that skepticism has given way to retailing and that digitization is now rated more positively,” observed retail expert Hirsch. “86 percent of retailers assume that the industry as a whole will change positively as a result of digitization in the next three years. Only 72 percent shared this view in 2019. ”

Holistic digitization: technical requirements not met

Supermarket of the futureSource: ReAct

Skepticism is also diminishing among employees. In the past year, 60 percent of the respondents named the fears of the workforce as the greatest challenge for digitization in food retailing. Against the background of the current positive digital experiences, this value shrinks to only 46 percent. However, there was no progress with the lack of technical requirements in many supermarkets and the still lacking IT knowledge among managers and employees.

Supermarket of the futureSource: ReAct

“The shape of the corona lockdown was certainly an exceptional situation. But during this time, the limits of traditional market management were relentlessly exposed, while the benefits of digitization paid off for customers and employees alike, ”summarizes Hirsch.

Also read: Buying groceries online: what chance artificial intelligence offers retailers