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Retail food prices projected to rise

Food prices are on their way up at the grocery store this year, according to projections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA Economic Research Service forecasts the food-at-home consumer price index (CPI) to rise 1% to 2% in 2019. Though that’s higher than the 0% to 1% uptick estimated for 2018, the increase expected for 2019 would mark the fourth straight year of deflating or lower-than-average inflating retail food prices, the agency noted in its Food Price Outlook 2018-19 report. The gain also would be less than the 20-year historical average of 2.1%.

2019 Outlook: The Year Grocers Connect Everyday Activity and Ecommerce

The year 2018 was when some of the nation’s top grocers really began to dip their toes in the waters of contextual commerce — the concept of supermarkets’ making it possible to purchase products through everyday activities. For instance: Kroger launched voice-assistant ordering across a number of its banners; Amazon and Whole Foods got “plugged in” to smart ovens; and Walmart, Albertsons and other grocers began connecting their ecommerce programs with shoppable recipes. So it’s right to expect that as food retailers continue to invest further in technology and their omnichannel strategies, 2019 will be a very big year for contextual commerce.

2019 Outlook: The Year Grocers Bring Endless Aisles In-Store

Retailers are feverish about creating their point of differentiation and an improved in-store experience. But for shoppers, delightful design and warm hospitality are diminished when the products they seek aren’t on the shelves, either due to dreaded out-of-stocks or because slow-moving items were removed. Endless aisles online are becoming the norm, with shoppers blissfully unaware that items they obtain through a retailer’s website might not be items that retailers typically carry and are delivered by a third-party vendor. Grocery isn’t immune from the new age of 24/7 shopping and the expectation of next-day — or less — delivery, and it’s increasingly viewed as their opportunity to offer one-stop shopping.

2019 Outlook: The Year Grocers Make the Shopping Experience Mobile-Centric

“Mobile apps are the epitome of blurring the lines between physical and online shopping,” says Tory Gundelach, VP of retail insights at Kantar Consulting, in Boston. “Shoppers are no longer willing to accept one experience in store and a different experience online, and apps are one of the best ways to bridge that gap.”

2019 Outlook: The Year Grocers Crack the Code to Ecommerce Profitability

In 2018, a handful of grocery retailers looked to be potentially cracking the code of how to make ecommerce profitable — by testing automated order fulfillment in their stores, in an effort to lower both order-assembly and last-mile delivery costs.
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