**The following blog post contains a brief discussion of the state of online grocery retail, and then turns to look at an experiential company (Daybreaker) that has partnered with a grocery chain (Whole Foods) in what is a unique example of experience-based retail. At root is an exploration about how we understand customers, what they want to see in today’s brick-and-mortars, and how “experiential” can have a broad range of applications.**
Here we are now, almost a year out since Amazon officially announced its acquisition of Whole Foods Market, the chain known for its high-quality, natural, and organic grocery store model. This $13.7BN deal fueled speculation that the e-commerce giant was making a play for a larger share of the online grocery retail market, and could feasibly change the entire way we think about food access. Sure enough, we have seen some marked changes in the way Whole Foods functions, but has the trajectory of online grocery retail changed all that much?
Some insight can be gleaned from a recent article by Neil Stern, a contributing writer for Forbes, wherein he summarizes Forrester’s “The State of Global Online Retail 2018” report. Here are some of the key findings from it:
- The global online grocery market is predicted to double from $150BN in 2017 to $334BN by 2022
- The online grocery market is still wide open “as retailers race to become the default provider”
- Countries differ in their adoption of online grocery based on factors like geography and economic maturity
“DAYBREAKER IS CREATING AN ENTIRELY NEW GENRE OF EXPERIENCE. We are a global movement driven by incredible humans who turn crazy ideas – like sober early morning dance parties – into reality. What began as a social experiment and art project, Daybreaker is fueling a worldwide movement to increase mindfulness, camaraderie, wellness, self-expression, and mischief.”
Mindfulness. Camaraderie. Wellness. Self-expression. Mischief. These are the Daybreaker core values. And personally, I think these serve as a great shorthand way to describe the Millennial shopper (depending on how you slice the age brackets). Some might quibble with that statement for reading as reductive, especially the Daybreaker apparatus itself, but often times that’s an inherent challenge to understanding any customer demographic. We always prefer to collect primary data when possible, whether through first-person testimonials, surveys, focus groups, etc, but comprehensive big picture analysis also requires we look at things like U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, secondary syndicated sources, and other aggregated information that necessarily obscures individual nuance.
To summarize, if you feel like you don’t understand how Millennials shop, perhaps this is a good template. I don’t have figures for direct economic impacts of the Daybreaker event, but without a doubt it created strong associations between an established retailer and an exciting experiential brand. Nor was this the first time Daybreaker had collaborated with a large retail brand, having also partnered with Saks, Nike, IBM, Samsung, Macy’s, GE Electric, Clinique, etc. It also raises an interesting paradox when you go back to Forrester report: dense urban centers where brick and mortars may be more imperiled by online retail is precisely where young Millennials concentrate, and thus where it makes more sense to explore experiential marketing opportunities.
- The Amazon acquisition has not impacted brick and mortar grocery the way many anticipated
- Regardless, online grocery is a growing share of the overall market
- With that in mind, retailers still need to think about how to differentiate themselves and not be boring
- That means understanding your customers and what gets them up in the morning (in this case kombucha and a dance party)
|Instagram post from the Daybreaker Austin launch