Until recently, most grocery shoppers preferred to select their goods in person. Then 2020 happened and changing shopper habits turned a steady stream of digital disruption into a deluge.

As the industry continues to adapt, three big trends are emerging where Master Data Management (MDM) plays a critical role:

#1: Digital Transformation (And Not Just Online)

The events of 2020 rapidly pushed more customers to adopt grocery e-commerce – 49% of shoppers say they have started or increased buying groceries online.

Yet for food retailers, embracing digital transformation doesn’t begin and end with online ordering. From mobile apps to delivery and in-store shopping, digital experiences are a top priority for today’s grocery customers.


The online grocery experience is unique because shoppers typically buy large quantities of products at once. How easily can shoppers find products on your site? Is the experience frustrating or overwhelming? If so, you can lose business fast. In fact, 76% of online grocery shoppers said they would switch grocers to one that offered a better shopping experience.

Product Information Management (PIM) is vital to powering the right online experience. With PIM, grocers have accurate, consistent, and up-to-date product data to efficiently manage a vast number of SKUs online. PIM also helps link related products for substitutions, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities. Many platforms also include Digital Asset Management (DAM) to link images, videos, nutritional information, PDFs, etc., which helps deliver the compelling online experience consumers crave. Another point to consider is the key role that data plays in the fulfillment of orders once purchased online or in-app, whether it be delivery, curbside pickup, or otherwise.

Mobile Apps

Whether it’s your branded store app or a channel partner (like grocery delivery services), consistent product data is crucial to powering on-the-go digital experiences.

First, customers want accurate information and product availability. Then, when a customer places an order via an app, product data enables store associates to build accurate online orders based on product availability and location. With the rise of click-and-collect and curbside delivery, increasing employee efficiency through well-managed data is essential to attract and retain customers. It also goes without saying that implementing a customer or party data domain can go a very long way with customizing and enhancing the application experience.

The In-Store Experience

Finally, grocers can’t forget about the in-store experience for customers. While e-commerce has gained steam for the industry, in-person shopping is still their bread and butter. MDM helps grocers utilize technology to deliver more enjoyable customer visits.

Grocery stores can provide mobile coupons, personalized product recommendations, enriched product content, list building, wayfinding for products, and inventory checks for in-person customers. Crucially, your ability to connect all three areas – online, mobile, and in-store – with consistent and accurate product information holds the key to customer satisfaction.

#2: Trust & Transparency

Whether its dietary preferences, food allergies, or to maintain ethical eating standards, shoppers want a grocery brand that helps them achieve their nutritional goals. Grocers must focus on supplying transparent food data to help keep their customers healthy and safe. There’s also regulatory compliance to consider.

How does data help grocers accomplish trust and transparency?

  • Tracking Recalls – Data on ingredients, sourcing, suppliers, and locations helps grocers immediately remove any recalled products from shelves and inventory. With customer data, they can even alert the right customers based on what (and when) certain products were purchased.
  • Ingredient Sourcing – Shoppers today don’t just want to know the nutritional data of foods; they’re interested in where the ingredients originate. With accurate product data syndicated across channels, customers can view information on sourcing to ensure they align with their ethical and sustainability goals.
  • Personalized Dietary Recommendations – Customers are more aware than ever of how products fit into their eating plans. Those looking to avoid gluten or sugar, for example, may struggle to locate and verify that food products align with their respective diets. With MDM, grocers provide personalized recommendations to meet their customers’ needs. Combining data on customers, products, and locations can also help grocers identify where their product selection is lacking.
  • Meet Shoppers’ Budgets –According to a survey conducted by IRI, 85 percent of shoppers are buying private label products. To capitalize on this trend, grocers must develop their own recipes and operate in-store kitchens. MDM makes this possible with high-quality data around ingredients, recipes, nutrition, and formula data – plus, the ability to generate the final product SKUs.

#3: Staying Agile Behind the Curtain

Not every data-driven benefit will be visible to customers. Some of the operations behind the curtain can take a big step forward as well.

Grocers depend on many facets to keep things running smoothly. And with tight margins across the industry, operating at peak efficiency is a must.

Managing data on suppliers, products, customers, locations, and even assets like self-checkout machines and freezers, allows grocers to deliver satisfying customer experiences while gaining operational excellence. These efficiencies can build on one another, adding insights that drive improvements across every area of the business. A great way to ensure fast, accurate data when working with suppliers is to consider a vendor or supplier portal system as part of your MDM initiative.

A Data-Driven Future for Grocery

As it has for all of us, 2020 has required the grocery industry to quickly adapt. Retailers have made significant gains in the process, but without the right data foundation, it’s far from sustainable. To keep up with buyer expectations, grocers will have to embrace technology and the right MDM strategy.

At Amplifi, we understand your unique market challenges and how to apply the right people, processes, and MDM technology to help you thrive. Contact us to start the conversation.