The grocery category has lagged the digital transformation of other retail categories. It’s still lagging, mostly due to consumer inertia. Consumers are pretty used to shopping in the grocery store. More than any other retail category, they like to select their own products from the shelf and explore new items throughout the physical store.

For the grocer, impulse sales and product discovery generate significant revenue, and lots of items are perishable. These grocery-specific retail attributes present real challenges when planning the timing and availability of inventory for digital or omnichannel. Add to that the fact that grocery is a business that runs on thin margins. Making online grocery work optimally for both the shopper and the grocer is challenging. Although many of the challenges, including user experience, can be addressed with the right technology, getting to the right technology comes at a cost. That cost has been out of reach for most players in the grocery category.

Today, all those things are changing. Obviously, COVID has had a transformative impact on consumer behavior, expectations and perspectives. For the grocer, the cost of ecommerce technologies, like prediction and recommendation engines has come down significantly. And both consumer and grocer are realizing real advantages to online grocery commerce.

In our latest episode of FIVE, the Innovation Podcast for Marketers, Jason “Retail Geek” Goldberg brings along a cart-full of hurdles and advances in grocery commerce innovation. It’s fascinating that some of the things that make grocery retail so unique allow it to break some of the traditional assumptions about online shopping and solve some of the biggest issues.

Today, we’re continuing to learn a lot from the grocery channel. “Cross platform” goes both ways. How a category works in the digital world can help feed back into the offline world to improve optimization in-store, and vice versa.

In the new episode, titled “Rethinking Grocery Commerce,” show host Jake Moskowitz talks with Jason Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, about the challenges, innovations and opportunity in grocery retail and how the category is finally catching up