By: Doug Baker, Vice President Industry Relations-Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute

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I was recently talking with Art Yerecic, president of Yerecic Label, and he shared that they are seeing consumers buying produce online, even ahead of dry grocery, demonstrating the need for food retailers to offer more channel flexibility. I see this as yet another way technology is changing the way food retailers do business.

I hate to sound like the old guy, but the fact is that technology today moves at such a rapid pace that it’s hard to keep up with the latest gadget, device or app that is going to improve your life. When I think about sitting down to actually test out the latest technology being raved about and consider the implications for food retail my head starts to spin. But like it or not, from what Art is sharing, technology is changing the way people are shopping and, therefore, it is changing food retail.

That’s why this June technology will be a major educational focus at FMI Connect because savvy retailers need to understand how to leverage technology to adapt to their business needs and especially to the changing needs of their shopper base. FMI has dedicated more than a dozen varied educational sessions specifically to this topic. Beyond the simple presentation of information, these sessions enable you to connect with the leading experts who can share:

  • Payment solutions that reduce cash losses and improve labor rates;
  • Demonstrations of how some retailers are using beacons to engage consumers successfully in their stores; and
  • Case studies on how some banners are making grocery eCommerce profitable.

Most importantly, when you attend FMI Connect, you become part of the current retail technology dialogue. You’ll have time to test out technologies, ask questions of experts and talk to your peers about how these innovations might impact your business.  Here are just a few highlights of some of the technology insights and experiences waiting for you at FMI Connect:

  • 24/7-Real-Time Customer Service - Thanks to the growth of social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, shoppers are connected every minute of the day and are demanding immediacy in all interactions, from price comparisons across stores and locating items in the store, to relevant promotions while walking the aisles.
  • Grocery Apps - The ever-rising share of mobile connectivity among shoppers allows food retailers to access shoppers in many useful ways. For example, almost 66 percent of retailers have store apps, with features such as coupons, list creation and recipes; about 58 percent now use mobile advertising; and approximately 68 percent have optimized their website for mobile use.
  • Advertising shifts - The paper circular is slowly being replaced by digital forms of advertising including website promotions, apps, and social media promotions. Millennials, in particular, are very likely to use these digital ways of researching promotions.
  • Mobile payments - The continuous development of new mobile payment methods has prompted two-thirds of retailers to make plans to accept mobile payments.

You don’t have to wait until FMI Connect to start leaning about the latest technology. We’ll be hosting a pre-FMI Connect webinar Behind the Techno Curtain on May 4 at 1:30 pm ET where we’ll ask questions of cyber security expert Major General Brett Williams, USAF (Ret.). Register for the webinar and learn more about technology at FMI Connect


  • Asset Protection
  • Retail Operations