Research sheds light on how big box stores can gain competitive edge in the age of 'Micro Seasons'

Using store data to uncover micro-seasonal trends and accurately align supply with demand, is key to the future success of big box stores in the UK, a new report has concluded.

Experts from Bossa Nova, the provider of real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry, say that the demise of the ‘weekly shop’ and move towards a daily or even hourly convenience-led shopping does not spell the end of traditional supermarkets.

The report, titled ‘The Rise of the Micro-Season’, details how even if customer basket sizes decrease thanks to more frequent shopping trips, real-time store data enables them to make the most of short-lived buying occasions. This could be pizza-and-beer on a Friday night to healthy meal-prep ingredients on Sunday afternoons.

Furthermore, Red McKay, European Managing Director and VP of Global Sales at Bossa Nova, says: “Although micro-seasons have always existed to some extent, the rise of convenience-led shopping and the availability of in-store data mean they represent an untapped growth area for retailers.

“In the same way that traditional calendar events such as Christmas and Easter provide sales opportunities so too can micro-seasons even if they only last a few hours in any given day. Knowing when people are likely to buy certain products means that big box and convenience stores alike can be agile in responding to demand.”

The findings come at a time when, despite the proliferation of discount and convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets will still account for half of the grocery market by 2024.

McKay added: “Micro-seasonal trends may differ from store to store, depending on its location (urban vs rural, residential vs business district), as well as the time of year and weather. By tapping into the data, and making informed decisions, major stores can be as agile and competitive as their discount and online counterparts.”

Bossa Nova uses bleeding-edge robotics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence technology to help automate the collection and analysis of inventory data. This technology, which will be rolled out in 300 plus stores by 2019, enables retailers to increase product availability, keep up with demand, streamline stock management and improve overall customer experiences.

The company is now in talks with UK retailers who are keen to implement the technology in their stores.

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