David Glaza
September 28,2023
3 min. to read

GroceryShop 2023: Unveiling the Industry’s Premier Conference

GroceryShop, the premier event of the year for all things related to the digital grocery industry, is like the industry’s biggest party held at the luxurious Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Attendees are in for a whirlwind of activity, from early morning breakfast meetings at Citizen to late-night sessions at the blackjack tables. It’s a bustling blend of brands, agencies, retailers, friends, and prospects, making it one of the most intriguing events on the calendar.

COULDN’T MAKE IT THIS YEAR? HERE ARE MY TOP TAKEAWAYS

If you couldn’t make it to GroceryShop this year, don’t fret. I’ve got you covered with some key takeaways from the event. And if you’re considering attending next year (which I highly recommend), be sure to read my guide on how to make the most of your GroceryShop experience!

RETAIL MEDIA: ALL GROWN UP

In past GroceryShops, presenters often needed to introduce Retail Media and evangelize its benefits to the crowd. It was a fledgling concept finding its footing in the industry. But times have changed, and I’m here to declare that Retail Media has matured! Major brands now routinely invest $10 million or more annually in the big Retail Media Networks (RMNs), a sign of industry maturity.

The conversation has shifted towards standardizing measurement, exploring new regional grocer RMNs, and tapping into emerging inventory channels. Expect these topics to take center stage in the coming years.

ROUNDEL STEPS UP IN GROCERY

In 2022, I had my reservations about Roundel as they sent only one representative to GroceryShop. Shoppers sometimes criticized Target for not being a “real grocery store,” and I sensed Roundel might be falling into the same trap. They opted to focus on other events and conferences.

But this year, Roundel came ready to compete! They sent around 20 team members, secured a private meeting room, and spoke at several key sessions. I spotted my Roundel friends actively engaging on the conference floor, driving business and strengthening relationships. It was great to witness their commitment.

IN-STORE DIGITAL SIGNAGE: THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

As RMNs continue to evolve, they must find ways to monetize in-store foot traffic, where more than 80% of sales occur. Digital shelf signage is emerging as a promising avenue. But I’m not referring to Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) alone; think bigger! Full-strip motion LEDs and complete header LED screens are on the horizon, all programmatically connected to a central DSP for scheduled ad delivery across store networks.

While there are current challenges with attributing shopper IDs, I’m confident that with advancements in computer vision, shopper check-ins, or advanced shopping carts, true RMN closed-loop capabilities via these screens will become a reality.

REGIONAL GROCERS ARE ON THE RISE

Every person has a favorite grocery store, and it’s not always a retail giant like Walmart or Kroger. Many people adore regional gems like Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Giant, and others scattered across the nation. These regional players, led by Hy-Vee, are making a substantial push into the RMN business. Hy-Vee even had a keynote speech and sponsored the event.

From a shopper marketer’s perspective, when a customer sees an ad for a new flavor of chips, they’re more likely to convert if it comes from their favorite store, not the Walmart they visited six months ago. So why limit RMN spend to Walmart alone? Optimizing RMN spend according to shoppers’ favorite stores will be a significant trend, extending beyond product locators.

MEETUP: PRICELESS AND FREE NETWORKING

Meetup made its debut at GroceryShop after launching at ShopTalk earlier in the year. This event offers double-opt-in matchmaking, pairing attendees for 15-minute get-to-know-you conversations.

As a growing agency, I find Meetup exceptionally valuable. It provides a no-commitment setting where people are willing to share details, strategies, and results more openly than during a keynote speech.

For more insights and information, check out my recap video here.

WISHLIST FOR GROCERYSHOP 2024

For the GroceryShop team, here’s my wishlist for the 2024 event:

  • Add More Sessions: This year’s sessions felt somewhat smaller, and I believe there’s room for expansion.
  • Enhance Exhibition Booths: I heard from a few friends who had booths this year that traffic was lower than expected due to Meetup sessions, offsite lunches, and concurrent sessions. There must be a better way to connect interested attendees with exhibitors.
  • Include More Regional Grocer Content: The Hy-Vee session was a hit, so let’s keep that momentum going. Consider dedicating a whole track to regional grocers next year!

GroceryShop 2023 was a grand success, and I’m already looking forward to what GroceryShop 2024 has in store!

Dave Glaza, Founder & CEO of DIGITS , remains committed to bringing digital capabilities to physical stores! Join us in this quest for omnichannel marketing on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidglaza/

Follow DIGITS on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/digits-agency/