18 May, 2022

GroceryShop 2022 – the present and future of personalization

Louise Taylor

GroceryShop 2022 ended on a high note with a robust discussion about the present and future of loyalty marketing.  The hour long panel discussion emphasized the challenges retailers and brands face moving the needle with customers, the growing implications of omnichannel on loyalty, and how loyalty should be thought of as both a transactional relationship and emotional relationship with customers (the latter being more difficult).

The personalization gap

Personalization is key to building a 1:1 relationship with consumers.  Although many brands and retailers have taken a significant step forward using personalization to build loyalty, opportunities remain.  According to presenter Ken Fenyo, President of Coresight Research, retailers and brands rate their personalized marketing efforts much higher than their actual consumers.
“71% of brands and retailers think they excel in marketing personalization, BUT only 34% of consumers think the same”

Loyalty now and into the future

Panelist Michael McGowan, SVP of Commercial Insights & Loyalty at 84.51° stressed that despite the volatility of the last few years, the importance of customer loyalty is constant.  For 84.51° and Kroger, personalization remains a competitive differentiator, but adapting to fluctuating omnichannel and digital engagement starts with listening to your customer.  For personalization to work, you must meet customers where they are and how they like to shop – whether it be direct mail, digital offers, in-store shopping or omnichannel
McGowan also highlighted that customer loyalty should strive to expand from a financial relationship to an emotional connection with customers.  After all, food is emotional for many, and sharing a meal with friends and family certainly is too.

The potential of personalization

Personalization is powerful. Done well, it can strengthen customer relationships. Done poorly, it can irritate consumers immensely. Yet avoiding personalization altogether is no longer an option; Instapage reports that 74% of customers feel frustrated if website content isn’t personalized.

When it comes to online retail experiences, personalization can achieve great things. The same Instapage research found that personalized promotions on website homepages influenced 85% of online shoppers to make a purchase. For personalized shopping cart recommendations, the figure jumped to 92%. But a good personalization strategy shouldn’t only focus on sales – it should focus on enhancing the customer experience, according to Northfork Head of Sales US Erik Drew Hopp. He states:

“Personalization is about providing the customer with relevant content. It’s making their shopping experience more enjoyable or more convenient. If you can deliver personalization that saves the customer time, you’re on the right path.”

How to personalize recipe content

Northfork combines recipe metadata with a customer’s shopping history to serve relevant recipes. Its tech can suggest recipes based on favorite products or meals. It can also focus on criteria such as waste reduction, price or organic ingredients. This all helps craft a personalized recipe shopping experience.

Flexibility is also key. A weekend meal might need to serve six instead of four. Customers may want to remove items they already have in the cupboard from ingredient lists. They may want to swap an ingredient for a different product, replacing chicken with tofu or an expensive cut of beef with a cheaper one.

“Recipe shopping solutions need to factor in all this and more,” continues Hopp. “There’s the technical side of personalization, but consumers also need to be able to change things themselves. That part of the process needs to be frictionless if the overall experience is to be a positive one.”

Making the shopping experience more personal also means serving recipes relevant to the customer’s last basket. For a more dynamic solution, Northfork can also recommend recipes mid-shop, with suggestions based on ingredients already in the shopper’s basket.

At every stage, personalization is about making recipe shopping more natural. It adapts to the customer’s needs and behaviors, saving them time, energy and money along the way. And this is what keeps them coming back for more.

About the author

Louise Taylor


Louise is Northfork’s editor and is passionate about all things food.