Saving Water in Domestic Services and Restrooms in Grocery Stores

One of the easiest ways to make a dent in your water consumption, and undoubtedly the most visible to consumers, is to revamp your bathroom and domestic services. It is also one of the easiest to perform, as the store can keep running uninterrupted throughout an intervention.  Despite being a relatively small part of the store, the restrooms take up 17% of the water of a store! Here, you’ll find solutions, from easy fixes to complete revamps, that can help you save water, position your brand as green and save money.

You can see how water is used in a grocery store.

You can see how water is used in a grocery store(1).

Toilets and urinals An obvious place to start are the toilets. If the remodel is complete, the decision is simple: go with whatever uses the least water. The water consumption is usually defined in terms of gallons per flush (gpg). Newer toilets cut by up to a third the water used in a single flush. Old models use up to 3.5 gpf  and can be replaced with ULFTs, which use 1.6 gpf, and HETs, which use 1.28 gpf. (2). Urinals can be changed to waterless urinals which eliminate the use of water. If the budget available to a bathroom remodel is limited you must estimate the amount of water used and saved. To do this accurately, separate women’s toilets, men’s toilets, and men’s urinals.  A sample calculation can be found here. Once you do this, you can calculate the water saved per year and, multiply by the rate, the money saved (check to see if you qualify for a lower rate). If you’r looking for simpler interventions that can have an impact on your water consumption, consider the following:

  • Have your building maintenance team test the bathrooms for efficiency and check for leaks (tiny leaks add-up quickly).
  • If you’re using automatic flush systems and sensors, make sure they are not being randomly triggered; ‘phantom flushes’ can negate the benefit of a more efficient system.
  • Make sure the right parts are being used when giving maintenance: a 3.5gpf valve can fit a 1.6gpf toilet, yet the functioning is radically different.
  • Don’t tweak the toilets to use too little water: having to flush twice because of poor functioning will consume water.
  • Paper towels and disposable seat covers are the most common cause of clogged commercial toilets; consider alternatives (sanitizers, air-dryers and continuous seat cover dispensers) (3)

Faucets Faucets are much simpler to tackle, at least in terms of equipment and material. Keep in mind the two main principles: reduce water flow AND duration of use. Unlike toilets, which are measured in terms of gallons per flush, faucets and showers are rated by gallons per minute (gpm).

  • Install faucet aerators: easy to install and cheap (usually under $5 per faucet)
  • Adjust flow to national standards: .5 gpm should be confortable.
  • Install metering faucets (which shut-off after a given time-spam) or negative shut-off valves (where the user must maintain pressure to keep the water flowing)
  • Consider getting rid of sensor-activated faucets, as studies suggest they increase water consumption.(2)
  • Beware reducing the volume of the flow below standards: water may not mix correctly, increasing risk of scalding.

 

Check out our RESOURCES PAGE where you can find more information about saving water, including ratings on equipment and rebates!

 

SOURCES: 1. http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/uploadedFiles/Resource_Center/Library/non_residential/EBMUD/EBMUD_WaterSmart_Guide_Grocers.pdf 2. http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/commercial_restroom_audit.aspx 3. http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/Supermarket_Introduction.aspx

Resources for Saving Water in Grocery Stores.

California faces an unprecedented drought; saving water is a top concern for costumers, regulators, and businesses. In the following weeks we will blog about the opportunities for grocers across the US to save water, money, and become community leaders in environmental conservation. We begin with a collection of resources for you, which we will reference in the upcoming series.

Rebates and incentives finder:

Information and Research:

Best Practices:

 

Big Data for Grocers: what is the buzz or benchmark?

What do grocers have to learn from web giants? Before embarking upon mindless imitation and buying into snake-oil pitches, grocers must have a clear understanding of what Big Data is  and, more importantly, how it fits within the company.

What is Big Data, then? Data scientists in IBM have identified the four dimensions that make Big Data: Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity(1). To put it more succinctly, if it doesn’t fit in an Excel spreadsheet, it’s Big Data(2). It combines large volumes of data from inside the company (e.g. transaction information, inventory data, costumer feedback, in store sensors) and data from outside the company (e.g. macroeconomic data, social media content and mobile devices). By using this kind of data, grocers around the world have achieved amazing results: Safeway uses personalised ads to reach 45% of its sales base(3), Kroger has improved its coupon redemption rate to 60% (4), TESCO’s redemption rate shot up from 3% to 70% (5)!

Big Data Analytics, though, are no longer reserved to industry giants.  Cloud computing has enabled companies to offer services like these to small and medium businesses. Established behemoths, like IBM, Google and SAS, offer integrated and personalised services; there are also grocer-specific platforms, like mywebgrocer(6).

To formulate a Big Data strategy, and not get swept away in the sea of options, grocers must have a clear understanding of their needs and questions. Big Data is not a magical beast that feeds on data, obscurely tamed by obscure data-oracles; Big Data’s answers will be as good as the questions you ask(7). Only then can one know what is worth measuring, collecting and analysing. Some of the problems most frequently approached through Big Data are:

  • Recommendation engines and affinity analysis,
  • Digital coupon targeting,
  • Adjusting inventory to changing environment conditions (weather, competitors, events),
  • Tracking word-of-mouth buzz to understand paths of influence and sentiment analysis(8).

The implementation of an analytics program must go beyond mere projects. As Marcus Shingles, analyst for Deloitte, puts it “The emphasis is on the need to think beyond data tools and techniques, and focus on analytical talent models, decision processes and cultural shifts”(9). The analytical insights of Big Data will only come to those who wield it mindfully.

-The Sutti Team

 

(1)  http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/bigdata/

(2) http://learn.harvestmark.com/rs/yottamark/images/Demystifying%20the%20Use%20of%20Big%20Data%20in%20the%20Produce%20Industry.pdf

(3) http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2013/06/12/safeway-bags-barry-libenson-as-cio/

(4) http://www.retailleader.com/article-pulling_more_meaning_from_big_data-6097-part2.html

(5) http://dataconomy.com/tesco-pioneers-big-data/

(6) Here is a list that may help you get started: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6358-big-data-solutions.html

(7) http://www.foodessentials.com/blog/2013/5/15/problems-with-big-data-in-grocery.html

(8) http://www.teradata.com/Resources/Web-Casts/Whats-the-Big-Deal-about-Big-Data-for-Grocery/?LangType=1033&LangSelect=true

(9) http://www.gmaonline.org/news-events/newsroom/grocery-manufacturers-association-announces-findings-of-cpg-industry-big-da/#sthash.wMSkqZg9.dpuf

Valentine’s Day for Grocery Stores

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and two things are on every grocer’s mind: what to do for your significant other and how to make the most money. Sorry folks, this article only concerns the latter. This romantic holiday has been going on for centuries but this year promises to be the biggest. Let us profile some trends and predictions relevant to your questions as a grocer.

Total spending, according to the National Retail Federation, will reach $18.9B, a survey-high, a total of $142.31 per person (an increase of over 6%). People will mostly be buying (and spending) on: 91% on significant others ($87.94), 58.7% other family members ($26.26) and (to our delight), people will spend and average of $6.30 on classmates and teachers. As expected, romantic gifts are the biggest share of the pie but one shouldn’t neglect other costumers’ needs; costumers are looking to save time and money on gifts for friends and might be more likely to choose a grocery store (as opposed to, say, jewelry where grocers rarely dabble). Now that we know who is it being spent on, let’s see how the money is being spent(1):

How often and how much are people planning on spending this Valentine'sm

How often and how much are people planning on spending this Valentine’s

As you can see, most of the money is being spent on jewelry, but most of the gifts are candy and flowers. The opportunity lies not in capturing the jewelry spending, but using your position as a grocer to attract all those people looking for minor gifts. Once they are in the store, you know what to do. Polls conducted in between 2007 and 2013 show the behavior of costumers during Valentine’s. Going out  seems to have taken the highest hit during the recession; people going out on dates have not recovered since the recession. Most other activities have remained somewhat stable. See how they’ve changed across time here(2):

You can see how different types of purchases have changed through the years.

You can see how different types of purchases have changed through the years.

Now that we know what people are buying, we can understand how large grocer’s share of the pie is. Of all those surveyed, 89% had purchased a V-day gift in the same store where they had purchased groceries and 72% intended on doing it this year. Over half (57%) of these shoppers say they prefer gifts grouped in a single location, and 45% of them want in-store signs to direct them to offers. Only 37% stressed the importance of having information highlighted in circulars and flyers(3). The motion is towards convenience and easy: people looking for deals will most likely use other media.

We have collected interesting merchandising and display ideas in the Sutti Pinterest page. We hope they help!

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 11.02.00 AM

-The Sutti Team

SOURCES:

(1) https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/cupid-shower-americans-jewelry-candy-this-valentines-day

(2) http://retailindustry.about.com/od/statisticsresearch/a/Valentines-Day-Holiday-Retail-Consumer-Shopping-Buying-And-Spending-Trends.htm

(3) http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150209005990/en/Forget-Jewelry-Store-Valentine’s-Day-Retail-Action#.VNpXeVo7Mow

The Millennial Super Bowl and Grocers

The game nears!

Super Bowl Sunday is around the corner. Fans are itching and media is buzzing; grocers rally for a great weekend in sales. This year’s Super Bowl is expected to be the biggest one yet, a victory over the recession: Wall Street gains are finally percolating into consumer spending and grocers are poised to catch a big slice of the recovery pie. As millennials’ purchasing power matures, this year’s Super Bowl is not only bigger but also more connected!

TRIVIA: 1.25 Billion (yes, with a “B”) chicken wings will be eaten during this year’s Super Bowl, according to the Natl. Chicken Council! (4)

This year, 184,000,000 people will watch the game; that is 75.8% of the population of the United States. Of those watching, 79.3% will purchase food and beverages the highest of all categories (the second-highest category, team apparel or accessories, is just over 10%). The planned spending per person will reaches $77.8 (up 14% from last year) and the total bill will come out to $14.3 billion dollars. (1)

Food and beverages are, clearly, the most popular item on people's minds.

Food and beverages are, clearly, the most popular item on people’s minds. (1)

It is clear that it is bigger, but how is this Super Bowl different than the previous one? The National Retail Foundation has some interesting insights into people’s Super Bowl behavior (or, should we say, rituals?). Most of those surveyed (34%) agree that the game is the most important part of the day; interest in the half-time show, commercials and getting together with friends peaks in the ages of 18-34 (i.e. millenials). The value millenials put in the social aspect of the Super Bowl can be seen when asked if they intended to either host or attend a Super Bowl party where the most eager to partake were, again, the 18-34 age group. Planned spending, as well, increases and peaks at the 24-34 year category. Planned spending on food and drinks will reach historic highs this year! (2).

Grocers can expect, from what these numbers show, healthy sales this Super Bowl weekend. But, beyond that, grocers have an immense opportunity to establish their brand in young costumer’s minds and partake in one of the most social weekends of the year. Great service can get you costumers and and your name out there. While most costumers will be using their mobile devices to compare gear prices, the amount sold during the weekend is on the rise as well. Experts expect that 41% of all people watching will use social media during the game, of which over 55% will go through Facebook(3). Expect your costumers to be partaking on the conversation sharing pictures (some of food) and banter. Don’t get caught in the trash talking, but make sure to stay relevant: hashtags might be crucial for visibility.

This Super Bowl is expected to be the biggest one yet and, as millennials mature into working-age and their purchasing power increases, grocers’ strategies must change with them. This year’s game shows clearly that the bad times are over and, regardless of who wins the Bowl, grocers who step-up their social-media game will come out on top and establish their brand with a new generation of costumers.

SOURCES:

(1) https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/184-million-americans-watch-2015-super-bowl-according-nrf-survey

(2) https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/Super%20Bowl%202015%20press_0.pdf

(3) https://www.internetretailer.com/2014/01/31/fans-mobilize-super-bowl-shopping

(4) http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ct-super-bowl-chicken-wings-biz-0124-2-20150123-story.html

Grocers and Organised Retail Theft (ORT)

Organised Retail Theft (ORT) is a $37 Billion problem that affects 96% of retailers(1). Unlike petty thieves, these gangs they are highly organised, entrepreneurial, and technologically savvy. ORT also differs in that it aims to convert the illegally obtained goods into financial gain, not personal use(2). These criminal activities include theft, gift card fraud, receipt fraud, ticket switching and cargo theft(1). Yearly, American retailers spend $27 billion dollars on retail theft prevention(4). Where do grocers fit in the picture and what can they do?

You can compare how are different retailers affected by theft.

You can compare how different retail categories are affected by theft in general.

Compared to most other types of retailers, Grocers’ losses due to theft are near the median. But, considering the small margins prevalent in the grocery retail industry, these numbers gain significance. The size of stores, the complexity in the supply chain and fast employee turnover rate are factors that increase theft and burden grocers’ already small margins. Grocery merchandising is also more vulnerable to theft, specially when compared electronics and jewellery (where everything is locked and tucked away). Are safety and sales pitted against each other? Profit depends on finding the middle point.

Three main factors are identified as contributing to ORT: location, types of goods sold,  retailer’s controls and policies, and store layout and design.

  • Location: stores in malls or near highways are more vulnerable to ORT as they are easier and more efficient target for traveling gangs.
  • Type of good sold: CRAVED goods (Concealable, Removable, Enjoyable and Disposable)
  • Retailer’s controls and policies: a liberal return policy, ratio of part-time to full-time associates, costumer service and sales floor presence, and staffing at entrances and exits.
  • Store layout and design: store layouts can increase visibility and eliminate blind spots, thus maximising the deterrence that employees, electronic systems and other costumers have(2).

These principles were supported by a study in which known retail theft offenders were interviewed about the physical cues that influence their decision to steal. The table summarises the most salient findings(5).

A list of the most influencing factors, as told by interviewed criminals.

A list of the most influencing factors, as told by interviewed criminals.

Together with a preventive strategy, retailers should be prepared for when theft does happen or the offender is caught. At the end, you will find a series of links to interview formats and other resources for retailers to take action and curb ORT.

Together with grocers’ expertise, these insights can inform a strategy to fight ORT. It is important to keep tight inventory control, as this will show the effectivity of measures. A sound strategy will deter potential criminals and reduce shrinkage, thus allowing for bottom-line growth

-The Sutti Team

 

RESOURCES FOR RETAILERS:

https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/Documents/ORC_Online-Investigations-Resources_Directory.pdf

https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/Documents/ORC_Online-Investigations-Resources_Directory.pdf

 

(1) http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41118.pdf

(2) http://www.popcenter.org/library/crisp/organized-retail-crime.pdf

(3) https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/Documents/2013_ORC_Report_FINAL_3.pdf

(4) http://www.retailnetalert.com

(5) etd.fcla.edu/UF/UFE0015826/cardone_c.pdf

Holiday Merchandising for Grocers

Winter holiday season is finally here! These coming weeks are retailers’ most exciting and profitable time of the year. From now until January, grocers can leverage their unique position to make their costumers’ holidays a magical time and, thus, solidify their relationship. Grocers with a good holiday strategy can capture the biggest slice of the holiday spending pie.
A holiday strategy should encompass all aspects of the operation of a grocery store. To best serve costumers during the holiday season, grocers must curate stock relevant to their costumers’ needs and create a retail floor where these can be best met. Breaking from routine, consumers are more rushed and adventurous than ever. A streamlined store caters to their urgency and invites exceptional (impulse) purchases. Correctly stocking the store is crucial; holiday merchandising holds the key.
Seasonal dishes, like turkey and ham, will be definite anchors to the store (don’t forget about seasonal ethnic dishes like cod and tamales). Leverage your retail floor to provide solutions for special meals, as opposed to scattered items. Some examples:

  • Holiday salad isle with fig vinegar, hazelnuts and other seasonal salad items.
  • A station brewing, serving and selling cider and punch (your store should smell like the holidays!)
  • A turkey-dinner display with everything needed to prepare the turkey (brining containers, a turkey baster, a thermometer and carving knives) and the accompanying items (stuffing, etc).
  • A pumpkin-themed desert section, with pie, cookies, ice-cream and chai.
  • A one-stop shop for parties: cups, decoration, hats, balloons, etc.

Consider displaying holiday cooking guides to help with food preparation; magazines that review items and give shopping guides will also be appreciated. Keep in mind that costumers strapped for time are more likely to purchase prepared foods; plan accordingly. By providing integrated solutions to their costumer’s needs, a grocer can establish a bond of trust with the costumer.
Grocery stores traditionally have had a competitive advantage at providing most shopping categories. This study shows the planned holiday shopping, per shopper. (1)

By category, October 2014

By category, October 2014

But research shows that consumer dollars are going into gifts for family members. The following chart depicts planned holiday spending in dollars. (1)

 

By category, in October 2014.

By category, in October 2014.

This means that grocers are receiving the most visits by costumers that are looking to spend in items not traditionally stocked by grocers. Grocers looking to have the most successful holiday season must be proactive and go beyond just groceries.
By partaking on your costumers’ holidays beyond the dining table, you can solidify your relationship with them and increase your sales. Ninety-two percent of those looking to shop for gifts will be doing so in grocery stores; they are mainly looking for value and variety (2). Health and Beauty items are popular stocking-stuffers. Small toys (like dominoes, playing cards, tops and yo-yos) and batteries for toys are particularly effective in point-of-purchase displays. Don’t forget to stock and display gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards!
Use proper signage and promotion to maximise the impact of your inventory and increase sales. Help streamline the flow of costumers and call attention to relevant items with seasonal signage. Completely revamping your store will make the process clumsy, but experimentation, with proper signage, will make your store more exciting. Costumers visit stores more frequently during the holidays; make sure your store is fresh by changing special displays and end-caps. The holidays are, above all, a time to experiment and exercise your creativity.
A grocery store can be a haven from the rush and an ally in the times leading up to the holidays. A good holiday strategy will not only provide costumers with what they want, but help them discover what they need to make this their best holidays yet. Be part of your costumer’s holiday story, they’ll always remember.
Sutti Team

PS: Check out Pinterest for some cool ideas for these holidays.

 

(1) http://research.nrffoundation.com/Default.aspx?pg=9003#.VJC8A1o7Mow

(2) www.imperialdist.com/2009/10/holiday-merchandising/

Who Is the Grocery Store “Holiday Shopper”?

As the winter holidays near, retailers can look forward to the most challenging and rewarding time of the year. The holiday season, though, goes beyond toys and gadgets; people gather to celebrate around meals. Grocers are thus put in a position to impact their costumer’s holidays, develop their brand and rock their bottom line. Grocers can deliver what the Holidays smell and taste and feel like.

Image from http://research.nrffoundation.com/Default.aspx?pg=9039#.VGuF9blkSg8

Image from http://research.nrffoundation.com/Default.aspx?pg=9039#.VGuF9blkSg8

Winter holiday sales, which total over $600 billion dollars, are at a record high. In 2013, consumers spent an average of $730 on gifts, food, decoration and more(1). With over 90% of Americans participating, the winter holidays sales are almost ten times larger than the second largest shopping season, back-to-school. Studies outline the holiday shopper’s profile:

  • 90% of shoppers will make gift-giving a priority
  • 98% of shoppers will make spending time with family a priority
  • 93% of shoppers intend to get together with family and friends in dinner and parties. (2)

This shows that, while most of the hype revolves around presents, the holidays are mainly about our loved ones and, most often, the food we share with them. This discovery is reinforced by consumer surveys: when asked about planned holiday spending, consumers replied as follows.

Image from http://research.nrffoundation.com/Default.aspx?pg=9003#.VGuE77lkSg-

Image from http://research.nrffoundation.com/Default.aspx?pg=9003#.VGuE77lkSg-


1 https://nrf.com/news/the-long-and-short-of-americas-consumer-holidays
2 http://www.imperialdist.com/2009/10/holiday-merchandising/

San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market Expands

 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (center) speaks at the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market as Steve Stamos of Mollie Stone’s Markets (left) and Larry Brucia, market board president, look on. Read More

Sutti Associates’ President/CEO Larry Brucia emcees as Mayor Ed Lee and “More than 150 produce merchants, city leaders and community members joined to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market’s expansion.”

Read more from thepacker.com.