The food industry and its retailers are using technology to increase productivity and enhance customer service, according to the annual state-of-the-industry report released by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in the US.
The retailers are leveraging technology to improve efficiency and consumer service. More than four in 10 retailers (41.8 per cent) offer online shopping. Nearly all (91.5 per cent) use scanning data to measure their advertising impact. Nearly eight in 10 retailers (78.8 per cent) use frequent-shopper data to target mailings to customers most likely to need the items advertised.
The retailers are also using new technologies to establish more efficient trading environments with food suppliers. New technologies such as electronic on-line supply chain networks, are allowing food distributors to provide a more efficient, faster service.
Over half of food retailers (55 per cent) use computer data to schedule labour. Scanning data, for example, reveals the peak shopping times showing retailers when to have the most checkouts open and the low-traffic periods when the aisles are clear so shelves can be restocked without disrupting customers.
Retailers are also using technology to control unpredictable energy costs. The vast majority (84.8 percent) use electronic systems to control heating, ventilating and air conditioning, to defrost cooling equipment (81.0 per cent) and to manage lighting (78.8 per cent).
Last year technology and efficiency initiatives contributed to industry's after-tax net profit of 1.25 per cent of sales in 2000-2001 - a three-decade high.