Tech an essential ingredient to capturing customer food-to-go missions

The food-to-go (FTG) market is smoking right now – outperforming almost all other areas of convenience retail. The market is tipped to reach £21.2bn by the end of the year and grow by a further £0.5bn by 2022 according to MCA and HIM’s UK Food To Go Market Report 2019.It’s a direct result of customer demand for convenience and a desire for more grab-and-go variety.  Consequently, 12% of all trips to a convenience store are now driven by FTG missions.

Accordingly, there are lucrative rewards for retailers who tap into this burgeoning phenomenon.However, it’s not simply a case of stocking shelves with sandwiches to capture some lunchtime trade.  Consumers have ever more sophisticated tastes, so retailers need to consider how they develop and innovate their offering.  Hot food especially is proving valuable – driving an increase in basket spend by 20% when it is offered.  Considering seasonal preferences, healthier options and even merchandising by time of day are other important considerations for retailers embarking on FTG for the first time or indeed planning to grow their range.  

In fact, some savvy retailers are taking this approach one step further, exploring in-store franchisees and inviting local operators to take up store floor space to offer a localised and community feel to their FTG offering.Whatever the approach retailers take to augment their product lines, store ranges inevitably grow, and so do the promotions and offers necessary to entice customers, capture impulse purchases and target specific eating occasions like breakfast or lunch.Don’t neglect technology as you investTruly exploiting an exciting sales opportunity like FTG requires more than just investment in new and different foods to sell.  It creates new challenges at the till and in-store, and will be made much easier with good technology in support.  Heritage POS systems arrived before new trends like this and aren’t equipped to tackle the growing product lines, more complex promotions or speed of service FTG shoppers expect.  

Similarly, as more promotions increase, the possibility of accidental double-discounting on customer baskets, inadvertently gives away hard-earned margins.  By comparison, next-generation EPOS systems have the capability to eliminate double-discounting, giving retailers confidence to get creative with promotions and stack outcomes either in their own or the customers favour.  Likewise, capitalising on the grab-and-go habits of shoppers means slick merchandising that mirrors shopper intent and could change multiple times a day – old school pop-ups and paper shelf-edge promotions become time-consuming to reinstall and re-circulate between changing mealtimes for example, which could change every few hours.  

Digital signage offers a more flexible and more economical alternative to promotion displays, with the freedom to simply and quickly deploy as and when needed.Capitalising on FTG with TLMFTG is bringing a wave of new opportunities to retailers.  TLM is helping retailers to confidently make the most of this by developing the role of technology in their business and then connecting them with market-leading solutions that not only make their lives easier but maximise on the opportunities like FTG that lie ahead.If you’re looking closer at FTG or would like some advice on how technology could help you as you diversify, get in touch.

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