Every consumer wants fresh stuff, especially when it comes to groceries, which is the reason why some people go to the extent of even have gardens in their homes. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have an extra space to put up a garden in their homes and the only option they have is to run to the grocery stores. The problem is that getting fresh groceries is hard even in these stores and the consumers are left with no choice but to buy the ones that might not be so fresh. Supermarkets also offer another choice of getting fresh groceries but the main problem is that sometimes it is easy to get ones that have stayed in the fridges for days. The demand for fresh and organic groceries has continued to increase and supermarkets are now inventing new ways of offering their customers what they want. The innovation involves introduction of rooftop gardens where the supermarkets grow their groceries for themselves instead of outsourcing them from suppliers. The rooftops are a good strategy for reducing the costs of goods and also providing consumers with quality products and the big data analytics can be useful in helping the supermarkets achieve their goals.
a) To provide information about rooftop gardens and how it is helping meet the needs of the consumers.
b) To discuss problems faced by both consumers and sellers in getting supplies that they need at a time when most consumers are moving towards organic farm products.
c) Discuss for the rooftop gardens can help Saudi Arabia to increase its export of organic farm products.
d) Discuss the importance of big data analytics can help the retail industry achieve their goals of providing the consumers with the products they need.
Recently, consumers have become aware and more sensitive about the connection between their nutrition and they are shifting towards organic products as they have been proven to have more health values. However, the main problem is that getting constant supply of these products is becoming a problem in a world where GMO’s have been acknowledge as a way of solving problem of food scarcity. Retailers are finding it difficult to provide their customers with what they need. Retailers, especially supermarket have invented a new way to solve this problem by introducing rooftop gardens where they can grow their organic products to help them meet their needs. The purpose of this research is to provide information about big data analytics can help retailers achieve their objectives of providing the products that consumers need.
In the last one decade, consumers are becoming sensitive of the nutritional value of the food they eat and how they affect their health. In the last few years, grocery retailers have found themselves in challenging situation as it is becoming increasing hard to get fresh and organic supplies for their customers. The purpose of this research is to discuss the innovation that has resulted to rooftop gardens that are becoming popular in the supermarkets. The paper also discusses the role played by big data analytics help the retailer use the information or big data they collect to know what the consumers want and how big data helped them come up with the idea of green rooftops to meet the needs of their customers. This chapter of the research is based on reviewing the existing literature to provide background information about the need for green rooftops as a result of shifting consumer demands. The chapter also discusses the use of the Big Data analytics collected from their customers in determining the need for these rooftop gardens and how it will boost their businesses.
Food Retail Industry
Retail food industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of business as consumers around the world consumers depend on food for their everyday survival. The industry has been rated sixth globally in terms of size and grows at an annual rate of 14.4% which means that it significantly contributes to economic growth of the countries that produce them (Mohapatra 1). Retail food is simply described as all types of food, except those consumed in the restaurants and they usually involved those products purchased and consumed off the premises, in places like grocery stores and supermarkets. Retail foods are broadly classified into two categories, which are either perishable like kales, fruits, tomatoes, etc. or non-perishable like cereals. While the non-perishable products are easy to store as they do not go bad easily, perishable products on the other hand require advanced storages like fridges and freezers to help them remain unexpired for longer period.
In the last few years, the demand in food retail industry has been changing as the consumers are becoming aware of health importance of organic food. The demand for organic products is there increasing and retailers have been struggling to satisfy their consumers with the quality of food they want. Usually, retailers depend on supplier from farmers which can sometimes be exported from other countries and they take long before reaching the consumers. Consequently, consumers usually get food that is not fresh due to the duration of transport or the period they have been stored in the shelves. Besides, while some of the products might be labeled as organic, there has been problem of lack of trust as some of these products are compromised. Besides, the urban population is growing at a very fast pace making it difficult to satisfy them with the existing suppliers hence there is need to introduce innovative ways of making the organic food available to them without compromising on the quality (Specht, et al. 33). In tackling these problems, there has been an emerging trend among the supermarkets where they have introduced rooftop gardens where they can control how their groceries are grown to ensure that their quality is not compromised.
Rooftop gardens have been classified as one of the several kinds of Zfarming that are helping tackle the problem facing production of organic foods. These gardens can be placed on top of residential houses or commercial buildings such as supermarkets and restaurants, and they can produce for home consumption or for frsh products in the restaurant and office kitchens (Dubbeling and Massoneau 48). Productive rooftop gardens are not only helping in the production of organic foods but are also making the urban areas more productive by utilizing the available spaces and reducing the effects of global warming. Rooftop farming is not a new idea but it is becoming a necessity and it is expanding in terms of scale as consumer demand shifts towards organic foods. In the case of supermarkets, it reduces the time wasted when ordering and transporting food to the supermarket shelves which can have devastating effects on perishable products.
Grocery Stores Practice
Grocery stores are usually the main places urban people can get fresh products of their choice and they are considered an important outlet of food products. However, the role of the grocery stores is not only to act as an outlet for food products and they should go beyond to ensure that the food they sell to the consumers are safe for consumption. Farm produce contributed to more food borne diseases than any other category of food which makes it important for the grocery stores to ensure the their practices meet the expected standards of safe food and this include ensuring that they are aware of how their products are produced (Paulin 99). The grocery stores have to maintain cleanliness and also ensure that their products meet the expected standards by the consumers, failure to which there are going to lose customers.
Recently, grocery stores have been experiencing significant decrease in their sales and there have been questions that are leading to this problem. Accordingly, it has been argued that lack of knowledge among grocery store owners is one of the biggest problems as the owners lack knowledge on how to change their customer service practices (Dinh 1). One of these customer service policies is to ensure that the products in their grocery stores are safe for consumption, which involves ensuring that the products are organic as the consumer needs them. However, lack of this knowledge acts as a barrier as most grocery stores lack consumer data that will inform them on their customer’s buying behavior which can assist them I applying the best practices. Product availability is considered as one of the key components of performance in customer services, and this availability has been argued to be one of the main challenges affecting customer retention in the grocery stores (Aastrup and Kotzab 765). Product availability incorporates a lot of practices such as ensuring the goods are available in the right form, flavors and sizes as well as ensuring that they are in saleable condition and shelved in the expected locations.
This problem of availability can easily be solved through the use of rooftop gardens through a number of factors. First, rooftop gardens ensure that the product delivery time is reduced as there are no warehouse required hence the produce will be in the right condition by the time they reach the consumers as there is no a lot of handling involved. In addition, the rooftop gardens can help reduce operation expenses for grocery stores as there are no middlemen involved. The other advantage is that the seller gets to inspect how the food is grown and nurtured until they are mature, hence they have the power over the quality, especially when it comes to organic products.
Organic Food Supply Chains
The market for organic food has been growing in the last few years and the trend is expected to continue as the consumers shift to this type of produce. Accordingly, statistics indicate that in the United States alone, the market of organic food has reached 38.9 billion Euros and the growth is similar in Europe and many other countries around the world. One of the main challenges affecting this sector is that the demand is growing at a faster rate that the suppliers hence the issue of out-of-stock in retail shops is a common phenomenon. According to statistics, the organic food market has grown at an estimated rate of 400% globally, which indicates that there is need to invent innovative methods of organic food production (Gajdić 1463). This innovation will ensure that both suppliers and consumers get constant supply of the organic products and it will also help in tackling the problem of shortage in future.
The increasing demand of organic food has brought with it numerous challenges which begin from the place where these products are produced until they reach the final consumers. The first problem is in balancing supply with demand where the demand is higher and sometimes overwhelms the suppliers, which usually result to shortage in the market. Secondly, ensuring high quality is a problem as most of the times these products pass through several middlemen before they reach the final consumer hence they are usually not fresh as the consumer would need them. Thirdly, organic products are usually expensive not only due to the materials used in the production but also as a result of long chain of supplier where each stage involves and additional cost. The forth problem is the issue of efficiency as sometimes it is hard to get access to these products, hence sometimes the suppliers are out of stock which affects the efficiency of the grocery stores in providing food to their customers. Lastly, cross contamination is another problem which begins from the farmers themselves to the way the organic products are handled during transportation.
The purpose of rooftop gardens is to ensure that there is constant supply of the products to the suppliers so that they can meet the need of the consumers. These rooftop gardens are usually located in the same location as the retail shop which means the transportation cost and duration is reduced hence it helps in reducing cost of operation and condition of the produce as they reach the final consumers. In other words, the innovation helps the consumers get the products while they are still fresh. In addition, the supplier is able to maintain control of the how the products are grown harvested and transported, hence the chances of contamination are eliminated.
The purpose of this paper is to show the benefits of big data analytics to rooftop supermarkets in Saudi Arabia. When it comes to research about big data, the research design is different from as it does not involve other traditional methods of data collection and it involves analysis of the data collected through various methods that does not involve customer direct involvement. In this study that data was collected through loyalty programs of supermarket based on the consumer buying behaviors and trends. Big data involves a lot of data that sometimes is irrelevant to the study and the main task is data analysis as the researcher has to sieve through the huge to identify the data that is relevant for their case. This study involved analyzing the information collected by the supermarkets in Saudi Arabia on the number of customers buying food products from the retail industry within in a span of period five years from 2015 to 2017.
As mentioned earlier, Big Data research involves reviewing huge amount of data where most of the information available does not make any relevance to the consumers. For this study, the analysis section involved selecting the most relevant information from the data accessed from the customer loyalty programs and other methods of data collection. To ensure that the data was relevant to the program, the analysis involved identifying the information that is directly connected to the retail section in the last five years to formulate a historical trend that will be used to predict the future of food retail industry in Saudi Arabia.
Popularity of Supermarkets Based on Sales Trend
The above graph was adopted from the Big Data on supermarket sales with the aim of investigating the popularity of the supermarkets in the country. The information indicates that sales have been on the rise since 2008 but the trend is seemed to start stabilizing towards the beginning of 2016 which means there is need to understand what has been causing this decline in popularity. This table is important in this study as it helps the supermarket retailers track the growth of this subcategory which helps identify the areas that need to be improved.
One of the main problem identified in this research the challenges the analysis of Big Data. The data provided is too huge yet the information that is required is less than 5% which makes the rest information irrelevant. The Big Data makes it a challenge to identify the necessary information that is required to address the research question. The second challenge is that the information is generalized and it is a challenge to identify sectors that specialize of food retail.
Implications of the Research
The main goal of the study is to identify the benefits of big data in supermarkets in Saudi Arabia. The data analysis attempted to identify various areas that the big data can be useful. The data was used to identify sales growth, common retail stores which deal with groceries and growth of food retail sector in the country. The significance of this research is that it will help those interested in rooftop gardens to identify if there is any market for the groceries which are usually grown in the rooftop gardens.
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