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Grocery Store Wars: Who Is Winning and Who Is Losing

Grocery Wars Infographic

If you didn’t realize it, the supermarket industry landscape is rapidly changing. Over the last few years, curbside pick-up, delivery services, and even online shopping services have brought about innovative changes. But these are not the largest shifts that the supermarket industry is experiencing. Newcomers are engaging in intense grocery wars with some of the biggest retailers in the sector. And the ultimate winner is anything but certain.

While Walmart and Kroger are still the largest retailers in the supermarket industry, new names are gaining market share quickly. Aldi grocery stores and newcomer Lidl are aggressively challenging long-standing companies as the grocery wars heat up. In fact, these two German-based chains specifically are entirely disrupting the grocery shopping experience. How the major players in the supermarket industry react next may determine who survives in the future.

An Unexpected Strategy of Supermarket Industry Disruption

As the leader of the supermarket industry, Walmart collected $184 million on grocery sales in 2018. This figure represents over half the company’s total revenues for the year. How did they do it? By being the low-cost leader and out-pricing their competitors. Amazon, who bought Whole Foods for $14 billion in 2017, has tried a similar approach. And both are pursuing online, curbside and home delivery services to further entice customers.

Given this blend of low prices and hi-tech convenience, industry disruption would not be expected. However, stores like Aldi have done just that. For one, they have outperformed Walmart on price with most items averaging 15 percent less than Walmart’s. Also, more importantly, they have attracted customers through its no-frills stores, private label brands and a smaller number of selections. One might not expect customers to like such things, but the opposite is proving to be true.

a photo quote of Mikey Vu amid the complex grocery wars in the supermarket industry
Mikey Vu shares a valuable point on consumer behavior.

Grocery Wars —The Battle Lines Are Drawn

At present, Aldi has around 1,800 stores in 35 states in the United States. However, the company is expected to have over 2,500 stores by the end of 2020. That will make Aldi the third largest grocery retailer in the U.S. supermarket industry.  As part of the grocery wars, Aldi shows itself to be rather bold. This German-based chain recently targeted Bentonville, Arkansas, for a store location. Being Walmart’s headquarters site, Aldi looks to be embracing its upfront role as a player in the grocery wars.

a photo quote of Katrijn Gielens amid the complex grocery wars in the supermarket industry
Katrijn Gielens points out one of Aldi’s strategies amid the ongoing grocery wars in the industry.

Aldi’s strategy is simple—cut costs everywhere possible without compromising on quality. The average Aldi store only has three to five employees working at any one time. How is this possible? All staff members undergo cross-training, and customers do much of the work. From cart returns to bagging their own groceries, customers have accepted this role in exchange for lower prices.

a photo quote of Greg Foran amid the complex grocery wars in the supermarket industry
Walmart U.S.’s CEO and President acknowledges Aldi’s competency and success in the supermarket industry.

The Future of the Supermarket Industry

Based on recent events in the grocery wars, three key areas of competition are evident. First, customers want low prices and good quality. Second, while brick-and-mortar stores are still preferred, added convenience services are appreciated. Third, grocers do not have to have fancy stores and brand names to thrive. Lidl, another no-frills and low-cost upstart, has adopted a similar strategy as Aldi in this regard. It, too, is making waves. Indeed, the supermarket industry chains that can compete in these areas will be tomorrow’s survivors of the grocery wars.

In the meantime, Southeastern Grocers—the parent company of Winn-Dixie and BI-LO—has filed for bankruptcy. Amazon has yet to convince their Prime members to buy into their Whole Foods brands. And Kroger is rapidly shifting gears, adding more private label offerings at increasingly lower prices. Other companies like Instacart and Peapod represent addition supermarket industry disruptors that may also play a role in the future. Not only are the grocery wars seem to be rather complex, but also how all this will shake out is yet to be determined.

How Internet Security Companies Are Halting Data Leaks From Searches

If data is what fuels the Internet, then the clandestine acquiring of that data is akin to thieves drilling a hole in a pipeline to steal crude oil. Which is to say, data breaches are prevalent, and a threat that’s dangerous to all. From individuals, all the way on up to conglomerates and municipalities, the notion of secure data has become less of an assumption and more of a luxury. And that puts Internet security companies, and the solutions they devise to tackle this problem, at the forefront of the battle for cybersecurity.

But sometimes data breaches aren’t the result of a hacker weaseling his way through a firewall and cracking a password. Sometimes, the data is stolen via a browser extension. Or it’s culled from search information and used to create a behavioral profile. Either way, Internet users have an expectation of privacy when it comes to their data, and increasingly, Internet security companies are striving to define innovative solutions to address these issues.

Ellison Anne Williams talking Internet security
Enveil is one of a number of Internet security companies out to make browsing safer.

Seeking a Security Solutions Company to Fill the Gap

Enveil Inc. is one security solutions company that is hoping to change the game when it comes to keeping Internet search. Founded by Ellison Anne Williams, Enveil keeps data encrypted as businesses search untrusted Internet sites for information. Their ZeroReveal platform offers a scalable solution for search and data analytics without revealing anything about the search itself. With over $4 million in funding, Enveil is among one of the boldest Internet security companies today.

For a security solutions company, firewalls, storage encryption and other cybersecurity measures routinely protect data privacy integrity. However, this is often not the case for that period when users search the Internet. The source and content of the search offer key data points that provide essential insights about consumers and businesses. Enveil encrypts such data during the search and when using the cloud. But this approach is not the only strategy that Internet security companies are taking.

GeoEdge CEO talking Internet security.
Data collected for advertising purposes is still data unknowingly given.

GeoEdge, also a security solutions company, takes a different approach. Founder Amnon Siev sought to make Internet searches safer for kids and adults alike. GeoEdge thus works from the advertising side to prevent inappropriate content and security threats from harassing Internet site visitors. This strategy includes not only the parent site and approved advertisers but also related third parties as well. Here again, the goal is to protect Internet user data and privacy in an area that has yet to be well-protected.

Another security solutions company is DuckDuckGo, which offers an application and browser extension to prevent data-tracking. As one browses through DuckDuckGo’s browser extension, the ability for Internet sites to track data is disabled. With the current reality of over 1.1 billion searches a month, the demand for DuckDuckGo as a security solutions company is apparent. And as Internet users become increasingly concerned about the privacy of their data, DuckDuckGo will likely continue to thrive. Indeed, it is an Internet security company that provides an efficient solution to its customers.

Mark Weatherford talks about ever-changing cybersecurity industry
Internet security companies have a tough nut to crack when it comes to keeping user data safe.

From Internet Security Companies to Internet Policies

From Enveil to GeoEdge, businesses and customers alike are expressing their desire for greater privacy protections. These concerns need to be addressed through state and national policies. California has already moved toward this direction. Presumably, other states will as well. Nevertheless, for now, a security solutions company like Enveil—and others alike—must take the lead until such changes evolve.

Indeed, these bold Internet security companies offer the best privacy protections for Internet search available today.