Convenience is important to grocery, but so is fun

Dive Brief:

  • Retailers are looking to create grocery experiences to lure busy consumers in store and away from online e-tailers by revamping their store formats and product offerings, according to The Shelby Report. James Cook, director of retail research at JLL, identified four industry trends that are growing as a result: the rise of the grocerant, convenience tech, in-store meal kits and store openings. 

  • Grocerants — grocery stores that feature in-store restaurants or prepared food sections — aim to keep shoppers in store longer while creating an air of convenience, allowing shoppers to enjoy a meal after they've made their purchases. At the same time, retailers are adding tech like scan-and-go apps that speed up the checkout process for shoppers who don't want to linger.

  • Retailers are also capitalizing on the meal kit trend by offering meal kit products in store, and are are expanding store locations in underserved markets to better reach consumers and decrease drive times. 

Dive Insight:

It's an urban myth that consumers don't have time today to grocery shop: They simply don't take time to do so. 

But a person's shopping time should, by its nature, be among the most enjoyable parts of the day – and grocers are working to make it so. Cooler layouts, more consumer-oriented product choices, more service departments, even more excitement in center store, product demos and seasonal offerings – all oriented to make shoppers' hours less stressful and more enjoyable. 

Shopping apps are making it easy for the app-aware to order in advance, skip checkouts and otherwise avoid shopping intimacies – but, in the process, missing out on specials, or fun impulse buys and the “exciting” discoveries one can make browsing a store's shelves.

Progress, such as it is, comes at a price. Apps are all fine and good, but they tend to eliminate the “human” from the human experience. To work with the pressed-for-time, stores have two plains of experience to improve. Yes, it is important to invest in technology to help make shopping quicker. But it also pays to invest in the in-store experience to make the time spent shopping seem like less of a drag.

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Filed Under: Grocery