The Changing Consumer: Convenience rules
The foundation of grocery’s evolution is the consumer. As society seeks efficiency across everyday life, today’s shopper is no different. Grocery delivery services continue to be on the rise, with even Walmart now offering this service. Grocery apps are growing: eMarketer research notes that “this year, 18 million U.S. adults will use a grocery app at least once a month, up 49.6 percent over last year.” With this in mind, it’s no surprise that consumers are traversing the store less frequently.
Those that are still heading in-store, though, are looking to make quick “micro-visits.” In fact, Phononic’s report also found that more than seven in 10 food retail executives believe that the grocery store layout is changing to accommodate micro-visits. This knowledge is leading to market evolution, with Amazon launching a grocery pickup service at select Whole Foods locations across the United States.
Grab-and-go items are key to keeping grocery alive, as consumers don’t want to spend hours shopping the aisles. This shopper desire for easy-to-make and easy-to-grab options at the front of the store is posing a serious threat to goods housed in the back – namely, refrigerated and frozen options. This threat can be minimized, however, if grocers shift their strategy and technology to match consumer interests and preferences.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Grocery Expansion
It’s all about simplicity and efficiency. With micro-visits on the rise, retailers must mix up the in-store experience and bring a wide array of goods into the consumer view. In fact, according to Phononic’s “Store of the Future” consumer research conducted earlier this year, 89 percent of shoppers want to shop in a grocery store that understands how to make buying groceries an easier and/or more efficient experience.
According to a 2018 study by CPG marketing firm Acosta, 26 percent of total U.S. grocery shoppers, led by Millennials and households with children, are shopping in the frozen foods department more frequently than last year. We know what shoppers want: quick grab-and-go frozen options. To continue this growth, 53 percent of executives believe that in the next five years, frozen and refrigerated goods will move from the back of the store to multiple placements throughout the store. Ninety-two percent of consumers also say that it’s important that the layout of the store makes it easy to find things. By transforming the in-store layout, stores can ensure that the goods that consumers want are near key points of sale.
The continued growth and development of grocery stores starts and ends with the consumer. As large industry behemoths advance and bring new technologies to consumers, grocers must advance simultaneously – bringing efficiency back into the store. By embracing in-store innovation, grocers can ensure that they’re catering to the modern-day consumer. It’s critical for today’s grocers to keep a close eye to the current market and identify where they can surpass the competition, ultimately enabling them to thrive during this renaissance period.