With the growing hype surrounding online grocery shopping, many may think the traditional grocery store is a thing of the past, when in reality the grocery store is poised to take on an even larger role in 2016 due to new and exciting offerings.
A place to gather: The introduction of restaurants and bars into a traditional grocery store setting is one addition that is beginning to take off with stores such as Kroger and Whole Foods paving the way. These high-quality establishments are winning shoppers over with an atmosphere that turns an “errand” into an enjoyable outing.
Creating a shopping experience: Gone are the days of fluorescent lights and sterile aisles with nothing but products lining the shelves. Grocers like Wegman’s have turned grocery shopping into an enjoyable experience. How? By mimicking an old-time bazaar where shoppers can interact with specialists and gather fresh products that range anywhere from specialty cheeses to artisan breads and flowers, thus extending the amount of time consumers spend in the store.
Focus on fresh: There is a newfound appreciation for fresh and organic foods, largely due to the number of millennials now doing their own grocery shopping. While Whole Foods and Sprouts have been focused on offering organic products since their inception, the expectation for other stores to carry more organic products is growing. To accommodate this demand and draw traffic into stores, grocers are introducing demonstrations, health seminars, cooking classes and taste testing in stores to equalize the shift to e-commerce. When you can order so much online, it’s essential to offer consumers something that’s diverse and compelling to draw them into the grocery store. Kroger has recently opened its new fresh focused store under the name of Main & Vine. The store focuses on fresh, affordable, local produce and meat, local bear and wine and freshly prepared foods.
There will likely be a shift away from the traditional, but I do not foresee grocery stores going anywhere for a long time. Rather than allowing the rise of e-commerce grocery shopping to diminish the importance of brick-and-mortar stores, grocers have begun to evolve to meet changing consumer needs by embracing multiple internet strategies, and I think they will always continue to do so.