People tend to shop within three miles of their homes and in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, the supermarket remains one of the few places almost everyone visits regularly. This means that shoppers will most likely cross paths with people they know at least once during their average of two grocery store stops per week. Grocers are well-aware of their significant place as a community gathering place and are drawing on that as they continue to offer additional conveniences and services such as coffee counters, café areas and beer gardens. Now, not only do you run into your friends and neighbors at the supermarket, but that quick conversation in the aisle can turn into a chat over coffee without even leaving the store.
In her recent FoodDIVE article, 7 trends that will define grocery retail in 2017
, Sandy Skrovan lists “shopping experience” as a big focus for grocers right now as they look to get shoppers to “shop longer, spend more and stay loyal.” This is supported by the emergence of wine-tasting sections, juice bars and other specialty or themed areas which offer seating or other gathering space designed to provide experiences that engage consumers. In addition, loyalty cards such as Kroger’s Plus Card program, draw on big data and advanced analytics to provide shoppers with information and coupons tailored to the individual or family – keeping them loyal by giving them exactly what they want.
Lv Anderson’s article on the popular cooking site, Epicurious, 7 Ways Grocery Stores are Changing for Millennials
, discusses the impact that millennials are having on the grocery experience. Members of this generation typically dislike shopping, but appreciate a more comprehensive overall experience. This supports the expanded services and offerings that grocers are currently implementing. Anderson’s article covers the “grocerant,” a-la-carte meal kits, new check-out and pick-up options, personal shoppers and more. All of these contribute to an enhanced experience with increased mobile and technological shopping integrations. They also cater to the other largest population, baby boomers, who place great value on customer service and the ability to touch, smell and test the products they purchase.
Grocery stores have traditionally served as a gathering place. They will continue to prosper by providing even more shopper experiences and opportunities to interact with their friends and neighbors. Online retailers will be challenged to counter the depth and breadth of the customer service, personal interaction and community feel that our brick-and-mortar grocery stores are able to offer.