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Differentiating The Grocery Store Experience

The supermarket has been more or less immune to the often repeated calls predicting the death of the physical store but all of that changed over the past 18 months when quarantine prompted a majority of shoppers to experiment with buying their groceries online. Suddenly, consumers who never would have considered digital options for their food shopping were introduced to the quality and convenience of alternatives like home delivery and buy online, pick-up in store services. Even as restrictions ease, grocery retailers must now contend with an expanded list of competitors and a changing set of expectations from their customers, requiring them to rethink the experiences and services that will truly differentiate their offerings and encourage traffic back into their stores.

While an omnichannel approach is undoubtedly the path forward, supermarkets must double down on their stores to successfully navigate this new landscape. Elevated merchandising and displays are boosting discovery occasions and highlighting meal solutions to inspire shoppers to think beyond their shopping lists. Alongside this, efforts to partner and incubate emerging brands is appealing to shoppers’ desire for unique and local options that they can’t buy anywhere else. The addition of more sustainable options is another area where grocery retailers are creating value for shoppers with initiatives aimed at discounting food at the end of its sell by date and formats that eliminate unnecessary packaging. Physical stores and inventory also deliver an operational advantage by helping grocers get closer to their customers and in turn, shrinking the time and distance for deliveries to take place.

Published July 2021