Planet Retail has released a global study in 2016 on new store concepts and experiences in grocery and convenience stores. Below, you find the key findings and ideas on how you can make your store more cutting edge.
Focus on organic and health
The biggest trend worldwide is the focus on organic, vegan and health products. In London, the sandwich shop Prêt A Manger responded to a social media campaign and launched a pop-up store with only vegan and organic sandwiches. According to Nick Everitt, Global Insight Director at Planet Retail, `this is a clearly targeting an untapped market’ and he means that we will see an increase in vegetarian and organic food in all sorts of food groceries.
There are already many stores that carry organic food brands, or launch private health labels and many of them are putting these product ranges in prominent positions in store.
This focus on health can also be seen in the general trend to lift the fruit and vegetable departments to a different level than before. This in not only shown by more ambitious displays in stores but also by information boards about which vitamins the fruits contain or recipes on how the vegetables can be prepared.
The future is in health food, so be sure to stay ahead by providing organic, vegan or other health products to this growing customer segment.
Think fresh, fresh, fresh
Retailers continue to create a compelling environment in their stores through displaying fresh food. Nearly every store – both supermarkets and convenience stores – that Planet Retail visited, shows good examples of stores with eye-catching fruit and vegetable displays.
Also, fresh bakery and appealing deli counters are becoming more popular. More tables with cross merchandising or special offers in fresh food are seen worldwide. Open expanses that give space and make the stores more orientable is also a growing trend, especially in supermarkets.
Even hypermarkets and discount stores will have to rethink their planning and exposure in the future predicts the insight team of Planet Retail.
Use tastings to slow down the experience
The biggest challenge for retailers is to encourage people to spend time in the store. Shopping in the store must offer something extra that make the customers chose the store over another store or the internet. The shopping journey in the store must be an enjoyable experience and not just efficient and fast like ordering online.
A compelling in-store environment is, of course, vital for attracting people into the store, but worldwide many big outlets are taking it one step further by using space in the store for purposes that will slow down the shopping journey. Many in-store experiences now feature areas that encourage discovery, sampling, tasting and dwell time. Tasting can be offered in the deli department as well as product tastings offered by product suppliers.
Another example is to focus on individual product departments, as for instance the wine department where specially trained staff will give advice and service to the customers. Some supermarkets have a bakery and others put their energy on health food or food without gluten. The bottom line is to offer something extraordinary in the shop and giving it a personality that cannot be achieved online.
Seat and serve to slow things down even more
A common way to encourage dwell time in the store is to offer food service. Many supermarkets have been offering restaurant service in store for years, but now even small convenience stores are using all the space available for seats to drink coffee or to eat readymade dishes bought in the store.
Another way of increasing dwell time is to offer an extra service such as picup stations where customers can pick up their orders from Click & Collect services.
If you are trend sensitive, you should provide your customers both seating and serving.
Go digital, but not too much
There are many examples of how digital services improve the in-store experience; browse your beer, spirits or wine or scan a bottle to learn more, order takeaway food and pick it up when you leave the store or mix your tea blend.
In general, customers welcome the digital connection in the store but only as a supplement and as an added opportunity to seek information and not at the expense of personal assistance from the staff.
If you want to be cutting edge, you should offer your customers both digital and personal service.
For further reading, you can order the whole survey from Planet Retail here.