Redefining the Grocery Store Experience
The in-store grocery store experience has gone through many ups and downs in the past two years. In 2019, many retailers were on the brink of experimenting with new floorplan configurations and in-store experiences, but 2020 brought some of that pilot testing to a halt. As the market continues to stabilize, and in-store shopping becomes safer and more efficient, grocery chains are starting to reconsider what the modern consumer wants from a grocery store. From in-store sampling to unique experiences, and even in-store dining – 2022 is sure to bring about a huge change to the way that shoppers view the grocery store experience.
Recently on our podcast Beyond the Shelf, we spoke with Daniel Yaffe of AnyRoad about the power of experiential marketing. He gave us some valuable insights into how the modern consumer is not only expecting great products (and services) from brands they frequently purchase from but also looking for unique experiences. These experiences can be anything from in-person or digital events to classes and shopping experiences. However, as Daniel specifies, the goal of these experiences is to allow brands to create stronger and lasting bonds with customers who are interested in not just purchasing from a brand but experiencing it.
In our interview, we also touched upon how experiential marketing extends into the grocery store experience. Chains such as Costco have been utilizing experience-driven marketing for years with in-store sampling, and specialty grocery stores often have in-store dining experiences that keep shoppers coming back for more than just their grocery needs. The popularization of experiences such as these is becoming more widespread as grocery retailers further understand why modern shoppers are looking for a more robust shopping experience.
Evaluating the Center Store
In a recent article on Grocery Dive, reporter Jeff Wells discussed how grocers are livening up their center store aisles. A huge focus of these changes is break-up the long aisle format that has been a grocery store staple for many years. By interjecting experience-driven assets to the center store, retailers are bringing attention to often forgotten categories. These experiences include specialty stand-alone refrigerated units, destination departments, and digital touchpoints (such as kiosks or scannable tags). By drawing attention to the center of the store, retailers are encouraging customers to roam and potentially discover new products.
Looking into the future, we can expect more grocers to reevaluate the grocery store experience. By adding unique experiences and unconventional displays, retailers are adding value and incentive for shoppers to spend more time in grocery stores and explore more.