STORE SPACES

‘Store of the Future’ predictions involve pop-ups—and no checkouts

BY Marianne Wilson

Competition, convenience and checkout technology are shaping the grocery “store of the future.”

That’s according to a report by Phononic, which surveyed more than 200 executives across the United States that work in the grocery and food retail space, including traditional supermarkets, convenience stores and big box retailers that sell groceries. (The study mirrors many of the concepts examined in Phononic’s “Store of the Future” survey of shoppers conducted earlier this year.)

Looking ahead five years, 85% of retail executives said it is likely more physical stores will be offering ways to auto-replenish basics, and 81% said it is likely that there will be pop-up supermarkets in urban and rural areas to make it easier to shop. Almost two-thirds expect supermarkets to become more of a community social gathering place with bars and restaurants (65%). And 64% predict the majority of supermarkets will be checkout free.

In addition, over half of executives (53%) say that over the next five years it’s likely that frozen and refrigerated goods will be distributed throughout stores, rather than just at the back of the store; and 74% believe sales of frozen foods will continue to rise in popularity.

In other findings:

• When asked to identify the biggest grocery disruptors, over half of food retail executives (54%) pointed to Amazon, 41% identified Walmart, and 25% said online food delivery services, while smaller numbers believe it’s Kroger 10% and Target 8%.

• Three in five food retail executives (60%) say their organization invests enough in in-store technology, and 70% say that when it comes to implementing new technologies to improve customer experiences, their organization is proactive.

• However, 49% of food retail executives say grocery stores haven’t yet figured out how to use technology like other retailers have. Half of consumers (50%) agreed with this statement.

• Eighty-seven percent of executives say they have worked a great deal to create an optimized store layout; 72% believe the grocery store layout is changing to accommodate micro-visits.

• At the checkout counter, over half of food retail executives say offering more prepared grab and go meals would perform best.

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