What if you could eat at the same place you shop, and shop at the same place you eat?
Grocery stores are encountering some shifting temperaments in the new generation, and that’s leading to a lot of experimentation regarding what will and won’t work. Let’s take a look at what could be changing.
Grocery Stores Are Changing
The world of grocery stores is changing. More people are ordering goods online than going into a store to purchase them, and that means that grocery stores have to focus on packing and order fulfillment more than they really need to focus on display.
This sort of shifting mechanic means that many grocery stores are struggling, as they need to adapt to a new world. The grocery stores that aren’t Walmarts or Targets aren’t the ones getting online orders; the big box grocery sores are. And so, they are also seeing a reduction in purchasing.
It Began With In Store Restaurants
Several years ago, grocery stores started placing in-store restaurants to draw people in. Walmart had always had things like salons, McDonald’s, and Starbucks, but now grocery stores were putting in actual in-store eateries.
People can have a meal, do their grocery shopping, and then leave. This strategy means that people will actually come to do their grocery shopping, because it’s no longer an inconvenience. They’re already there.
Of course, this also somewhat competes with a grocery store: People aren’t going to buy ingredients for a dinner they’ve already eaten. But the goal is to get customers inside and buying.
When customers are able to purchase things online, something happens. They stop buying impulse purchases. Impulse purchases are a lot of business in a grocery store, which is why registers are stacked with snacks and candies. Being able to purchase online means people can more carefully consider what they do or don’t need.
Millennials: Eating Out More than Cooking In
The other issue that grocery stores face is that millennials are eating out more. Many don’t have the time to cook, or have never learned how to cook from their parents. Instead, they’d rather purchase a quick, cheap meal. And if that can’t happen at the grocery store, they may not go to the grocery store.
Because of this, many grocery stores have also started to sell recipe kits. These recipe kits began their life on the Internet, as kits that were shipped directly to people with everything in it for a meal. Now the recipe kits can be purchased directly in store, coaxing out those who want to start cooking, but who may not necessarily be confident in the kitchen.
A Win-Win for Grocery Stores and Restaurateurs
The advantages for grocery store/restaurant hybrids aren’t just for the grocery stores. Many chain restaurants have found it difficult to attract millennials, and many of them have found malls becoming dead and vacant. For restaurants that aren’t located in strip malls or in freestanding buildings, there’s been some difficulty: usually malls gave them enough walk by traffic, but that doesn’t happen anymore.
Thus, restaurant owners are also excited about the proposition of being located in a sort of community nexus, but that only works as long as the grocery store can still sustain traffic on its own. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target are hard at work finding new ways to make the traditional grocery store more appealing to a non-traditional crowd.
A generation of latch-key children in the 80’s, and a generational skills gap, has led to a large number of people who simply have limited use for the grocery store. They either don’t cook or they cook rarely, and they purchase a lot of their household goods online or through an app rather than walking the aisles.
Grocery stores are finding new ways to counter this new world, through the addition of new services, and by shifting to a more delivery-focused mechanic. In the future, the average grocery store may look extremely different — more like a mall than an actual grocery store.