Top 5 Shopping Trends of 2016

How about a latte the next time you go shopping for milk and eggs?

One expert predicts that the number of at home online shopping will continue to grow throughout the 2016 year—perhaps the milk and eggs can be delivered instead. Things like coffee and wine sampling are becoming more common in larger supermarkets to induce customers who would rather shop online, to come into the store and make their purchases.

Americans spent about $638 billion a year at supermarkets in 2014, according to the Food Marketing Institute. However, our average tab, it says, is just $29.90 per visit. Customers averaged 1.5 visits a week in 2015, the institute says. It seems, according to these numbers, that the number of visits would be higher. “Look for grocers to get creative and enliven what has been a mundane chore,” says John Karolefski, veteran supermarket analyst who runs GroceryStories.com.

Karolefski  highlights some trends he expects this year :

Online Purchases

It is expected that more retailers will begin to test curbside shopping with the growth of online grocery shopping and the Instacart application. H-E-B and Hy-Vee recently opened online stores. More grocers will join the 65 retailers partnering with Instacart, which lets consumers order groceries online and pairs them with personal shoppers who hand-pick items at customers’ favorite stores and deliver them.

Smartphone Shopping

Millennials, who will account for most grocery purchases as they start families, can expect retailers to accommodate their social behaviors and cater to them through social media and interactive mobile apps.  Grocers such as Marsh Supermarkets and others have equipped stores with Bluetooth-enabled beacons to send ads, coupons and product information to shoppers. Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) now being tested by Kroger, will spread. ESLs display prices, ads and nutritional information.

Smaller Supermarkets

Hy-Vee operates four 14,000-square-foot Mainstreet stores; Ahold has opened the first of its 10,000-square-foot “bfresh” grocery stores in Boston, and near Portland, Maine, Hannaford opened a 20,000-square-foot store focusing on fresh foods. You can expect to see smaller stores in urban areas become a very common occurrence as the year progresses.

In Store Entertainment

Shoppers enjoy cooking demonstrations, food sampling, wine tasting, and nutritional tours especially in the traditionally large supermarkets with high customer traffic. Chefs at H-E-B stores prepare a variety of recipes every day as part of the Cooking Connection program. At Giant Eagle’s Market District store in Solon, Ohio, it is Food and Wine Friday every week.

Dinner in Stores

One common trend that is expected to continue to grow is the café implementation in large supermarkets. Large retailers like Target, have grown the presence of Starbucks, so the lesser known and more local store have been following suit. For example, the lunch crowd at Mariano’s in Wheaton, Illinois, can enjoy pizza. Giant Eagle’s Market District in Strongsville, Ohio, has a full-size bar next to a cafe.

It is apparent that the retail grocery has a lot of opportunity ahead of them this year to capitalize on these growing trends in 2016. While some have begun to make adjustments in their approach to customer engagements, many are missing the chance to adapt while it is still early enough to make the necessary adjustments.

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