Smaller and more focused stores
Smaller footprints have more opportunities in urban locations and in mixed use projects. Grocers like Aldi and Trader Joe’s benefit from the flexibility to take smaller spaces in vertically integrated projects. HyVee recently announced that while traditional-sized stores will still be rolled out, smaller format stores of 10,000 s.f. will be a focus.
Some brands will continue expanding footprints, but traditional and legacy grocers may begin focusing on existing inventory and investing in improving the shopper experience.
Data driven technology
As shoppers demand more digital integration, retailers have new access to unprecedented amounts of data. Restock Kroger, Kroger’s most recent innovation strategy, will tailor stores to the shoppers that frequent it, customizing shelf displays, store layouts, offered products and operations based on the preferences of local shoppers.
Blockchain is a digital technology that has been talked about at length in the media, but also tough to easily explain. For the grocery industry, blockchain has the capability of improving food safety, allowing products to be recalled more quickly, and improving inventory management. With blockchain’s ability to improve data management between stakeholders in the supply chain, the grocery industry is prime for integration. To learn more about the promise of blockchain technology, read our report, Another link (or block) in the supply chain.
Partnerships and consolidations
Kroger is not only looking to acquire Boxed but has been reportedly in discussions with Ace Hardware to allow the hardware supplier to have pop-up kiosks in Kroger stores. The acquisitions with the greatest implications will occur between grocers and non-grocery companies that focus on innovation and technology that can build upon digital networks, logistics, delivery, and customer engagement.
Expect grocers with existing rapid checkout technologies to continue to roll out programs across the country and for others to join the ranks of Kroger, Walmart and Amazon who have been testing checkout free concepts. Walmart is expanding Scan & Go mobile checkout to 100 more stores and Kroger’s Scan, Bag and Go will be in 400 stores in 2018, and to much fanfare, AmazonGo opened to the public in the beginning of 2018.