Many products are the same and have become commodities. The way that customers differentiate between brands is by their experiences, and that’s especially true in the grocery industry. The grocery store of the future will be much more focused on experience than just things. Customers won’t choose the store because of the products; they’ll choose it because it offers a convenient or beneficial experience. It will be a place where customers come to learn about their food and experience it in new ways instead of just buying it. That means stores will offer things like cooking classes, wine tastings and restaurants.
We’ve seen from COVID-19 that many customers are moving to grocery pickup and delivery, which is sure to continue and grow for customers of the future. Delivery could change everything about grocery, including opening the door to stores stocking food off-site. Restaurants are switching to ghost kitchens for pick-up and delivery without eat-in dining rooms, and the same could happen to grocery stores that act as pick-up and delivery hubs but don’t let customers inside. In the future, 30-minute delivery times will become commonplace, with groceries even possibly delivered by drone. One of the biggest pitfalls of current online grocery ordering is that orders are often wrong or have unsustainable packaging. Grocery stores will need to improve these issues in the future with innovative solutions, such as allowing customers to simply click on a recipe and have all of the items delivered from the store.
The most important feature for grocery stores of the future is an experience or point of view. Why do customers want to step inside your store? What makes them feel special when they shop? How can the store offer an experience that teaches and enriches customers? The experience should make customers’ lives easier and better, such as teaching them about the food they are buying or giving them a chance to relax while shopping is done for them.