Shoppers seeking easier grocery store experience, Phononic study finds

Shoppers want more from their grocery stores.

Americans, who shop at traditional grocery stores 3.9 times each month, have some very definite opinions about how the outlets could improve. And a more convenient shopping experience heads the list, according to “The Store of the Future” study from Phononic.

Eighty-nine percent of Americans (89%) reported they want to shop in a grocery store that understands how to make buying an easier/more efficient experience, the study found. Eighty-five percent said grocery stores should make it easier to find merchandise.

In other findings, 50% of consumers said supermarkets haven’t figured out how to use technology like other retailers. More than half (56%) said if grocers don’t enter the modern age, people will look for other ways to get their food.

In response to these criticisms, grocers are dabbling with new services, such as food and meal delivery programs. Based on the retailers that are offering food or meal delivery services, one-third of customers have tried it. However, 47% would be more likely to try it if there was a way for the grocer to control the temperature of the food.

In fact, customers want grocers to deploy more “smart” solutions that can help deliver more value and improve customer service. Grocers’ first priority should be to use technology to preserve food quality. Ninety two percent of shoppers said it is important for consistent temperature control of all cold products they sell. More than three-quarters (79%) of consumers said they should consider smart technology in a refrigerated unit to find recipes, or the right pairings for cheese and other foods.

They should also focus on convenience. In addition to technology that makes it easier to pair items and remove friction from the shopping experience, customers also would prefer more strategic merchandising.

For example, better store layouts could improve the shopping experience. Over nine in 10 consumers feel it’s important that the layout of the store makes it easy to find merchandise, and 85% believe grocers should be making it easier to find items.

This includes positioning new impulse items at checkout. For example, 68% of shoppers said if grocery stores had new products at checkout, they would be more likely to try them. Meanwhile, 59% said they would like to see healthier options, and 46% said there should be more frozen or refrigerated options at checkout, with ice cream and wine and beer heading the list.