Cast your mind back to when you used to visit the supermarkets with your mother trudging the aisles. Whether you look back fondly or were usually bribed with the idea of a treat for cooperating, it seems this traditional way of shopping could soon become a thing of the past.
The main drivers of this change are convenience and price! With similar stock on the shelves, brand loyalty weakening and with prices not fluctuating much, there isn’t the need to shop around for the best deal anymore. Proximity to existing journeys seems to be a much bigger pull factor, with many favouring smaller main shops on a Saturday peppered with ‘top-up-shops’ in between.
In 2018, top-up missions accounted for 63% of shopping compared to 59% in 2010.thinkwithgoogle.com
This has led to an increase in small format versions of larger superstores popping up in the most convenient of spaces, think Aldi Local, Tesco Express and Sainsburys Local, all offering less brand choice but offering the essentials. These units are located close to train or bus stations, gyms, colleges and other areas where communities tend to congregate. These are all designed to be convenient for the passer-by to just pop in, grab what they want and benefit from in-and-out-in-a-flash, self-service payment solutions.
However, this doesn’t mean that people are willing to spend through the nose for their shop. Consumers are financially feeling the squeeze which has manifested itself as increased control of spending and a steer away from impulse purchases. The emergence of discounter brands like Aldi and Lidl have also changed the way we shop. Aldi has started to close the gap with ‘The Big 4’ UK supermarket brands with stores that have curated essential own brand products with seasonal ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’ (WIGIG) deals. Gone are the days when people use to look down their noses at the ‘Own Brand’, we now look towards the value, quality, ethics and sustainability of the products before us. The success of this type of shopping experience has seen bigger stores like Tesco revaluating there model and developing brands like ‘Jacks’, to meet consumer demands.
Online players have also disrupted the grocery market. The trend of reducing risk through research-before-you-buy via social media and review activities has leeched into behavioural patterns. Avoiding disappointment is a key driving force when it comes to attracting consumers. Consumers want transparency and no longer want to invest in journey time just to be let down by quality or unavailability. If you’re not good enough in their eyes they will go somewhere else.
50% of consumers on convenience missions have weak loyalty to the supermarket brands they use.thinkwithgoogle.com
With work and social lives taking precedence, and with the leg work in meal planning being done for you, the task of cooking in the evening has started to become unfavourable. Companies like AmazonFresh, meal-kit businesses, and home delivery services like Ocado have all impacted the way we shop for groceries. With 1 in 4 people already doing most or all their food and cleaning product purchases on the web. The convenience of food getting delivered to your door without all the hassle has made online shopping much more appealing to busy, contemporary households. This could become the norm and large physical stores become less common or die out completely.
So, whether you’re a sofa surfer, a weekly shopper or just popping in for a few bits. Digital is playing an ever-increasing role with our consumer choices, and it will be interesting to see how the face of shopping will change in the future.