What are the drivers of the changing food retail landscape?
The food retail landscape is one of the fastest changing markets in recent years. Gone are the days where the major supermarket names competed to build the biggest possible stores – in fact, these are quickly becoming inefficient, and smart use of space within supermarkets is proving much more cost effective. But what is it that has been the driving force behind this changing food landscape?
Fast, cheap competition
The emergence of convenience stores has had a significant impact on the food retail industry and what this looks like. With competition from new, low-cost supermarkets, the big players are being forced to compete by offering smaller food outlets instead of building as many large-scale supermarkets. More and more people are choosing now to make regular trips to the shop to buy smaller amounts of goods instead of a bulk shop once a week or less.
Convenience of online buying
One of the reasons why customers are now choosing to do smaller trips to smaller shops is because the majority of shopping can be bought online, leaving only a couple of things to either buy that are additional or that need to be bought fresh in between main shops. This means that the food retail landscape must adapt to meet these requirements by making products available online and offering fast delivery services, whilst maintaining a smaller store presence.
First-hand shopping is still popular
Even with the rise of online shopping, the food retail landscape is likely to maintain a physical presence for a long time yet. How many of us buy eggs and check they are intact before purchasing? Online shopping doesn’t offer the same quality selection process that can be done as products are inspected first-hand and chosen in store according to personal preference. Something that has become a trend more recently is supermarkets selling discounted goods at the end of their shelf life at a given time during the day, or once a week before stock is renewed, and this is one effective way that the big players are encouraging shoppers into their stores regardless of competitors like Aldi and Lidl.
How are these drivers likely to impact the food retail landscape in the near future?
The supermarket loyalty that has been experienced over the years, where shoppers would always stick to buying from one particular supermarket for everything, has faded over time. Nowadays customers choose to pick and choose where they buy particular items from, whether this is for personal convenience or cheaper prices. Therefore, we are likely to see a rise in smaller food retail stores in the future instead of larger superstores, but these should be around for a long time yet.
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