We had the opportunity to speak on this topic recently at the FMI Energy and Store Design Conference that was held in St. Louis. Our lofty goal, share best practices in innovation from around the world that are changing food retail. A tough job.
In order to make some sense of it all, we developed seven key themes for retailers to be thinking about in the coming years, including:
Hyperlocal. In multiple countries around the world, local has been taken to new extremes, with dedicated formats springing up that focus on procurement from local farms and providers with extreme traceability. Local has become hyper-local and offers great opportunities to talk about freshness and being an integral part of the community.
Foodservice Mashup. New formats are seamlessly blending foodservice components along with their traditional food offerings. Many of these are happening right within the context of a department (An oyster bar near seafood or a wine bar in the wine department).
Experiential Retailing. Retailers continue to up the quotient on using the store as a stage, using visible production areas and stunning visual merchandising to create special moments throughout the store.
Specialization. Stores that sell only fresh produce or treat chocolate or coffee as a artisanal product demonstrate that specialization is alive and well.
Customization and Crowdsourcing. Retailing has become a two way dialogue with the end consumer. Customers can create their own blends of cereal, decorate their own cakes in a bakery or decide which items go on sale (and for how much of a discount) by having a stronger voice in the decision making process.
Small is the New Big. While small stores have been a struggle in the U.S., there is significant evidence of success elsewhere in the world. It is all about setting expectations for the customer and there are great examples of this happening elsewhere and continued efforts underway in the U.S.
New Ways to Reach Consumers. There are multiple innovations in creatively reaching a customer, from food trucks and vending machines to innovative click and collect models.
These are just a few examples of the types of innovations that will ultimately transform food retail. Steve Jobs once said that “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” What innovation is in your pipeline? And is your company a leader or a follower?
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