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The changing face of the retail industry and consumers' evolving attitudes about when, where and how they shop is underscored by a special focus on category blurring in the areas of groceries, fresh meals and services ranging from haircuts to medical treatment, so finds results of a survey by retail design firm King Retail Solutions (KRS), highlights of which find:
- Groceries and fresh prepared meals were found to be least likely to be purchased online for in-store pickup.
- In the past 12 months, 62 percent of shoppers had purchased some groceries from a nontraditional grocery retailer and 92 percent would consider doing so in the coming 12 months. Of those purchases, 69 percent were for canned/box foods; 52 percent for dairy; 50 percent for bread; 42 percent for fresh produce; 41 percent for frozen foods; and 25 percent for meat.
- Big box discounters, pharmacy/drug stores, c-stores, dollar stores, farmer's markets and bakeries/delis are the top places to buy groceries from non-grocery stores.
- Groceries dominate top places to buy fresh meals that aren’t restaurants.
“Retailers today are being asked to spin a lot of plates when it comes to maintaining, and more importantly, adding to their relevance with shoppers," said Andrew Swedenborg, EVP at KRS. "People are shopping everywhere they’re plugged in. Different types of shoppers approach those purchases with different attitudes. They’re researching quality, price, convenience," added Swedenborg, noting that "some expect to have customized offers pushed directly," while others do not.
"It’s all about creating a program that brings enough unique value to the table to differentiate your brand and then being able to scale that program to meet your shoppers where they’re at, in some ways hyper-personalized to respect each shopper’s preferences and boundaries,” said Swedenborg.
On the topic of category blurring, the landscape is continuously evolving, even since last year's study by the Eugene, Ore.-based retail design firm. To wit: Target and Walmart remain top preferred retailers in each category, while discounters like T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, Big Lots and Ross gained relevance this year in capturing grocery sales, as did dollar stores.
The KRS study also analyzes demographic variances in habit and attitude (age, sex, family status, locale all affect decision making) and suggests that:
- Category blurring will continue to thrive, providing quality is there.
- Smartphones will continue to grow as a shopping tool both for online and offline purchases.
- Retailers should be looking to enhance both mobile technology and customer service.
Now in its second year, KRS’ annual survey has expanded to include six new categories, offering valuable insights into U.S. shoppers’ habits and attitudes when it comes to:
- Retailer Use of In-Store Mobile Tracking
- Smartphone Shopping Apps
- Buying Online for In-Store Pickup
- Retail Subscription Services
- Causes for In-Store Delight
- How Shoppers Prefer to Receive Assistance/Information
Gathered from equal parts of males and females located in urban, suburban and rural areas across the United Stated, the KRS 2015 annual consumer research study surveyed more than 1,200 consumers nationwide (one-third each from Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer demographic groups) about their current and past shopping habits, as well as key decision making factors.
More information about the report can be found by visiting www.kingrs.com.