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Grocers face a number of challenges as consumer shopping habits continue to change, including the threat of online grocery shopping. According to a study by Nielsen,one-quarter of respondents say they order grocery products online, 55 percent are willing to do so in the future, and the main driver of this growth is millennials.
However, research from Accenture shows that while millennials are supplementing their shopping trips with online research to make informed purchasing decisions, they still see great value in physical retail stores. When asked why, one millennial highlighted the need for a physical experience by explaining, “You want to touch it; you want to smell it; you want to pick it up.”
This sentiment is key. By 2020, millennials are expected to spend $1.4 trillion annually in the United States, and will represent 30 percent of total retail sales, according to the same research. This spending power, combined with the fact that food is one item that is best experienced through all of a shoppers’ senses, means there are valuable opportunities to reach millennials within grocery retail.
Meeting The Needs of Millennials
If millennials are still interested in shopping in-store, what can retailers do to maintain this?
Based on research from the Food Marketing Institute earlier this year, “Millennial shoppers continue to report less list making and advanced planning, and more spontaneous reliance on recipes or whimsy.” This presents a major opportunity to add offerings that will ultimately impact purchasing decisions in-store, complement planned visits and purchases, and increase basket size.
But before grocers can take advantage of this, they have to start by getting millennials into their store. Research conducted by Seurat and Field Agent in 2014 showed that the availability of front-end services played a part in the grocer and location selection for four out of five shoppers.