In today’s market, equipment and design decisions in retail are often centered around the concept of efficiency, a word that has dual meaning: cutting down on time and labor costs across a store’s operations, and reducing a store’s envi- ronmental footprint. Both of these concepts are immensely important when it comes to running a
successful grocery store, and there are plenty
of burgeoning opportunities available that can
help retailers excel in both departments.
Technology, as is true in almost all aspects of
life these days, is a major driver of the evolution
of efficiency in retail. For example, tasks that
once required time-consuming manual labor,
such as monitoring shelf stock or keeping an eye
on ovens, can now be done anywhere and at any
time using nothing more than a smart device.
But the modern age has also generated growing concern for the environment, and retailers
that fail to connect with shoppers’ ideals could
begin to lose favor. This need has brought with
it ambitious initiatives from major retailers, and
has pushed equipment manufacturers to conceive equipment that will drastically cut down
on retailers’ emissions and energy consumption.
As discussed in Grocers Go Green on Page
16, retailers are no longer focusing on one specific energy efficiency project, such as installing
LED lights, but instead are taking a full-store
approach to the sustainability initiative. This
means revamping not only lighting, but also
refrigeration and leak detection technology;
implementing better controls over energy use;
and considering alternative energy storage
Another major player in the success of a
grocery store is its foodservice section, which
consumers now expect as much as the ability to
purchase an apple. This superstar section of the
store provides retailers with endless opportunities to boost sales and connect with shoppers.
Indeed, the foodservice section has evolved
dramatically in the past few years, with hot bars
that once held a few pieces of dry chicken being
transformed into full grocerant concepts complete with seating and restaurant-quality food.
The growing popularity of the foodservice
section has inspired retailers across the country
to get creative by catering to local flavor preferences and designing bold, beautiful food counters and eating areas. For example, a newly built
Lucky’s Market in Springfield, Mo., features a
trendy made-to-order ramen bar; and Brown’s
Super Stores in Philadelphia—spotlighted in
WGB’s December Design Showcase on Page
89 for its retail foodservice section—features
Brown’s Chef ’s Market, which offers a wide variety of shopper-favorite cuisines ranging from
“sticky ribs” and Southern fried chicken to Chinese dishes and sushi. The impressive foodservice section also features a fireplace for shoppers
to cozy up next to as they munch on their meals.
With all of these rapid-fire innovations entering the scene, what will the grocery store of
tomorrow look like? It’s hard to predict, because
technology is so quick to evolve. But I think it’s
safe to say that most processes across the store
will be automated, while green operations will
be a rule and sections of the store will look more
like restaurants than supermarkets.
The modern age has also generated
growing concern for the environment,
and retailers that fail to connect
with shoppers’ ideals could begin
to lose favor.”
Senior Editor, WGB