DES I G N & OPERATIONS
G H Q
From the cleanliness of the parking lot to how well
the front end is merchandised, first appearances
matter in the eyes of shoppers.
BY CAROL RADICE
SHIFTS IN CONSUMER BUYING BEHAVIOR, coupled with a hyper-competitive marketplace are driving supermarket operators to change decades-old strategies and approaches to their front ends. The most talked about shift is the increase in the amount
of food purchases being made online, which some say is a clear sign
that shoppers do not find brick-and-mortar stores the most convenient
option to shop. And, if studies are correct, by the end of this year it is
possible that nearly a third of consumers will be making grocery purchases online.
So what is a grocer to do to get consumers excited again about shopping in supermarket stores? Industry observers say that today’s shoppers are easily distracted, time-pressed and demand convenience, so to
even be considered retailers need to offer an easy shopping experience
as well as inspiration and creative ideas.
Therefore, making a great first impression and building deeper,
more meaningful lasting impressions are must-haves to succeed today.
Retailers that do not make the best use of their shoppers’ time and provide relevant products and information at the front end will see more
In today’s marketplace retailers need to develop new strategies and
build an authentic connection that leaves a lasting impression on their
shoppers, says Harry Newton, director of sales and marketing for
Structural Plastics, based in Holly, Mich. “It is more important than
ever that the front end strategy and experience evolves, because so
much is on the line for brick-and-mortar grocers,” he says.
This rich, fertile ground can be much more than CPG impulse items.
Observers say retailers should use the front end as an opportunity to
build deeper more meaningful connections with their shoppers. “It is
a chance to create experiential retail that pulls shoppers in by bringing
out the fun, magnetic personality of your brand,” says Newton. “A loyal
customer that values your in-store experience is worth much more than
a $1 candy bar.”
Observers say retailers have to sell the look of their stores before
they can sell a product. “Consumers shop with their eyes, so products
need to be seen, but also shown off,” says Yasmina Dhimes, director of
sales and marketing for Forte Products, based in Kansas City, Mo. “Eye
appeal has become extremely important in today’s society and it is the