he front end of the grocery store
is next in line for innovations and
redesigns of “epic proportions,”
according to GMDC’s recent
With automated options transforming the
supermarket, retailers will soon be forced to
rely more on the backroom and streamline
processes on the ;oor as brick-and-mortar
stores realize their “true dual role as a ful;ll-ment center for online/mobile orders and the
physical experience” through modes such as
The GMDC report classi;es the front end
as “the most important piece of real estate
that a store owns,” adding that it is vital for
this section to make a lasting impression on
shoppers. Accordingly, the research study
says it is essential that retailers take steps to
make their front ends “faster, more produc-
tive, personalized and satisfying.”
A better front end can be achieved through
six modes of thinking, according to the report:
Think broader. Retailers must reimagine the
front end by, for example, creating a “town
square feel” instead of just a home for products.
How Retailers Can
Reimagine the Front End
GMDC’s comprehensive report o;ers guidance to help retailers
maximize their ‘most important piece of real estate’ for a new era.
By Rebekah Marcarelli
Think localization. Retailers can study
local demographics and trading areas to
choose the best product assortment. For
example, mobile charges and earbuds can do
well near schools, while prepared foods with
utensils included and hand sanitizer can win
near commuter stations, gyms and o;ces.
Think sightlines. Shoppers should be able
to choose a register line not only based on the
length of the line, but also products on display.
Think modular nonfoods. General merchandise ;GM; and health, beauty and wellness ;HBW; categories can be a huge asset to
the front end: Shoppers that pick up nonedibles in this area have ;; larger baskets, the
Think healthful and balanced. Higher
demand for better-for-you beverages should
be mixed in with traditional snacks to encourage shoppers to make better choices.
Think technology. Technology at the
front end can help grow sales and loyalty by
streamlining checkout processes, such as
Kroger’s traf;ic sensors that automatically
deploy cashiers and Walmart’s Scan & Go app.
How Bad Is It?
Projected growth rates for typical front-end
categories predicted a $2 billion increase,
but the industry is instead seeing a decline.
What They Would Change
Acosta surveyed consumers on how they
would like to shop the front end to help
determine “future need states” and allow
retailers to plan ahead.
Source: Checkout Update 2017, Impulse Marketing Co.
Ask yourself this: Checking out is often
a tedious process for shoppers, so ...
• Why have 20 checkout lanes
and keep only four open?
• Why make customers wait at
the end of their journey?
• Why focus on vendor
allowances when shopper
demand matters most? Source: Nonfood Center Store & Checkout Lane Insights
Consumer Study, GMDC-Acosta-Heller, January 2017
9 out of 10 want GM to stay.
3 out of 10 wouldn’t remove any
O;er a completely
lane option in the store
O;er a candy- and
treat-free checkout lane
option in the store
Would remove all of
Be more selective overall
in the product mix
Make product displays
gum and mints
Would not remove any
of the merchandise
Remove seasonal treats