« Should Canada put even more graphic warning labels on its cigarettes? | Main | RIM sets its PlayBook price (sort of) -- you gonna get one? »

November 11, 2021

Designing the grocery store of the future

Small is the next big thing in grocery stores, the Globe and Mail reports.

Grocers are shrinking the size of their locations, putting aside giant suburban supermarkets in favour of downtown locations a third of their size.

They’re also dedicating even more space to prepared food, largely in response to how the buying habits of today’s working women have changed, according to Paco Underhill, a consumer researcher and the author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping and What Women Want: The Global Market Turns Female Friendly.

In a 21st-century grocery store, nothing is accidental, says Underhill, whose research and advice underpin the layout of several new stores in downtown Toronto.

Stores are really a warehouse of opportunity for branding and advertising giants to capture to entice you to spend and then spend some more. In the past, that’s largely been driven by layout and borderline deceptive tactics, Underhill says.

In the coming years, he believes North American grocery stores will capitalize on several emerging trends.

Hybrid stores will combine traditional shopping with online opportunities, allowing you to keep a running tab by scanning goods as they're placed in your cart, download coupons for them on cell phones, and pay without ever entering a line.

In Germany, for instance, some supermarkets are using a fingerprint scanner to verify identity and make the electronic payment.

Korean researchers have developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that could replace the bar codes on groceries in stores. The tag, which can be directly printed on grocery items, uses ink containing carbon nanotubes that could instantly transmit information about your cart’s contents.

As well, private label products for a particular store will be concentrated in one location and more refillable containers will allow for bulk shopping in dry goods and other household supplies, such as laundry soap, Underhill adds. 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...