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Grocery Stores: The Future?
Old 05-19-2017, 11:42 AM   #1
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Grocery Stores: The Future?

There are lots of discussions (and news) about the downfall of brick and mortar stores and how the likes of Amazon is a very large part of this change. This, in conjunction with all the "prepared dinner package" subscriptions, got me thinking about the future of the grocery store.

Here in ATL, there is a "new" chain opening around town called Lidl (very similar and direct competitor to Aldi) that will have the store foot print of about 35,000 square feet, which I *think* is about 1/2 the size of current grocers. I am also seeing delivery services pop up for Publix around here, so I am thinking that we may see an "Amazon" type revolution in the fairly near future. I would be thrilled to have most of my dry goods delivered, as I am just not a fan of grocery shopping and I imagine I am not alone but so far, I don't want to pay the 20% or so premium to do so.

I envision that most goods will be warehoused much like Amazon does (very large fulfillment centers) that will significantly reduce the commercial space footprint and large labor pool that is used now. I also think that a lot of folks will still want to pick out their favorite fresh items (fruits/vegs/some meats) so there will be a need for stores, but the days of a 55,000+ square foot store may soon be in the past.

Thoughts/Idea?

I look forward to necroposting in 15 years when all my groceries are delivered via self driving cars and/or unmanned aerial vehicles.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:45 AM   #2
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HEB just launched online ordering and curbside pickup and I noticed the pick-up sign at our local store. We haven't explored it yet.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:58 AM   #3
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I used to share your lack of enthusiasm for grocery shopping until I ditched the big chain market and started getting nearly all my groceries from Trader Joe's. My local TJ's is such a friendly place, with a wide variety of people there who are very representative of this particular area of Oakland, that I look forward to making trips there several times a week. The 2 mile round trip on my bicycle gives me much-needed exercise, and the whole journey is most enjoyable.

I do have my cat litter delivered from Petco though. They offer free shipping for repeat deliveries, and it's actually cheaper to buy it from them online and have it delivered, than to purchase from the local store.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:58 AM   #4
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I'd be happy to have the dry good delivered or waiting for me, but I want to pick out my own produce and meats. I also prefer to be checking expiration dates on short-life items like milk. At best, the person pulling my order will be oblivious to those dates. At worst, the store will instruct them to pull the one with the nearest expiry date.


I'd probably either need a really good interface or get myself more organized too. I almost always roam every aisle to remind myself of what I need. I should do lists but rarely do. It might reduce the number of impulse buys, but it might also limit my creativity into trying different things. I already tend to stick with the tried and true so this would make it worse.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:59 AM   #5
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I have to say I agree with this. Trends are shifting.

I've experienced this in my own home. I have needs for certain dry foods and body products that health food stores mostly have. No store has everything except maybe the very expensive Whole Foods. Doing without a WF living in Central Pa was good for me. I learned to do without some items but still needed to make long trips from time to time to get things.

Last year I started ordering from Vitacost. They have a great line of products. Pretty much everything I need. The prices are great and if you watch you can catch some good sales. And if you order enough you get free shipping. And it arrives to me within two days!

No going to the store, no lugging bags into my home. And if you keep to your list no impulse buys, so you spend less money.

End of last year, we moved to Ca. We live on a second floor apt. We still have no WF but there is a Sprouts. Very similar, very expensive. So I order all my dried goods from Vitacost now. No more up the stairs and back and forth to the car multiple times because you can't carry everything in one shot. I pay less, get it in two days or less and no need to bother anyone for the car or to take me to the store (everyone in family so busy). I am very happy with this setup.

The only things we do get from the store now are produce, milk, yogurt, and frozen stuff.

I even started using Pet360 and Chewy for my cat litter, cat and bird food. I just ordered four months worth of cat litter. Cheaper too because did you see the prices of pet supplies in brick and mortar stores?! I didn't have to tote the bags up those stairs. What a great thing!
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:01 PM   #6
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.... I also think that a lot of folks will still want to pick out their favorite fresh items (fruits/vegs/some meats) so there will be a need for stores, ...
This, for us, makes the delivery and "ready for pick up" options unattractive. (As well as cheeses, which our local Kroger sometimes cuts nicely and other times apparently by a drunken viking with a rusty battle axe)

We get fruits/veggies several times a week and are not likely to give up the personal selection of particular ones.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:03 PM   #7
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My daughter recently moved to a high rise apartment and decided delivery might be a good service. Giant Food (acquired by Ahold) offers a service called Peapod. She ordered. They delivered all the wrong stuff. She didn't notice until they left. She called and they told her to keep the groceries (mostly stuff she had no use for) and refunded her money. They acted as if they were doing her a big favor to let her keep the stuff and made no effort to get another order.

When I go in the super duper grocery stores, there are so many people (vendors sometimes) clogging the aisles while stocking shelves, it leaves little room for customers. The fulfillment center operation would help there. We also see more stores offering order ahead and drive to the store where they load the groceries into your car.

I am a big fan of Aldi. Not too big, not too small. Great prices and decent quality.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:27 PM   #8
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This, for us, makes the delivery and "ready for pick up" options unattractive. (As well as cheeses, which our local Kroger sometimes cuts nicely and other times apparently by a drunken viking with a rusty battle axe)

We get fruits/veggies several times a week and are not likely to give up the personal selection of particular ones.
" and other times apparently by a drunken viking with a rusty battle axe"

I loved this imagery 👏 and all I could think of are all these huge, uneven chunks of cheese that I would be happy to sample 😃
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:46 PM   #9
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We do have some dry good and pet supplies delivered via Amazon and Chewie, etc. The price is about the same as any local retail outlet, but we don't have to risk our lives driving and save the hassle/time involved.

However, I feel the GROCERY store will always be around, for many of the reasons already mentioned. I do expect the purchase/checkout procedure to change dramatically, with the elimination of the human cashier, restock function and so forth. The cost of labor has already crossed the inflection point of a technical substitution in many markets, and I bet sooner than later we will see grocery stores shift to an Amazon Go type format.

_B
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:56 PM   #10
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Our local grocery stores charge 3 to 4 times what the discount stores charge for the same products. Like nonorganic red or yellow peppers are $1.50 each but I can get them for 33 cents each at 99 Cents Only. I don't know what that means for the future of grocery shopping but it always amazes me that the local stores are crowded.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:01 PM   #11
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Disruptors. Hitting brick and mortars hard. Remember when the shoe salesman actually put the show on your foot, or when the gas station attendant filled your gas? Remember when you went to the store to rent a movie? I don't lol.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:08 PM   #12
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My diet is mostly fresh fruits and vegetables (with a little alcohol at night) so I like to pick it out myself. I'm pretty picky- if I'm buying by the piece, for example, I'll get the biggest green pepper that's the right degree of ripeness. I also like to check the closeout bins- a couple of weeks ago I bought Farro, a grain that reminds me of barley, marked down to $2/lb. I liked it so much I went back today and bought their two remaining packs.

I've seen a few supermarkets try self-checkout and then back off of it- apparently the theft was too big a cost. The local Wal-Marts and Home Depots still have it, though. Even though I'm computer-friendly I usually slip up on something in self-checkout and it's a real nuisance if you're buying alcohol and someone needs to come over and verify that you're over 21 and input some secret code. I guess some stores still think it's worth it.

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Disruptors. Hitting brick and mortars hard. Remember when the shoe salesman actually put the shoe on your foot, or when the gas station attendant filled your gas? Remember when you went to the store to rent a movie? I don't lol.
Heck, I remember gas station attendants cleaning your windshield and checking your oil. I'm not against self-service as an option but for gas stations it's now the ONLY option (except maybe NJ, where last I heard self-service was still outlawed).
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:10 PM   #13
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Most all of my grocery stores use self-checkout, and I almost always use it because most of the baggers don't know how to bag. They'll mix things they shouldn't, or try to jam everything in 2 bags when I've brought 5 and told them to use them all.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:38 PM   #14
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I used to share your lack of enthusiasm for grocery shopping until I ditched the big chain market and started getting nearly all my groceries from Trader Joe's. My local TJ's is such a friendly place, with a wide variety of people there who are very representative of this particular area of Oakland, that I look forward to making trips there several times a week. The 2 mile round trip on my bicycle gives me much-needed exercise, and the whole journey is most enjoyable.

I do have my cat litter delivered from Petco though. They offer free shipping for repeat deliveries, and it's actually cheaper to buy it from them online and have it delivered, than to purchase from the local store.
I feel the same way about Trader Joe. Good food and great place, almost all the help and most of teh shoppers are very simpatico. I also usually go to Uwajimaya, a store owned locally and managed by the founder's Granddaughter. Excellent store for all seafood (much of which is swilling around in tanks)as well as meat and vegetables. It isn't real cheap like many Asian groceries, but it is real good. Re: delivery, a few people in my building get that, and my son used to get it but I want to pick out my own produce. (Just like meat and fish.)

Ha
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:52 PM   #15
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Maybe it will be helpful for us when we get really old, can't walk anymore stage. But right now we go for a walk and pick up groceries on the way.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:58 PM   #16
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I almost always roam every aisle to remind myself of what I need. I should do lists but rarely do. It might reduce the number of impulse buys, but it might also limit my creativity into trying different things. I already tend to stick with the tried and true so this would make it worse.
And that will be a very interesting aspect. I bet impulse buys account for a large percentage of grocery profit.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:30 PM   #17
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And that will be a very interesting aspect. I bet impulse buys account for a large percentage of grocery profit.
I'm sure it does too and that's why I try very hard to stick to a list. Like others I want to pick out my own produce and meats but I'd sure be open to delivery of packaged items. We don't buy much in packages though, mostly fresh stuff that has to be refrigerated. So for us the regular grocery store will get the majority of our business.

There will of course come a day when we cannot do that so online ordering will be a good option to have.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:44 PM   #18
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You know, I have shopped at Trader Joe's a couple of times, but the prices just really turned me off. In doing some research on the discount store that is coming to town (Lidl), I figured out that TJ's is owned by Aldi but not the same Aldi as the Aldi stores here in the US. Many years ago, the original Aldi split into two...Aldi Sud and Aldi Nord. Aldi Nord owns TJ and Aldi Sud owns the US Aldi locations.

Funny thing with the milk. I learned from my Dad to actually "sneak" into the walk-in cooler and get the milk that is stashed in the back corner. I have been doing that for years and often the date will be 5 or 6 days past the ones that are available to the "reach in" customers.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:51 PM   #19
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I'd be happy to have the dry good delivered or waiting for me, but I want to pick out my own produce and meats. I also prefer to be checking expiration dates on short-life items like milk.
+1 I think that food shopping (as painful as it is sometimes) is an inherently personal thing. Something that YOU want to inspect, see and feel.

I tried PeaPod back in the 90s when it first came out...just felt too impersonal when it comes to my food.

This is why I think it is so slow to catch on. Shoes, clothes, power tools, appliances, everything else, sure...but my food?....they'll have to come up with some other angle other than having it delivered to my door.
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:56 PM   #20
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We do have some dry good and pet supplies delivered via Amazon and Chewie, etc. The price is about the same as any local retail outlet, but we don't have to risk our lives driving and save the hassle/time involved.

However, I feel the GROCERY store will always be around, for many of the reasons already mentioned. I do expect the purchase/checkout procedure to change dramatically, with the elimination of the human cashier, restock function and so forth. The cost of labor has already crossed the inflection point of a technical substitution in many markets, and I bet sooner than later we will see grocery stores shift to an Amazon Go type format.

_B
Yeah some McDonalds and places like Sheetz have already installed the make-your-own order kiosks, eliminating the order takers. Some have blamed it on minimum wage increase...which is possible and probable, but part of it is just things trending toward what you said.
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