Supermarket quandary: smaller trips, more planning

August 01, 2011

Food stores that evolve their Shopper Marketing will gain relevancy and likely trips among buyers despite narrower missions.

Shoppers go to food stores with fewer, specific missions and smaller baskets in mind. Among them: one in three buy for a specific meal or recipe, one in five seek groceries instead of fast food, one in 10 shop because they’re hungry.

As a result, half of grocery shoppers carried out fewer than 15 items worth less than $50 on their latest trips, according to Food Shopper Insights: Grocery Shopping Patterns in the U.S., a Packaged Facts study released this summer.

Because these patterns appear to favor compact, convenient outlets such as drug stores with food or downsized Walmart Express and Tesco-style stores, The Lempert Report sees greater pressure on conventional supermarkets and big-box retailers to capture trips in the planning stage.  

Supermarkets do have momentum on their side; they continue to account for the large majority of food-buying trips. And according to Packaged Facts, 59% of U.S. adults went to the same grocery store where they’d shopped for five years or more, and 75% had just one store in mind before they went out to shop.

Yet supermarkets need to build their Shopper Marketing skills, where they collaborate with CPG to engage shoppers at home and on the go while they’re still shaping their trips – so their stores become the destinations. One gap identified by Packaged Facts: Conventional circulars and flyers reached only 21% of grocery shoppers prior to their most recent trip.

Therefore, new media plays an increasing role, especially with younger grocery shoppers. “With nearly four in 10 grocery shoppers frequently using social media and networking on mobile devices….location-based shopping assistants on mobile devices may soon up-end conventional approaches to in-store Shopper Marketing,” said David Sprinkler, Packaged Facts publisher. The Meijer Find-It app is one example.