In 2020, the world has turned upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic led to major shifts within retail and transformed the way consumers shop. Due to restrictions, lockdowns and safety concerns, grocery and convenience stores became the trusted ‘go-to’ for customers. With convenience options such as curbside pickup here to stay, consumers and retailers alike have adapted well to the new retail “normal.”
Together with our international partners, our team has been tracking retail trends and innovations from all over the world for more than 15 years. As the world maneuvers the restrictions that the pandemic has put upon the retail sector, creative minds have stepped up to the challenge and new, exciting ideas are on the rise.
We have identified 4 key themes impacting retail:
- Omni-integration, the coalescence of online and offline retail channels;
- Extreme convenience, the elimination of barriers to shopping (e.g., product availability, shipping times, customer service);
- Extreme experience, which focuses on creating a connection between the brand and consumer, but not just through product; and
- Sustainable practices, brands with purpose doing good for the earth and its humans.
This month we take a closer look at some interesting retailers demonstrating innovation and extreme convenience.
RC Coffee’s automated kiosk is a new concept that challenges customers’ perception on convenience coffee. It provides the quality, authentic, and personalized experience normally associated with a premium café (think long lines and wait times) and adapts it into a fast, contactless experience for on-the-go beverages.
Orders can be made in advance through an app, which also uses location tracking so that the kiosk begins making your order when you get in the vicinity of the station, ensuring that your beverage is the right temperature and ready on arrival.
With the “Clever” mobile self-service checkout, Mago has developed a trolley with which the customer can carry throughout the entire retail shopping process, from product selection to self-scanning and payment.
The customer activates a trolley by connecting a mobile phone to the trolley with a QR code and attaches their own shopping bag. Using the scanner on the trolley, the customer can scan the selected products and bag them all in one go, avoiding lineups and cash-outs, resulting in a streamlined shopping trip.
SPAR Mini Market
SPAR is a supermarket chain that mainly focuses on convenience stores in 48 countries around the globe. In 2020, the company introduced a new one-person-store concept called “SPAR mini market.” The new store is only 16 m2, designed for one customer at a time, and the product assortment changes throughout the day to match customer eating habits. The mini markets can even be placed on the water!
Incorporating convenience in your store
While a floating store might be out of the question, there are still lessons to be learned from these examples.
- Checkout options
- Mobile scanning
- Mobile apps/product selection
- Curbside/locker pickup
- Mobile stores
- Changing assortments
- Staffless stores
Change is here. Retailers must adapt to survive which will be a major challenge for everyone. But it is also an opportunity to reinvent yourself. The moment for innovation is now. Stay-tuned – next quarter we will examine omni-integration.
To read about more Extreme Convenience concepts, download your free copy of our Global Retail Trends and Innovations 2021 HERE.