We’ve seen QSR and Retail Clothing chains make huge adjustments to their business models and overall functionality of their stores. But now it is Grocery Store chains that are making the jump and leap into the future of shopping, today.
That’s right, grocery stores are now taking a look and adapting to a demographic that is proving to become a vital percentage of their consumers; millennials. The funky, fresh, hipster, cutting edge millennials have caught the attention of almost every industry and niche across the board. And big grocery chains are no exception. Whole Foods just added their new concept “365” and Ahold’s brought their concept, “bfresh” to the table just last month out in California.
The business model is simple, literally, it’s ‘simple’.
What businesses are understanding about millennials is that they’re all about experience and savings. That’s it, those two things is what will keep them coming back for more. So what Whole Foods has done is taken their big store concept and stripped it of all the bells and whistles for their “365” concept. They have shelves but they’re basic in every sense. And millennials don’t need tons of bright paint and pretty colors, they’re fine with concrete and open ceilings, as long as they are saving on that bag of organic apples.
But to address their need for an “experience”, 365 has some features that you won’t find at its big brother store, Whole Foods. Price tags, for instance, are all digital. You won’t find any paper price tags. Hate waiting for the cashier to figure out what vegetables you bagged and then the code for said bagged vegetables? So do millennials, so 365 has digital scales in their produce section and allows customers to weigh their produce and print out a price tag to peel and stick on their bag, saving them tons of time in the checkout line. And their store is stacked with digital signage and kiosks, because isn’t that what an experience is all about, digital signage and kiosks? Want to hear what people are saying about a wine bottle you saw, just scan it on a kiosk and it will pull up recent Reviews from people who tried it before you. Want to grab a pizza or hot dog on the way out (an extremely popular concept at Costco’s) then just walk up to their To-Go kiosks and order away.
Whole Foods figured out that by keeping the non-sense to a minimum and a loaded inventory of internal branded products, they are able to cut their costs significantly, thus marking their prices to rock bottom numbers. And by renting out inside real estate to small local vendors, including restaurants, they are making concepts like 365 a one-stop shop for your everyday millennial.
Whole Foods will be monitoring and testing out these concepts (so expect many more copycats) and if all goes well, will be looking to expand Nationwide as the year progresses. That means many more rollouts to come, along with tons of restaurant equipment, kiosks and digital signage orders to be filled and installed. Kudos to Millennials for carrying their share of this great American economy!