Do you ever find yourself in need of a last minute ingredient for a tasty dish you’re preparing for dinner? Perhaps you forgot to pick up your prescription allergy medication at the grocery, or maybe you just need a hot coffee or quick bite to eat but time is of the essence. And who wants to venture into a grocery store and deal with the after work or weekend crowd just to buy a few things? Well my friends, Cincinnati based Kroger may have the solution for you… Fresh Eats MKT. The retailer is using Ohio (not surprisingly) as a testing ground for the new fresh-focused convenience store concept.
The first 12,000 square foot convenience store recently opened in Blacklick with a second location to follow in Hilliard. While almost ten times smaller in size than a normal Kroger grocery store, this concept is certainly not short on the offer. With a produce, deli, beer and wine section, fast casual carryout or dine-in options, mobile and online ordering, and even a drive thru pharmacy one might say it’s a one-stop-shop and more than just for fill-ins.
The test in a smaller format shouldn’t come as much surprise though as they appear to be following the trend of consumer shopping patterns. According to NACS, over the last three decades the convenience store count has increased 63%, and today represents one third of all retail outlets in the U.S. serving nearly 160 million customers daily—half of the U.S. population.
With five other convenience stores brands under the Kroger banner—Kwik Shop, Loaf ’N Jug, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb, and Turkey Hill Minit Markets—we’ll have to see where Fresh Eats MKT fits into the long-term mix.
Without a doubt the grocery sector is increasingly becoming super competitive with European goliath Lidl soon venturing into the U.S. market. Grocery sales last year alone hit $649 billion in the U.S. and are projected to rise 12 percent by 2021 according to Mintel, so we’ll just have to watch as stores continue to shrink and increasingly focus on fresh to find out who will come out on top.
To captivate today’s rushed consumers brands need to adapt their customer experience models. Explore what actions brands can take, and who’s doing it right in our latest consumer point of view, “What’s Your Customer’s Time Worth.”