Get ready for “click and mortar”.

It’s the latest iteration of food retail, a recognition that consumers do not have a long time and / or view of grocery shopping – only online, or only in stores – but a “mixed” approach that includes both.

In fact, the percentage of consumers today who say they typically fill the closet online and in-store has risen dramatically from just three years ago, noted Jim Hertel, an executive with market researcher Inmar Intelligence, last week.

For food retailers, he said, “The days of being able to treat online and in-store as two completely separate experiences” are over because people now buy both “and expect an experience because it is determined by a [store] banner or a retailer. ”

“A cohesive in-store / online experience is the key to the next portion of the portfolio,” he added.

A co-presenter, as usual, in the Food Institute’s annual program “The Future of Food Retail”, Hertel provided a preview of Inmar’s report of the same name, which will be released next month.

While the coronavirus pandemic certainly had a hand in accelerating the use of internet and mobile platforms for grocery shopping, demographics also play a role.

Boomers (ages 55 to 73) and Gen X (ages 39 to 54) say they still prefer to shop in stores, Hertel said, but each group also handles online orders.

Millennials (ages 23 to 38) and Gen Z (ages 22 and younger), apparently always with a smartphone in hand, tend towards online shopping, though everyone will also shop in-store.

This has led to a shift in thinking among researchers, according to Hertel: “E-commerce, at least in the food retail, we do not think will replace or replace the in-store experience.”

And that’s good for traditional food retailers, who for years struggled with non-traditional retailers like pharmacies, dollar stores and club shops eating up market share.

In 1995, the neighborhood supermarket dominated food sales and non-traditional suppliers had only a small chunk. By 2020, however, the non-traditional share had risen to 40 percent of total sales and the supermarket supremacy had shrunk to 45 percent, according to Hertel.

Looking ahead five years, wholesalers of traditional products – not just supermarkets but retailers with at least two-thirds of sales in food and consumer materials – are expected to hold 45 percent of sales, although the share for non-traditional retailers is growing at the expense of convenience stores, he said.

What happened?

“Traditional foods have largely benefited from e-commerce and will continue to become better and better, and will use it as a means of advancing their market share,” Hertel said.

Of course, traditional food retailers still need to get the right digital customer experience, noted Hertel co-presenter Craig Rosenblum, also an Inmar executive.

“It is no longer of value to all,” he said. “You need to be able to provide a unique, personalized shopping experience for each buyer. You need to be able to meet them where they want to meet. “

Marlene Kennedy is an independent columnist. The opinions expressed in its column are its own and not necessarily those of the newspapers. Her arrival at [email protected]

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