While consumer behavior can been fickle, the pandemic has forever changed grocery shopping. Grocery stores saw record sales and consumers wanting to be cautious about exposure so a shift to the adoption of eCommerce with online grocery pickup (OGP) or delivery.
Retailers were overwhelmed and struggled to keep up. One way to help streamline the process? Grocers are looking to automated grocery stores.
Consumer Behavior Changes: What Do U.S. Shoppers Think?
To get a pulse on exactly how COVID is changing consumer behavior, you have to go to the source. McKinsey recently published a survey on the topic. The findings are intriguing in the context of shopping and, specifically, grocery purchases.
According to the report, U.S. consumers say they’ll spend more on groceries. Of all the items in its survey, grocery was the highest category for increased spend. Almost all other categories were in the spend less column, with a few like household supplies seeing a smaller increase.
Will new shopping behaviors like OGP revert? Not likely. The survey found that 73% of Americans intend to continue with new shopping practices. Specifically, regarding grocery shopping, the survey found a 50+% growth for OGP post-COVID.
Consumers have adopted the new model and seem to like it, which means that grocery stores must continue to respond to the change in how their customers want to buy.
Disruptions Open the Doors for Opportunity
Automation isn’t a new technology. Many industries have adopted automation to retain efficiencies, reduce costs and scale operations. Grocery stores now have that same opportunity. Grocery stores were already using some automation technologies like self-checkout, but there are many other options that not only streamline operations but also make the shopping experience safer.
One key area that was already growing is micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs), which have been an ideal solution for increasing eCommerce orders. MFCs can hold thousands of items and employ collaborative robots to fill delivery orders. There have been companies like Takeoff Technologies that were early to the automated grocery store market but also ones coming on the scene.
MFCs can sit in dedicated areas of the supermarket or offsite, away from shoppers. They reduce the need for human “pickers” of orders and have the proper temperature controls to keep all foods safe.
Serving the Grocery Store Industry: How KPS Global Supports the Automated Grocery Store Strategy
Automation in grocery stores doesn’t just improve efficiencies. The margins in the industry are tight, and competition is fierce from regional and national players.
Creating MFCs or other automation areas requires cold storage to maintain food safety, and that’s where KPS Global is the expert. KPSG can partner with automation companies like Takeoff Technologies to construct walk-in coolers and freezers to house the robotics.
These custom solutions deliver a final product that meets the needs of grocery stores and their automation deployments. Products stay safe at the correct temperature. These areas can even have an exterior access point for easy and quick delivery from cooler to car. Streamlining the operation further.
The Next Evolution of Grocery Shopping: Powered by Technology
As a partner to the grocery store industry for decades, KPSG is here to grow and progress with the industry and provide coolers and freezers for the next evolution of grocery shopping.
For questions about our OGP solutions, contact us to learn more.