CERRITOS, Calif. — Three important trends are taking place in the retail industry today, and members of the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council learned all about them at a luncheon June 25.
Guest speaker Steven Muro, president of Fusion Marketing, Chatsworth, Calif., said smaller store formats are becoming common, technology is beginning to drive produce sales and online shopping is “the big new coming thing” today.
Elaborating on the trend toward smaller formats, he said consumers today want a “simpler shopping experience — they want to get in, they want to shop, and they want to get out.”
Wal-Mart already has discovered that with its new, small-format stores, which are experiencing a 5% year-over-year growth rate while sales at its supercenters are lagging, Muro said.
In 1995, the average size of a grocery store was 35,000 square feet, he said. By 2006, it was nearly 50,000 square feet, but today average size has dropped to 45,000 square feet.
“Small formats are a driving force,” he said.
By 2017, fresh format stores, limited assortment stores, dollar stores and supercenters each will experience a 1% increase in market share, he said, which will equate to $2 billion in additional produce sales.
Turning to technology, he said the latest Fusion Marketing online survey showed that consumers continue to use mobile devices to look up weekly ads, recipes and nutrition information, and they like the convenience of digital coupons.
He mentioned the new Amazon Fire smartphone with its Firefly feature. A consumer can walk into any retailer, take a picture of any item, push a button and have Amazon deliver it, he said.
“The smaller footprint store is changing to zero footprint” with the surge of online shopping, he said.
Over the next three years, shopping for online groceries will become a $9.5 billion industry, Muro said.
In the Fusion Marketing survey, 4% of respondents said they had bought produce online last year. This year the number is 12%.
Muro encouraged suppliers to take advantage of the online trend by providing online sellers with information about their products.
“They need the same information any retailer needs,” he said, including data about where products are selling, how they’re selling, sales rates and consumer information about the people who are buying them.