Sep 20 | 2 min read

Grocery Store, Bar & Grill? Three Ways Supermarkets Are Transforming the Grocery Experience

Leading supermarkets like Whole Foods and Wegmans are transforming the grocery experience in three key ways.

Aila Staff

In a time when shoppers can order groceries from their phones and have the order arrive at their door two hours later, supermarkets have to work twice as hard to create a seamless in-store grocery experience. 

In the years since the spread of ecommerce, we’ve seen that while online shopping is convenient, most customers still prefer to visit the store to pick out their groceries. So, how can grocers keep customers coming back into the store for their groceries? One key way is the in-store experience. 

Here’s a look at how grocers are transforming their brick-and-mortar grocery experience. 

price checking grocery experience

1. Self-service anywhere in the store 

Amid a pandemic, labor shortages, and shoppers’ preference for self-service, grocers have followed the lead of other retail verticals by rolling out self-service options across the supermarket

  • Self-checkout: checking out and paying has been streamlined and personalized by the adoption of three formats for self-checkout; from small-footprint kiosks to full self-service checkout lanes with conveyor belts
  • Price checking: Grocers have begun replacing antiquated single-purpose price-checking terminals with smart product discovery kiosks where shoppers can explore, learn, reserve, see recommended pairings, and more
  • Deli ordering:  One of the busiest parts of the store, the deli has been transformed by self-service deli ordering kiosks that allow customers to quickly place an order and receive a text when it’s ready to pick up—letting them finish up their shopping in the meantime 

An abundance of self-service options, alongside a friendly and knowledgeable staff, can boost the grocery experience by reducing lines and offsetting labor shortages that cause them.

buffet prepared food grocery experience

2. Going beyond grocery, from cafés to buffets

Increasingly, supermarkets are taking advantage of their square footage by providing other incentives for shoppers to come into the store besides grocery shopping. 

Wegman’s, Whole Foods, and others have found success with buffet-style cafeterias that serve everything from pre-packaged meals to freshly-made sushi. Whole Foods has even begun integrating restaurants and bars into its stores. 

The overall grocery experience benefits from these places for shoppers to eat, rest, or enjoy a coffee while they shop, drawing in valuable foot traffic. 

grocery experience buying vegetables

3. Sustainable and local

Seventy-seven percent of shoppers say they’re trying to shop more sustainably. Another 67% say that retailers still have more work to do to provide sustainable products. As a result, many grocery stores are providing local products, reducing plastic bags and packaging, providing in-store recycling, and more. These efforts aren’t limited to small grocery chains either. Aldi, the country’s fastest-growing grocer, was also ranked the most sustainable for its efforts to reduce packaging and increase recycling. 

When customers feel that they’re spending their money conscientiously, it can improve the grocery experience by providing a culture around local goods and sustainable shopping. 


Want to transform the grocery experience in your stores? Aila’s Interactive Kiosk is helping retailers streamline checkout, deli ordering, and product discovery in thousands of stores across North America. Read our free grocery brochure to learn more: 

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