What Will Grocery Shopping Look Like in 2018?

It's going to be more and more about giving customers what they want.


Daniel B. Kline, The Motley Fool

Dec 29, 2017


How Americans buy nearly everything has begun to change. People no longer simply drive to a nearby store and buy what they need. Instead, most things can be ordered online, and that has impacted the entire retail sector.


The supermarket/grocery business has already felt some of these changes. Going forward, however, the pace of change is going to pick up. That means that services like same-day delivery, which numerous regional chains as well as Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Whole Foods, and Amazon itself offer in select markets, are likely to expand. In addition, other ideas that make shopping easier will be implemented, according to GroceryStories.com John Karolefski.


"Consumers can expect a focus on convenience as grocers make shopping easier and more enjoyable in 2018," he said in a press release, laying out some of the top trends to expect in the new year. Karolefski, who spent 15 years as senior editor of Supermarket News, has covered the grocery/supermarket business for 25 years.


What trends are coming?


More shopping options: This year, Costco added both same-day delivery through Instacart and two-day delivery for orders from a limited number of items on orders over $75. In addition, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT) tested curbside pickup and various other methods to make ordering online and picking up in store easier.


Expect more of this in 2018, says Karolefski, with new ideas being tested and chains starting to see what works. There will be heavy trial and error here and what consumers want may vary greatly by market and geography.


Mobile payment at checkout: This is already being done at progressive retailers like Whole Foods. Expect other national chains to follow with some offering more than one mobile payment choice.


More eating and drinking in stores: Getting people to leave their houses has become harder. That makes expanded food selection, coffee bars, beer and wine bars, and even restaurants a major draw. Expect more chains to follow the model used by Whole Foods and, in a different way, Costco, where getting a bite to eat and/or something to drink is part of the overall experience.


More meal kits ...


More access to product information ...


The customer is key ...


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