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January 26, 2021

Changes in Where Consumers Shop

It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since the arrival of coronavirus in the U.S. Since the first consumers started stock-piling toilet paper and canned goods, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended dining and food shopping habits. With more people eating at home, a spotlight has been put on consumer grocery shopping behavior – they aren’t just changing how and what they purchase, but also where they shop. Continue the article below...

Not so surprising, the number of stores consumers shopped at during the peak of the pandemic dropped, with 40% of shoppers reporting they shopped at fewer stores in an effort to reduce exposure.

While online shopping has increased among shoppers, a majority of consumers are still relying on brick & mortar for groceries. But overall, 78% of shoppers are making changes in where they do their food shopping due to the effects of the pandemic.

While the traditional supermarket continues to be the top choice of store format for shoppers, the pandemic contributed to growing popularity of club stores, with many shoppers looking to reduce shopping trips by buying in bulk. The pandemic also triggered increased activity at limited assortment or smaller format retailers, such as drug stores and convenience stores, among those shoppers desiring less “traffic” while they shop.

Despite shopping trends being adjusted, one thing that hasn’t changed is consumer loyalty to a primary store. While shoppers do spread their food dollars around, they still spend about 75% of their food dollars at their go-to store – whether in-store or online. Even still, it is important for grocers to take action to maintain and build customer loyalty to ensure that their store is the customer’s first choice.

Clear communication can put customers at ease, especially in the midst of a pandemic. With less time spent in-store, and a hyper-awareness of safety and hygiene, make sure you’re communicating two critical shared interests – safety and value.

Shoppers want to know what you are doing to keep them and employees safe. The CDC encourages business owners to take steps to reduce transmission among employees, maintain a healthy work environment and emphasize safe business operations. Clearly communicating that you have these items under control can help put consumers’ minds at ease and keep them coming back to your store.

Safety and value go hand-in-hand. A successful business cannot focus on just one or the other.

The first step in providing value to grocery shoppers is by improving the in-store shopping experience. Clutter on shelves, low inventory and poorly organized displays turn customers away. Improve the aesthetics of your store in a way that stops the shopper and makes them realize the quality and value you’re offering.

That can be a challenge in the frozen aisles, with shoppers often disrupting the shelves while making their selections. Grocers have found that the SimpliStock™ Wire and Metal System from Retail Space Solutions can help improve the frozen experience for both shoppers and stockers.

While wire and metal shelves are the most common retail freezer fixtures, they’re also the most commonly cluttered and untidy. SimpliStock keeps frozen products front-faced and organized all day long using existing shelving. Installing in just minutes, strong magnet platforms hold these unique pusher systems in place on metal shelves, while push-through stabilizers ensure platforms rest securely on wire shelves.

SimpliStock will quite simply create better frozen displays, which can take customer loyalty – and your bottom line – to unmatched heights.

To learn more about the SimpliStock Wire and Metal System or other pusher trays from Retail Space Solutions, visit or call 1-800-279-5291.