Is the future smaller for grocery retailing? Heidi Easton of Shop and Display Equipment Association looks at trends in grocery retailing

Our retail landscape is continuously changing. Until recently it was ‘bigger the better’ as the country’s leading grocers built huge stores to cater for the weekly shopper. Now we’re buying little and often so it’s convenience rather than size that matters. Does this mean a return to High Street grocery shopping? Or will we soon be ordering all our groceries from Amazon?

LeclercBordeaux7

Time will tell. But in the meantime you have a store or chain of stores to run as effectively as possible.

If tomorrow’s grocery stores are going to be smaller they need to make every square metre count. That can be a real challenge, especially in an old building which was never designed for the purpose. Take a good look at the layout, take advice from the experts in retail display and try to keep it simple, organised and fully merchandised. Most customers are busy, with a hundred things on their minds. Help them enjoy their shopping experience.

There have been huge advances in LED lighting and you should take advantage of the cost savings as well as the amazing display opportunities this presents. Look at the possibilities. There are illuminated shelves, illuminated walls, under shelf lighting and super slim light boxes where poster messages can be changed at will. And LED lighting now has an incredibly short payback time.

Supermarket design and in particular the signage has a reputation for being unadventurous. It need not be so. Leclerc is one of France’s oldest and largest supermarket chains, yet it has recently opened one of the finest supermarkets in the world. Leclerc worked with Parisian designers, Malherbe to create a store that embodies the spirit of its 1930s Art Deco building. This Bordeaux beauty is fresh, vibrant and extremely well designed. It is full of character and charm. Every detail has been considered and the resulting ‘boutique style’ store conveys a cohesive message.

In such a saturated marketplace it’s very difficult to make an impression. Yet your retail identity holds the key to your retail success. Carve out an image that is unique to you, differentiate as much as possible in your product choice, store fitout and displays. If there’s one area of retail that has become a trend this is it; successful stores are becoming more and more creative and individual.

SDEA-logo-CMYK-copyIf you need help sourcing your retail display equipment, the Shop and Display Equipment Association has published a new Retail Display Directory which is available free to readers of this magazine by calling 01883 348911 or emailing directory@sdea.co.uk and quoting this article. Alternatively, you can visit their online database at www.shopdisplay.org.