Hate standing in line at the grocery store? You might be in luck. A new report from CBRE predicts that the grocery store checkout line will disappear within 10 years. Behind this big move? Technology, of course.
This is just one of several bold predictions that CBRE makes in the recently released grocery store analysis of its 2019 Food in Demand series of reports.
In the report, CBRE says that a variety of technologies are coming together to lead to the eventual elimination of the checkout line. This includes carts with built-in barcode scanners and credit-card swipers; mobile-payment apps; weight sensors and cameras; and robots that can scan merchandise. CBRE says that tech-enabled shelves will soon be able to keep track of store inventory, another change that could move the checkout line into obsolesence.
Other changes coming to the grocery business? CBRE says that stores will place a greater emphasis on prepared meals and will open smaller, convenience-store-style grocery outlest. CBRE’s report also argues that in the near future, grocery chains will work closely with nontraditional partners such as fitness chains and restaurants to provide an income boost.
“The store will remain central to the grocery industry, but its format and function will be reshaped by multiple factors over the coming years,” said Melina Cordero, CBRE Global Head of Retail Research, in a written statement. “Grocery operators must diversify their offering to best compete, which will lead to varied store formats for different markets, nontraditional merchandise assortments and an even greater focus on customer convenience.”
One way that grocery store chains are already evolving is by opening smaller-format stores in dense, mostly urban areas. These stores will offer products geared toward urban shoppers, including plenty of prepared meals. Examples of this trend include Kroger Co.’s Express Mart format and Hy-Vee’s Fast & Fresh stores.
CBRE predicts, too, that in-store restaurants will become more popular, a way to attract more customers to grocery stores, keep them there longer and convince them to spend more while they are shopping. CBRE expects collaborations with outside companies to become more common, too. The report cites Hy-Vee, which is already cross-promoting Orangetheory Fitness classes with its healthy food products.