Experimenting with smaller store formats

Earlier this week, we wrote about an emerging trend where retailers are turning toward a more customer-centric approach and smaller footprints. In today's post we're going to focus on the grocery segment. The average supermarket in the US is roughly 45,000 square feet, and these small footprint stores average some 15,000 to 25,000 square feet.

But then there is Ahold in the Netherlands that developed a “to go” formula in addition to its regular supermarket format. While the regular Albert Heijn (AH) supermarkets are already much smaller in footprint than their American counterparts, the AH To Go’s are roughly the size of a living room.

They don’t intend to maximize the shopper basket or time in the store, in fact, the chain proudly writes that the average time spent in the store is less than three minutes. Compare that to the average shopping time of 22 minutes in the U.S.!

The keys to success in this formula are high-margin items, high trip frequency and minimal, but optimized assortment choices. The 50 AH to Go stores can be found in train/metro stations, business parks, office buildings, busy city centers and hospitals, and thus benefit from high foot traffic. “AH to Go is a convenience formula, aimed at direct consumption and the small trip,” according to the Ahold website. “It is a store for people with busy lives, who have a need for quick, fresh and diverse convenience solutions of high quality.”

AH to Go caters to a very specific segment of the chains total shopper audience, fulfilling a very specific purpose. By closely understanding the needs of a very specific shopper segment, Ahold has been very successful with their “to go” formula. Buxton specializes in helping retailers better understand shopper segments and their specific needs. Looking for your to-go or go-to formula? Give us a call.

Journey Awareness Persona Real Estate Retail