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When it comes to the convenience of shopping, we have so many options today that the lines between where and how we shop are blurring as retailers scramble for our dollars. This is called “Channel Blurring,” and it’s a trend I’ve been watching with interest for several years now.

One of the industry watchers for this trend is The Hartman Group, who reported that, “consumers no longer confine food shopping to the traditional grocery store. They now selectively pick from a variety of formats and outlets, depending on the occasion, type of food and channel that best meet their needs and expectations.” (Check out this great infographic the Hartman Group put together.)

For instance, think of all the ways you could restock your fridge today:  You could go to the grocery store, or a super bib-box store, or even a smaller convenience store. Or, you could try online home delivery, your department store or drug store’s new grocery aisle, indoor farmer’s market, or any number of new channels able to fill your grocery list.

That’s great news for us as consumers, but not great news for traditional grocery stores when those channels blur.

“Today, more than 80% of shoppers visit three or more channels to carry out their C.P.G. shopping journey. And, as more nodes crop up along the path to purchase, capturing shoppers’ attention and wallet will become increasingly complex. Retailers and manufacturers must provide value to each and every shopper through individualized targeting and flawless execution,”says Susan Viamari, editor of Thought Leadership for  Information Resources, Inc.  (source)

How are retail outlets jockeying for better position? One example is Yesway stores. The C-store chain recently transformed its shopping experience, rebranding a few dozen of its stores across the U.S. to create a positive name that would resonate with consumers. Yesway said it would acquire 100 stores by the end this year and between 600 and 1,000 stores in three or four years, which will make the convenience store chain a strong player.

 

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