What makes a grocery store a cool place to shop? Rephrased in another way, what are the components that need to be present in a retail store that would make me want to come back again and again to do my food shopping, a task that is repetitive, monotonous and sometimes outright annoying?
I was pondering these questions earlier this week when I noticed that the grocery store down the street changed (upgraded) the refrigeration units that hold the store’s meats. It appears that the store installed a modern glass refrigeration section to enhances the look and experience of shopping for the rather unexcited and dull packaged (sometimes mystery) meat.
I wish more food retailers would ask and execute on the same questions to make food shopping a more pleasurable experience. As a customer, you may be focused on your shopping list and grocery mission but it does not mean you can’t also enjoy the experience at the same time. These two things are not mutually exclusive.
There is nothing I like more when I travel than to visit grocery and specialty stores and see how food is merchandised and sold in different cities around the world. There is something special about discovering (and shopping in) a grocery store that has clearly worked with an interior designer or an architect to plan, design and execute its food retailing concept. My favourite concept which I am sure will continue to evolve is the restaurant, market, retail store concept-
Here are some of my favourite modern grocery stores around the world. Where do you like to shop? What stands out for you in a store? Any interesting food retailing concepts you would recommend?
Three Sixty (Hong Kong)- The Whole Foods of Hong Kong. It offers lots of organic products spread out over two floors, spacious aisles, natural light and soft interiors. I enjoyed shopping there when I was living in Hong Kong.
Pimlico (Paris) Organic epicerie, local, specialty food shop. Love the white walls with exposed bricks.
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Mpreis (South Tyrol, Austria) Super trendy, industrial, spacious, modern store which I hope to visit in two weeks when I go skiing in Austria.
Unpackaged (London) You bring the bags, containers and cartons. It reminds me of a hipper farmer’s market meets, Bulk Barn (a bulk food store in Toronto).
Kochhaus (Berlin) A gourmet chef’s delight.