Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 4

POP UP GROCER

FOOD ENTREPRENEUR

(and out of)

WHAT'S
IN
STORE FOR RETAIL
How three businesses cater to today's
'experience generation' of shoppers
BY NATALIE SHMULIK

I

n today's uber-convenient world, you're more likely to get
your next meal at the gym than at a restaurant, and your
groceries may arrive home before you do. With increased
product accessibility, cash-free checkouts and artificial intelligence automating decision making, instant gratification is the
norm, and conventional shopping is a chore.
Yet the more shopping shortcuts consumers take, the
more they crave connections and experiences that create
authentic impressions. From this paradox, a new form of retail
has emerged, forcing brands and
businesses to rethink sales channels and selling strategies.
Brick-and-mortar stores will
have to shrink in size but heighten
the customer experience. Precious
square footage should become multifaceted, mixing sales functions
with unexpected uses like warehousing for e-commerce deliveries,
ghost kitchens or event venues.
One retailer leading the way
is Emily Schildt's Pop Up Grocer, a tiny temporary grocery store
that moves from city to city and functions as an educational
and marketing tool for the emerging brands it features. Its short
lifespan at each location adds appeal and creates the urgency that
today's "experience generation" needs, Ms. Schildt said. The shop
draws shoppers with its bright aesthetics and punchy labels,
intentionally defying yesterday's monotonous, linear aisles and
endless sea of products. It's more a museum than a store, and it
even has its own shopping guide. Ms. Schildt continues to evolve
the space, running new events in partnership with local vendors
and restaurants, and has plans to blaze into online retail.
And what does new-age e-commerce look like? Nothing
like Amazon, if you ask Thrive Market's chief executive officer,
Nick Green. His online organic grocery store seeks to simplify
shopping rather than overload customers with options and uses
a membership model to bring easy access to wholesale pricing
and nutritious, non-G.M.O. foods. Mr. Green understands that
consumers want to feel good about making purchases that
reflect their values. So, for each paid member, Thrive gifts a free
membership to someone who needs it. Mr. Green also surveys
customers at sign-up to personalize the product catalog to their
individual needs. The survey accommodates diverse dietary
tribes and streamlines shopping by values, such as female-owned

businesses, regenerative agriculture and fair-trade origin.
Nuanced online and in-store strategies may achieve even
more when combined, finds Foxtrot founder Mike LaVitola. His
upmarket convenience store began online and expanded to a
physical space that's a lively combination of supermarket, convenience store, cafe, gift shop, coworking and event space, plus
night market. Foxtrot aims to create an inviting space and curates
diverse but approachable products. These days, sales are split
down the middle, with 50% online and 50% in store. The shop offers something for everyone: from
Blake's Seed Based allergen-friendly
bars to $20 premium C.B.D. snacks
- or the ever-popular "Bud Light
and a banana," Mr. LaVitola said.
The common threads amongst
these innovative retailers include
a focus on education through
curation and building communities
upon shared values. More importantly, these founders innovate,
push boundaries, and take risks
to connect with shoppers. Ms. Schildt's temporary grocery store
takes months to develop and assemble - and is disassembled and
moved after just 30 days. Mr. Green has ambitions to launch 200
new regenerative items on Thrive Market and introduce frozen
meals insulated with compostable recycled jeans, while Mr. LaVitola is rapidly expanding into new markets and sells 800 products
from 95 different vendors,
a level of curation that's
unheard of in the grocery
world. As Mr. Green stated,
it's important to cater to
this new generation of
shoppers who care less
about price than "about the
kind of world they want to
be a part of."
Change isn't coming.
It's already here. Those
who lean into new forms
of retail will be the ones
Natalie Shmulik is the chief executive
who are able to keep closofficer of The Hatchery Chicago, a food
ing sales instead of closing
and beverage incubator.
their doors. ▪
Email editor@sosland.com.

Those who lean into new
forms of retail will be the
ones who are able to keep
closing sales instead of
closing their doors.

4

Food Business News

March 3, 2020



Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020

Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020
Commentary - Mind the gap
What's in store for retail?
The plant-based revolutionaries
The Amazon effect
News
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - Commentary - Mind the gap
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - What's in store for retail?
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - The plant-based revolutionaries
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - The Amazon effect
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 15
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 16
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 17
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - News
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 19
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 20
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