We the consumers are striving for balance.
We are prioritizing our health and time. We are making more home-cooked meals. And we see our energy as a precious resource to be carefully portioned.
It's a relatively modern phenomena related to technology and being inundated with information and "things" that leave us overwhelmed. We have chosen to reclaim ourselves in meaningful ways. Self-care and robot vacuums aren't just for the bourgeoisie anymore. Cue the industries ready to profit from this shift. In the retail food world, Instacart, Shipt, Doordash, Uber Eats, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and local options like Whole and Nourished, Cafe Courier, and concierge services have risen to meet growing consumer trends of valuing time and quality.
Has your grocery shopping changed in recent years?
Grocery retail was a static industry for a really, really long time. Sure, there were innovations in food production and point of sale technology, but overall grocery shopping habits hadn't evolved much in the last 40 years. Until now. Evolutionary leaps have occurred since 2010. Some not as obvious, but a LOT of things changed from 10 years ago. The convenience culture, influenced by smartphones and Amazon shopping, finally became universal in the twentyteens and here we are.
Have you noticed large supermarkets seem more.. spacious lately? That's due to growing confidence with online ordering and delivery options. Working with senior populations, it was previously hard to find grocery delivery services in the Bozeman area. Now you can find them at nearly every store in town. Smith's started their Clicklist pickup service just over a year ago and it has flourished with others following suit. Even the new local Co-Op expansion will have a pickup option when completed.
Convenience shopping comes at a price.
Most items are priced higher online, you pay a delivery fee, sometimes an additional "convenience" fee on top of that, and a tip (if you're not a jerk). For a lot of us juggling too many things, it's still worth it at times. For those times you only need 3 or 4 items, not at all. Especially if you just realized you need it within the hour, and the 2-4 hour advance order requirement doesn't work.
The drive-thru grocery is not a new concept, but it's one that needs revisiting. It is not financially viable for high-volume retailers to provide this option, so it's been left to the little guys. Like us. Or like Eastside Mini Mart in Costa Mesa, Ca. Their store is similar to a garage that you literally drive through. Like the other west coast drive-thru's, it is more alcohol-focused than grocery-focused. Or how about the Dairy Barn or Farm Stores drive-thru chains on the east coast? Like Ridge Run, they are small, grocery-focused retailers that are filling gaps in convenience grocery options.
Trust is growing with grocery innovation.
The problem with years of little to no innovation in food retail is that consumer adjustment to the change is slow. We've become comfortable with online shopping thanks to ebay and Amazon and Paypal, but food is still a touchy subject. It's difficult to adjust generations of familiarity and routine. But, out of necessity, we are easing out of our comfort zones. And we are finding we quite enjoy it. Personal shoppers really do pick out the best produce. Items are usually as fresh and high-quality as when you purchase them in the store. Yay for skipping crowds and musak.! Yay for sticking to the list and less impulse buying! And if time really is money... we're saving a ton of it.
Ridge Run is excited to be participating in the (r)evolution of your grocery shopping, and to be evolving ourselves. As we continue to grow, we are fine-tuning our product and service selections to meet your needs. We are offering more fresh local and organic options. We are adding beer and wine to our walk-in (run-in) selection. And we'll soon have an order-ahead option for people. Our goal is to adapt to changes in modern lifestyle and bridge the gap between the supermarket and home. As we find our balance, we hope to help you find yours, too.