As grocers look to capture more of consumers’ day-to-day spending than just their food budgets, one upcoming store is going so far as to offer a five-hole putting green.
Supermarket operator Jackson Mitchell Holdings announced Friday (Sept. 15) that, next summer, it will open a 42,000-square-foot grocery store, dubbed FreshTake, at a former Whole Foods location in Augusta, Georgia. In addition to the five-hole golf green, the store will also include an on-site café, bar, barbecue smokehouse and firepit.
“Our goal is to create a space that not only offers top-quality groceries but also becomes a hub for the community, where people can come together to enjoy great food, entertainment, and convenience,” CEO Jackson Mitchell said in a statement.
The news comes as grocers look for ways to keep consumers coming back to their physical stores amid increasing competition from eCommerce. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Catching the Coming eCommerce Wave,” created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, which drew from a census-balanced survey of nearly 2,700 U.S. consumers, found that about 1 in 3 shoppers report being very or extremely likely to increase their online grocery purchases in the next year.
Already, eCommerce is eating away at supermarkets’ wallet share, aisle by aisle. Consumers are increasingly turning to digital options to get their health and beauty products, items for their pets, cleaning supplies and more, choosing brick-and-mortar options for outer-aisle, perishable items.
“PYMNTS data shows that three years ago, nearly every single consumer who bought at least one common household product each week — the items that occupy the center aisles of those stores such as paper towels, cleaning supplies and canned goods — did so at the grocery store,” PYMNTS’ Karen Webster observed earlier this year. “Today, 22% fewer consumers across all grocery product categories report that they still make any of those purchases in the store.”
As such, grocers are looking for ways to draw consumers to their physical spaces and to keep shoppers engaged. Atypical in-store offerings could help them in this goal. In 2021, Midwestern grocery chain Hy-Vee announced a partnership with fitness retailer Johnson Fitness & Wellness to bring exercise equipment showrooms to its stores. Around the same time, Texas supermarket chain H-E-B teamed up with James Avery Artisan Jewelry to bring jewelry shops into its stores.
One of the more common ways that supermarkets are looking to expand their offerings beyond grocery is by adding in-store restaurants.
In a conversation earlier this year with PYMNTS, Atul Sood, chief business officer at Kitchen United, the ghost kitchen and virtual food hall company working with grocery giant Kroger on in-store multi-brand pickup and delivery restaurants, spoke to this trend.
“What we had as an initial hypothesis was that when consumers do shopping for the week, they don’t necessarily want to cook that night,” Sood explained. “That seems to be really clicking with consumers. As soon as they get educated about the option of ordering from restaurants in a grocery store, that repeat orders tend to be very high and consumer retention tends to be very strong.”