Need a ‘Burb Close To All The Action? Maybe—or Maybe NOT.
When families go from urban to suburban, amenities and access usually top their list of “must-haves.” It makes sense—no one wants to be driving all over town to snag a packet of diapers, dry cleaning or a slice of pizza, even. And of course you need a great suburban grocery store…right?
But then the Internet happened and, over the last few decades, a lot has changed—no surprise there. More recently, though, all of that connectivity is getting funneled into some pretty unique applications—applications that, together, have impacted the way urbanites see the ‘burbs. Do you need a farmer’s market right around the corner? Not when they’ve got Freshdirect. A suburban grocery store? Pair Peapod with HelloFresh or Plated and, really, you could take it or leave it.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are endless ecommerce stores plus tons of brick-and-click options that ensure you can always get your faves whether it’s kids goodies or fine wine or a great pair of jeans. Then there’s the “box culture” that encompasses everything from Stitch Fix to Amazon Dash to Birchbox and Julep Maven, offering up everything from clothes to crackers to makeup to cocktails.
All of this is impacting the way consumers—especially the more affluent millennial segment—shops and buys. The Wall Street Journal recently called out this shift and, specifically, the impact it’s having on retailers.
It’s a “permanent shift in shopping patterns among consumers,” they write, “shoppers in their 20s and 30s are visiting supermarkets less frequently than their parents,” for example, instead “spreading purchases across new options, including online grocery services…” So what does that mean for the suburban grocery store?
It’s one of the most dramatic change to shopping ever, many experts throughout the article cite, and it’s already changing the ways grocers and big box stores speak and cater to this critical audience. “To win over the key young consumer group,” WSJ writes, “some supermarkets are testing smartphone apps that customers can use to place their orders in advance, and introducing new product lines.” Those new lines include “third-party services such as Instacart Inc., Shipt and UberRush,” all in an effort “to reclaim millennials.”
So what does that mean for YOU, the almost suburbanite? For starters, plan to have lots more access to necessities and, even, nice-to-haves once you’re in the ‘burbs, all with a quick click. Until now, these services were heavily geared towards city shoppers who craved convenience, access and immediacy. With those urban families heading to suburbia, it’s no surprise those same everyday luxuries are following—and, even better, giving families a wider footprint for their suburban search.
Think about it: if you can get groceries, dog food, wine, toilet paper and baby wipes delivered to your door same day, do you need all of those amenities in walking distance? Do you even need them in a quick driving distance? Maybe—but maybe not. And for many, that’s opening their search to other towns that they may not have considered before—smaller towns, towns with less immediate commerce and towns a little more off the beaten path.
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