In-Store Grocery Experiences: Beyond Aisles and Shelves

How do you design a grocery in-store experience to enhance the appeal of brick-and-mortar grocery shopping? Talk to TLC for creative in-store displays.

Most of us have childhood memories of trips to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for a birthday party or to look for inspiration for a school potluck. Grocery shopping is ingrained into our memories as an activity that evokes a positive emotional response when it precedes a social event with food!

Today, grocery retailers face a number of challenges because of fast-changing shopping preferences. 

For example, rising costs are driving customers to shop around for the best deals rather than buying everything from one preferred store. 

As retailers fight rising costs, many of them are also facing staff shortages—giving customers a poor in-store experience when they can't locate an associate or have to wait to check out. 

Online shopping models such as BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) are gaining popularity due to their convenience. 

How can retailers make grocery shopping enjoyable again, encourage customers to spend more time browsing through the shop floor, and relive positive memories of grocery aisles and shelves?

A great in-store experience drives shoppers to discover new products, enjoy interactive experiences, and connect with brands in a way that can't be matched by any other shopping channel! 

In this article, we look at how the grocery in-store experience impacts customers’ perceptions about the brand and whether they choose to shop there again in the future.

The Look Company offers the retail industry a range of visual engagement solutions that can help retailers create an immersive grocery in-store experience.

Making Grocery Shopping Enjoyable Again!

Most consumers get into a pattern when it comes to shopping for groceries. Some prefer to shop on weekends so their fridges and pantries are well-stocked before the start of the working week. Others prefer to pick up what they need (or what's fresh) on their way home from work. 

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted most of these grocery-buying patterns. 

As consumers took to online ordering, retailers scrambled to adapt to the new normal with ordering apps, home deliveries, and curbside pick-ups.

Consumers are likely to continue some of the changed behaviors and shopping preferences beyond the pandemic. Research by Accenture suggests that more than 50% of consumers will shop both in stores and online in the future.

Can we change the consumers' perspective of grocery as a chore and make it a fun run instead?

Grocery retailers must focus on creative ways to provide a rich, experiential grocery in-store experience to make physical grocery shopping fun again!

Grocery In-Store Experiences that go Beyond Aisles & Shelves

A poor in-store experience is the number one cause of loss of customer loyalty for grocery retail stores.

Grocery stores that prioritize providing a superior in-store experience are more likely to foster customer loyalty, retain customers, and drive long-term business success.

Let's look at some ways in which retailers can improve the in-store customer experience:

Create a tailored in-store grocery shopping experience

Grocery retailers that offer tailored experiences are more likely to retain customers. Tailored experiences allow grocery stores to differentiate themselves from competitors and position themselves as a preferred choice for customers seeking a personalized shopping experience.


  • Understand your customers' needs and preferences and curate product offerings to align with those preferences. For example, if you notice a growing demand for low-sugar products, add new, innovative products to cater to that trend.

  • Study data such as purchase history, dietary restrictions, and shopping habits and use it to provide personalized product recommendations, promotions, and offers. For example, If your data shows that many of your customers are working professionals who look for products that save time and effort, you can design product bundles or discount offers on pre-prepared or ready-to-eat meals to answer their specific needs or preferences.

When you design tailored experiences for your customers, you make them feel understood and valued. As a result, you will see customer satisfaction and customer loyalty scores soar!

Focus on store design and layout

Store design and layout are crucial in shaping a positive grocery in-store shopping experience.

For example, can your customers easily find the food items they have on their shopping lists? Can they quickly identify the right aisles or shelves for major food groups such as dairy, meat, or deli?

A well-designed store layout enhances customer satisfaction and promotes brand loyalty.


  • Focus on creating a pleasant environment with bright and eye-catching in-store signage to inspire grocery shoppers. 

  • Use wayfinding signage to guide shoppers smoothly through the aisles and navigate to the categories they are looking for.

  • Use informational signage to help customers find the right products and make buying decisions. purchase. For example, use QR codes that customers can scan with their mobile phones to get more information about the product.

  • Optimize product placements based on research findings. Place commonly purchased items or high-margin products at eye level or end-caps to attract attention.  

  • Where products are displayed influences customers' purchasing decisions. For example, special promotions, seasonal items, and fresh produce are best placed near the entrance to entice customers.

What can senior leadership do to enhance store design and layout:

It's a good idea for senior management to regularly review and analyze customer feedback and past purchase data to identify areas for improvement in the store design and layout. They can also enhance the in-store shopping experience by offering value-added services such as express checkout, self-service kiosks or Food & Beverage (F&B)  areas for customers to relax.

Design interactive in-store displays

Interactive displays and product demos effectively engage shoppers and make their grocery shopping experience more enjoyable.


  • Product demos allow customers to sample food and beverage products before buying and encourage them to try new flavors or products.

  • Use interactive grocery displays that give information about sustainable products. According to Accenture, 85% of in-store shoppers want to know that their grocery store supports and contributes to the local community. Promoting local produce is also an efficient supply chain strategy and reduces carbon footprint. 44% of shoppers prefer to shop with a retailer willing to reduce food miles by focusing on locally-sourced products.

  • Design displays that are tailored to your customer's preferences. For example, design vibrant, backlit displays using lightboxes for specific preferences, such as fresh, locally sourced produce that supports sustainable farming or eco-friendly products that have a sustainability story.

Use creative marketing strategies

Creative marketing strategies help you create a unique and memorable in-store experience to delight and engage your customers. 

Here's how:

  • Make it fun to shop in-store! Use themed displays to add an element of fun to an everyday shopping experience.  For example, look for a co-branding opportunity with a popular movie or character and create an in-store display that ties in the product in an interesting way with the theme. 

  • Create visually appealing media walls for Instagram-worthy photo backdrops, encouraging shoppers to take pictures and share them on social media, thus generating word-of-mouth marketing.

  • Offer exclusive products that are not available in other stores to create a sense of exclusivity and intrigue to attract footfall. For example, brand collaborations, including SWAS partnerships (Store-within-a-store), are a great way to offer unique or local products, create excitement for shoppers, and keep them coming back to see what's new or unique at your store. Use TLC's modular display systems to quickly set up pop-up shops for brand collaborations within your store.

  • Host in-store events to create a sense of community and get customers to spend more time in your store. For example, you can partner with local producers or food artisans to showcase their products or host Food & Beverage tasting sessions to drive foot traffic, generate buzz, and amplify your store's reach.

TLC: Creating Engaging In-Store Grocery Experiences

Shoppers with a long shopping list are on a mission. If you can put a smile on their faces and make the experience about more than just ticking goods off a list, you're in business!

TLC supports grocery stores and chains with creative in-store display solutions

Our custom lightboxes, vibrant fabric prints, and modular display systems enable you to create immersive grocery in-store experiences. 

Connect with TLC today and take your grocery store beyond mere aisles and shelves.