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Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubator has announced the launch of its second portfolio company, Spatial&. It will focus on the opportunities to create new virtual commerce (V-commerce) experiences.

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CVS Health has launched three new pilot stores in Houston as part of its focus on creating a destination for wellness.

Developing a new customer-centric healthcare model

The new HealthHUB format has been launched within CVS Pharmacy stores in Houston. Last year, the company outlined plans for a new store format which would offer a range of innovative healthcare services following its $69bn acquisition of Aetna, a leading healthcare insurance company. The combination of CVS and Aetna provides an opportunity for the enlarged business to develop a new healthcare model and create a new customer experience. The aim has been to create a “convenient health care destination” for consumers, blending existing pharmacy support programs and its MinuteClinic services with a new, broader offer.

Source: CVS Health

Extended range of healthcare services

Key elements of the HealthHUB include new product categories, digital tools, on-demand health kiosks and a broader range of healthcare services. Over 20% of store space is dedicated to health services including durable medical equipment and product and service combinations for sleep apnea and diabetes care. The store also offers one-on-one and group counselling on nutritional health, led by a licensed dietitian. Customers can also use iPads at 'Learn Tables' to explore health and wellness apps and shop for an extended range of products online.

Source: CVS Health

’Care Concierge’ role to engage with customers

The HealthHUB is led by a ‘Care Concierge’ to engage with customers around the new service offerings. This includes helping them to navigate the store and events and connecting them to in-store healthcare providers. CVS professionals can make us of new Wellness Rooms, while community partners can host group events including health-focused and yoga classes.

Source: CVS Health

Building resilience against digitised healthcare

Drugstore retailers are increasingly looking to broaden the products and services they offer. In part this is being driven by demographic trends but also a desire to be more resilient against the anticipation of stronger online-based competition in the future. Earlier this year, CVS partnered with SmileDirectClub at six locations, enabling customers to be fitted for invisible braces. Walgreens has also opened a dental office within one of its stores in Florida, while in Chicago, it has been piloting a vision clinic.

Source: CVS Health

Loblaw’s Wellwise format helping shoppers to “age powerfully”

In Canada, Loblaw has launched the Wellwise format, developed to help customers “age powerfully.” The store offers a broader range of products for wellness, active living and mobility, along with healthcare services like those offered by the HealthHUB at CVS. This store format enables it to tap into the trend for a growing segment of the elderly population to remain active in older age.

Aligned with our trends to watch

These developments align with one of our key trends for 2019, ‘Help me be healthy’. This year, we expect to see more retailers developing formats and services which enable them to educate, inform and reward shoppers to live healthier lives.

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The amount of plastic packaging used to protect and preserve food and groceries became a very contentious and high-profile topic in 2018.

Companies have been working for a long time on developing more sustainable packaging solutions. However, it is an extremely complex and challenging issue.

Even so, I continue to see more and more industry activity, public campaigns and regulation on this topic.

Back to the future

One way that environmentally conscious retailers have been addressing the issues associated with excess packaging is to take inspiration from the past.

Traditionally, pre-1920s, we would have purchased produce from our local greengrocers, and they would have wrapped and packed the goods up for us.

Currently, there is a movement of niche independent retailers that are offering products in a similar way to the pre-1920s greengrocers.

The goods are unpacked, and the movement is called ‘zero waste’ stores.

The difference today is that instead of the shopkeeper packing up your goods for you, shoppers are encouraged to bring in their own containers to the store to pack the products they want.

In April 2018, Ekoplaza launched the world’s first plastic-free pop-up store in Amsterdam. 700 SKUs are packaged in plant-based compostable biofilm or displayed packaging-free. The retailer also introduced a plastic-free aisle in-store, and plans to roll out the initiative across its network.

Singapore’s first zero-waste grocery store, called Unpackt, opened in May 2018 with the aim of making packaging-free shopping more accessible. Customers can buy goods without any packaging and are encouraged to bring their own containers to store.

At the end of 2018, Thornton's Budgens store in Camden switched more than 1,700 product lines to plastic-free packaging, with the aim of becoming "virtually plastic-free" within three years. By January 29th, 2019, the store had 1,897 plastic-free products.

Across Europe it’s a similar story with independent stores in Barcelona, Milan, Vienna, Antwerp, Turin, Verona, Utrecht and many more. These types of stores have also started to open in North America and Asia.

The Zero Waste movement has been gathering momentum. Of course, this movement is just one strand of a larger consumer trend that we’ve all been watching unfold for years. That is, the rising expectations for brands and businesses to do more to minimise the negative impact they have on the planet and society.

From niche to mainstream

However, this movement is moving from niche to mainstream. We have seen a number of established retailers offering products that are unpacked, from the likes of Whole Foods who provide bulk offering at its stores.

Albert Heijn has introduced instore ‘harvest stands or living walls’. This isn’t the first time Albert Heijn has trialled instore fresh ‘living’ produce, and I have seen similar initiatives being tested in Asia and from Metro in Germany.

Most recently, in January 2019, Marks & Spencer stepped-up its commitment to reducing the amount of plastic it uses by launching over 90 lines of loose fruit and vegetables completely free of plastic packaging in a trial at its Tolworth store in the UK.

To support the trial, M&S has introduced trained greengrocers, who will be on hand to offer customers valuable advice as they select from two aisles of fruit and vegetables free of plastic packaging.

In addition to helping customers pick and weigh their products, the greengrocers will provide tips on how best to preserve fresh produce and prevent food waste at home, as M&S has removed “best before” date labels from fresh fruit and veg as part of the store trial.

The results are in…

It is still relatively early to tell how successful the naked food movement has been. But from initial feedback the naked food movement is proving both commercial and environmentally successful.

According to Andrew Thornton, of Thornton's Budgens in Camden: “Our plastic free campaign has been highly effective in making a difference in the world. And, it’s grown our sales line by 4%, no mean achievement in the UK grocery market!".

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of the group A Plastic Planet, which is working with the supermarket, said: "In just 10 weeks the store has removed plastic packaging from more than 1,500 products, finally giving their customers the choice they want."

In New Zealand, a group of New World supermarkets have abandoned the use of plastic wrapping for virtually all fruit and vegetables in a project labelled 'food in the nude'. According to The New Zealand Herald, sales of some vegetables have soared by up to 300%.

Do you need an insight report, presentation or workshop on global trends and innovations in retail?

Toby Pickard, Head of Insight – Innovation and Futures

I head up IGD’s insights research on innovations and futures, and analyse the impact they could have on retailers, suppliers and shoppers. I regularly work with leading retailers and manufacturers to create content and insights focusing on the future of retail.

Please contact me: [email protected]

Toby Pickard

Toby Pickard

Head of Insight – Innovation and Futures

Global retail trends 2019

What’s shaping the global retail market over the next 12 months and beyond?

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In addition to expanding its Home Chef meal kits range to 500 additional stores, Kroger is also enabling shoppers to customise their kits online.

Range available in 700 locations

Kroger introduced the Home Chef range of meal kits into its stores last October following its acquisition of the company. Although the retailer had developed its own range, Prep & Pared, in-house, the acquisition enabled it to accelerate its progress in this area. Home Chef is operated as a subsidiary of the second largest grocery chain in the US and continues to offer a subscription-based delivery service. The expansion of the offer to these additional stores will take the deployment to 700 locations.

While most meal kit companies started as online-only services, most of the major brands have migrated into the in-store environment. For many customers, this is a more convenient option, rather than having a regular subscription. Several retailers are building a multi-channel offer for meal kits. 

Testing the offer in 65 Walgreens locations

Recently, Kroger introduced the newly developed Home Chef Express range into 65 Walgreens locations in Chicago. This provides the business with a volume benefit and an opportunity to test the offer in urban locations. Kroger is also currently piloting Kroger Express food departments with 13 Walgreens stores as part of a broader strategic partnership with the drugstore operator.

Source: Kroger 

Customisation will provide more choice

Home Chef is also introducing the ability to customise meal kits for home delivery. Through its website, using the ‘Customize It’ feature, customers can swap, double, or upgrade ingredients within several of the kits. Home Chef is the first major meal kit to offer this functionality. While it may impact operational productivity, it will enable customers to have a wider variety of choices, tackling one of the key challenges within the segment. Home Chef could also use insights from this programme to refine its meal kit offer. 

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