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Design Trends: Destination Supermarkets

Author: Stephanie A. Heher
Date: 2008
Program: Master of Science in Interior Architecture, Chatham University

Conventional supermarket retailers determined to not only survive but to succeed in today’s competitive market are spending considerable amounts of money to create exciting store atmospheres and enticing destinations that boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. The purpose of this study was to research and analyze the effectiveness of the design elements and features often used or employed by traditional grocery retailers to create destination-shopping environments. An abundance of research exists relating to consumer behavior and the creation of retail environments in general; however, little academic research exists relating to grocery retail and specifically the conventional supermarket setting.

Empirical research was conducted through two survey instruments. One survey was geared to architects and designers experienced in creating destination-shopping environments for the grocery retail industry and the other survey instrument was directed to consumers, i.e. those individuals who have an opportunity to shop in destination-shopping environments in the grocery retail industry.

The results of the study suggest that the design elements and features used to create exciting, enticing, and educational destination-shopping environments are often noticed, yet the factors that make consumers loyal to a specific grocery retailer and/or store location often lie outside the realm of store design.

Because supermarket design is a tremendously complex and costly proposition, further research on design trends and the specifics with regard to the elements and features that impact consumer behavior should be studied. This study lays the foundation for further research that could provide insight into destination-shopping environments or other trends in the grocery retail industry.