The Next Wave of Optimization: Perimeter Grocery Shopping Experiences



Apr 24, 2024

Discover how you can optimize your perimeter grocery shopping experiences with software that connects your departments and delights your consumers. 

Simple, powerful, and digital: The future of perimeter grocery

As the grocery landscape evolves, retailers nationwide are turning to technology to give them a boost ahead of the competition. From retail media networks to digital storefronts, online grocery has never been more robust — and in-store grocery has never been more innovative.

However, this industry pivot can cause some grocers to feel overwhelmed. What technology should they adopt for their stores? How can they differentiate themselves in this changing market? Modern tech solutions can feel daunting, but intuitive software makes in-store adoption easier than ever before. In fact, software can simplify processes and lead to happier shopping experiences for consumers and staff behind the counter.

The opportunity to optimize is especially clear for one traditionally in-store experience: perimeter grocery shopping, which includes produce, bakery goods, delis, floral, and other departments typically located on the perimeter of a store. Grocers leaning into the burgeoning opportunity are finding that there’s an untapped ecosystem of services that attract consumers and streamline employee operations all at once. 

We’ve identified the following three opportunities that perimeter grocery software unlocks:

  • Improving omnichannel ordering
  • Emphasizing prepared foods
  • Unifying departments with one solution

Let’s take a closer look at these opportunities and discuss how you can harness software to enhance your perimeter grocery shopping experience


Opportunity #1: Improving omnichannel ordering 

Omnichannel shopping blends the convenience of online ordering with the customization of in-store trips — and it encourages profitability in promising new ways.

By now, grocers everywhere are familiar with strategies for reaching the omnichannel consumer. But many grocers don’t have the technological toolkit to optimize for cross-channel behaviors. Accounting for orders and offers across multiple departments — and channels — can feel like a daunting undertaking. That’s why having the right software is crucial: Grocers can take the legwork out of disparate in-store processes without missing out on the omnichannel opportunity.

Perimeter grocery shopping software can help grocers meet consumers where they are, simplify management across the board, and make every shopping experience feel seamless. Some software, for example, allows consumers to place deli orders via smart device — or smart cart — as they complete their grocery trip. Software can also reduce backend complexity by making order management more seamless. 


Opportunity #2: Emphasizing prepared foods

To sidestep rising restaurant and takeout prices, consumers are turning to grocery prepared meals for a more cost effective alternative. Grocers can lean into this opportunity and encourage consumers to opt for prepared meals by expanding perimeter options. Customized products — like holiday catering for large orders or coffee bars for daily fixes — can mirror familiar ordering processes for shoppers still on the fence.

While prepared foods create a unique opportunity for grocers to compete with restaurants and differentiate their offerings, the upfront lift can feel heavy without the right tools. Grocers might encounter several challenges when making this change. Those challenges can include weighted items being priced incorrectly; order ahead wait times dissuading customers; and inventory shrinking due to disparate management tools. 

Perimeter grocery shopping software can help eliminate these challenges by:

  • Ensuring weighted items are measured and priced correctly 
  • Streamlining order management for the same convenience of restaurants
  • Mitigating shrink by accurately recording custom products

The prepared food market is a new opportunity for grocers — and with the right software, launching new services can be simple and powerful.


Opportunity #3: Unifying departments with one solution

Grocers investing in their backend technology often gain more control of their stores — and stand to streamline frontend processes for consumers, as well.

Many grocers create in-house perimeter grocery shopping software that’s attuned to their current departmental processes. While this often works in the short term, customized software can lead to long-term challenges. Adding new departments, creating new products, or changes in department personnel can all impact the effectiveness of in-house perimeter grocery software. 

An all-in-one order management system can eliminate these challenges by consolidating departments into a single view. Fulfilling orders, updating menus, and maximizing productivity are all benefits of software that unifies departments — and streamlined management can help support future scalability. 


Optimize perimeter grocery shopping with FoodStorm

If you’re ready to elevate your perimeter departments, FoodStorm by Instacart can help. As a true end-to-end order management system (OMS), FoodStorm is built for the future of grocery food service with perimeter counter solutions that delight consumers and support in-store staff. And, as the leading grocery technology company in North America, Instacart creates innovative software that’s attuned to grocers’ needs. 

Learn how FoodStorm can elevate your perimeter shopping experiences today!


If you’re interested in Instacart Platform technology for your grocery business, click the button below to submit a Retailer Inquiry form.


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Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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