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Sainsbury’s uses digital and data to deliver a new generation of convenience stores

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Sainsbury’s has brought data and analytics to bear in designing its new digital-driven convenience store format. The first On the Go shop has just opened in London’s Square Mile.

The supermarket group says that it has used data to tailor the range it sells in the Mansion House Local 2,200 sq shop, where almost 90% of products available have been chosen specifically to meet the needs of local customers – from fresh food and flowers through to Tony’s Chocolonely to Leon Grocery products.

Shoppers can use a number of digital services in store, from paying through the SmartShop mobile app and fast exit checkout, to picking up Argos and Tu online orders. The contents of a ‘grab and go’ station at the front of the station will be changed three times a day, offering food for breakfast, lunch at afternoon tea as the day progresses. 

The store features an in-store pizza oven, bakery, Sushi Gourmet concessions and hot porridge and drinks from a self-service coffee machine and orange juicer. Customers can, for the first time, opt to eat in at perch tables at the front of the shop. 

Graham Biggart, Sainsbury’s director of commercial operations, said: “Convenience is a growing part of our business and we have greater capability than ever to truly tailor Local stores to local needs – across our products, formats, services and operations. Our new On the Go Mansion House Local is a great example, bringing a new kind of convenience to busy local workers with limited time, and delivering the curated range and fast experience that will enable them to get exactly what they want, at pace.”

Donna Emerton, manager of the Mansion House store, said: “By focusing on fresh ‘On the go’ food and drink and making it even easier for customers to shop quickly and conveniently, we’re well-placed to bring busy city workers everything they need under one roof.”

Sainsbury’s cites IGD figures suggesting the food-to-go market will be worth £23.4bn by 2024, having grown by 26.4% from £18.5bn in 2019. It says that this redesign of its stores – nine more On the Go stores are to open in Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow and London in coming months – with 130 Sainsbury’s Local shops in urban areas having the potential to be converted in the future. The new format comes soon after the launch of Sainsbury’s neighbourhood convenience stores that cater to those living in residential areas.

Sainsbury’s says that its convenience stores have outperformed the market over the last five years, in terms of trading intensity, with about 9m customers visiting Sainsbury’s Local stores every week. By the end of this financial year in March, Sainsbury’s says it will have invested significantly in improving 200 of its 807 convenience stores, with more upgrades and investments to come. 

Commenting, Elliott Jacobs, EMEA commerce consulting director at LiveArea, said: “Sainsbury’s new store is another step towards hyper personalised shopping experience. Today’s consumers demand their individual expectations are met. The big four, however, have traditionally taken a one-size fits all approach to experience. The Sainsbury’s ‘concept’ store shows an understanding that this isn’t optimal, and that they need to design, update and tailor stores based on all the data pull.

“Selling sushi or oat milk in some stores and not others is no longer enough. If Sainsbury’s is to compete with low-cost options, Lidl and Aldi, they need to own a niche, the convenient food-to-go. As that market continues to grow, expect Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s to look to upgrade local stores and tailor the range of food and merchandise it consumers.”

Sainsbury’s is a Leading retailer in RXUK Top500 research.

Image courtesy of Sainsbury’s 

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