The grocery industry can be a lucrative one, if you properly analyze your target market, assess the needs of your locality, and understand the difference between a grocery store, supermarket, and hypermarket. While your future customers might use these terms interchangeably, industry experts offer more specific guidelines about different types of food merchandisers. It’s not just about the difference between a grocery store or supermarket, however, it’s also about answering the question: what’s the difference between supermarket and superstore?
Grocery Store Elements
Although consumers believe that there’s no distinction between a grocery store or supermarket, the industry disagrees. A grocery store is an establishment that exclusively sells food and drink items to patrons. It’s designed to satisfy a customer’s basic needs for dry food, canned food, spices, fruits, and vegetables. The grocery store concept in the U.S. dates back to the 1940s in middle-class neighborhoods where the only place that locals could buy food was that corner store. In many of these old-time grocery stores, customers would give the proprietor a list, and the store hands would pack the items and bring them to the customer. Today, many basic grocery stores still offer a variety of food and drink for their customers, but may lack some more refined options such as vegan or gluten-free options.
Modern Supermarket Elements
When comparing a grocery store or supermarket, it’s important to understand that supermarkets evolved from grocery stores as customers became more mobile and were no longer confined to their local area. As consumer tastes in the U.S. evolved after World War II, entrepreneurs created supermarkets to cater to these wants and needs. Supermarkets began offering fresh poultry, fresh meat, baby goods, pet supplies, appliances, and medicine. Most supermarkets feature multiple aisles that are grouped with similar items labeled with individual prices.
Modern Hypermarket Elements
Hypermarkets are the answer to the question of what’s the difference between supermarket and superstore. Hypermarkets are another name for superstores, and they are a combination of a supermarket and a department store. Customers can buy food, clothing, hardware, and electronic devices at hypermarkets because they specialize in carrying a full range of merchandise to satisfy every want and need. Target is an example of a hypermarket because it offers a variety of food products, clothing, electronics, books, toys, and even furniture. Hypermarkets focus on providing bulk items at steeply discounted rates. Costco is another popular example of a hypermarket.
Grocery Store, Supermarket, and Hypermarket Differences
Having explained what’s the difference between supermarket and superstore, it’s important to differentiate grocery stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets. When it comes to inventory, grocery stores order based on demand, whereas supermarkets and hypermarkets order inventory in bulk to ensure that they are always overstocked. In terms of size, grocery stores tend to be small and contained, and typically don’t offer much beyond food and drink. When it comes to supermarket vs. hypermarket, the main difference is that a hypermarket is a supermarket that also offers big-ticket items such as appliances, and is also much bigger. Supermarkets are large, hypermarkets are massive. In fact, size isn’t just relevant in the supermarket vs. hypermarket discussion, it’s also important when making comparisons to grocery stores because hypermarkets are typically three to four times larger than grocery stores. Another difference is that supermarkets and hypermarkets are typically part of a large chain, and as a result profit margins tend to be lower because of low prices. Grocery stores are typically independent and tend to have higher prices since they do less of a volume business. One final distinction in the supermarket vs. hypermarket discussion is décor. Many hypermarkets, such as Costco, resemble large warehouses that are impersonal. Supermarkets, on the other hand, are typically decorated to be warm and inviting, so they can attract more customers.