Online Orders Force Supermarkets to Rethink Their Stores

By Anonymous

New layouts, curbside pickup zones, round-the-clock restocking help retailers handle new shopping patterns

Smart & Final Inc. has made some changes lately that would seem like near-heresy for a supermarket: The California-based chain ripped out racks of snacks and other profitable impulse purchases near the doors of some stores and instead installed freezers there.

But grocery executives say the seemingly irrational move is simply one of many signs that the supermarket business is radically changing. The freezers will serve as pickup points for customers who order their groceries online and may never go any farther into the...