Tesco, the UK’s largest grocery chain, is really extending the idea of the supermarket.
The grocer is piloting an initiative to integrate a 3,800 square foot flexible workspace into a store in the New Malden, South London area, in partnership with space operator IWG office, according to a report by The Guardian. Additionally, the space will be on the upper mezzanine of the store and will include 30 coworking spaces, 12 OpenDesks (a more private option) and a meeting room, according to The Independent.
“We are delighted to be working with IWG to offer customers the option of working more flexibly from their local Tesco,” Louise Goodland, head of strategic partnerships at Tesco, said in a statement. “We’re always looking to better serve our customers and our communities, and we’ll be interested to see how they respond to this new opportunity.”
This work area would take up space that was once occupied by items that consumers no longer buy in physical stores – music and videos, for example, and electrical items. It’s not yet known if future such spaces are planned, although The Guardian reported that it’s “likely” that, if the location proves popular, the companies will expand their partnership.
“People don’t want to spend hours commuting every day and instead want to live and work in their local communities,” said IWG’s Founder and CEO. Mark Dixon said in a statement. “A Tesco Extra in a suburb, in the middle of a vibrant local community, is the perfect location for flexible office space.”
The news comes as, on every continent, grocers are leveraging their position to expand into other non-food categories. These businesses are in a unique position among retailers to bring in customers on a regular basis, often several times a week, given that food is a daily need.
By testing new offerings targeting other aspects of shoppers’ daily routines, these supermarkets can build closer relationships with their customers. PYMNTS research found that businesses that connect with consumers across multiple pillars of the connected economy – how they work, pay and get paid, shop, eat, bank, travel and play, connect with others, stay well and live – have the edge in today’s competitive market.
Read more: How consumers live in the connected economy
Take, for example, the Hy-Vee supermarket chain, which operates more than 280 stores in the Midwest. The grocer announced in September that it was partnering with exercise equipment brand Johnson Fitness & Wellness to offer fitness showrooms in select stores, where shoppers can try treadmills, ellipticals , stationary bikes and other equipment.
See more : Hy-Vee launches fitness showrooms
That same month, Texas-based supermarket chain HEB, which operates hundreds of stores in Texas and Mexico, announced its partnership with retailer James Avery Artisan Jewelry to integrate jewelry stores into its stores.
Read more: HEB joins the Store-in-a-Store trend with a new partnership with a jewelry store
With initiatives like these, grocers extend their relationship with their customers beyond their simple food purchases, becoming an integral part of customers’ lives.