Changes in store layout and the introduction of grocery collection services that help customers pick-up smaller weekly shops could separate the winners from the losers in the convenience sector, research has claimed.

The study, carried out by retail analysts IGD, warns the industry that it must keep pace with changing consumer habits that are fuelling a growing trend in more frequent shops for food and groceries rather than customers doing a larger weekly shop.

Among the ideas highlighted in the research are reducing complexity in store, operating aisles dedicated to regular top-up shops and click and collect services that allow shoppers to order online and pick-up groceries in store.

“In the future, we’re also likely to see the layout of stores, the merchandising of displays and planning of promotions all rethought with healthy eating brought to the fore,” said IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.

The research has been welcomed by retailers, who say they are seeing a definite shift in shopping habits.

Linda Williams, of Broadway Convenience Store in Edinburgh, said: “Customers are calling the tune and we’ve seen a rise in people shopping by meal rather than doing larger shops. In response, we’ve rationalised our grocery section, put in bays featuring Booker’s Mega Deals, and paid particular attention to our fresh and chilled with an emphasis on our meat and fresh grocery offering.”

Mrs Williams added that the store is increasing its presence on Facebook and Twitter to build an “online critical mass” which could see it offer collect services in the future.

“The winners will be those that embrace shopper power, reset standards and redefine concepts putting shoppers first,” added Ms Denney-Finch.