The grocery business has been changing, and the change has been huge. From the time when grocery stores used to be small outlets to the time when it is a multi-million dollar business, today, dominated by supermarkets and online retail stores. Giants like Walmart and Amazon are dominating the grocery space. This is proving to be a major challenge for small grocery stores who are now looking for strategies to cope up with this challenge.
Grocery Stores – Changing Trends
In traditional grocery stores, customers would come with a list of items they need and the store owner would provide them with the products. When the supermarket first started, it was an innovative experience for shoppers. There was a store that had a huge assortment of products and customers could select whatever they like. They had the power of choice. Soon large companies entered the fray, and retail chains came into existence. These were big companies who would set up a chain of supermarkets. The supermarkets were well-designed with ambient décor and air-conditioning. Customers could walk through the aisles in the supermarket and choose from the thousands of products available.
Supermarket evolved into hypermarkets where apart from groceries, many other products like electronic goods, and household appliances were also available. Today the advent of online shopping has led to a significant change causing a huge impact on grocery stores. There are now a vast number of online shopping portals where customers can buy groceries from the comfort of their homes. They can buy the brands of their choice at the best possible prices. The products are delivered to their doorstep. This has proved to be the most convenient way of shopping.
Challenges for Grocery Stores
The growth of supermarkets caused many small grocery stores to shut down or shift to the supermarket model. But there are still many small grocery stores that are able to attract customers, thanks to the personalized service provided. But online shopping has proven to be a major challenge that stops customers from even visiting the store. If they can get everything from the comfort of their home, why would they visit a store?
What is a grocery store supposed to do then? As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. It is now time for grocery stores to go online. Instead of sitting and watching customers move to an online competitor, a grocery store can secure its online presence. This allows its customers the benefit of shopping for groceries online. This is the latest trend in online marketing known as Omnichannel retailing. This is where an offline store provides online services to ensure it provides better services to its customer and does not lose them to the online challenges.
Omnichannel for Grocery Stores
Grocery stores can choose the Omnichannel where they adopt more than one channel to reach out to customers. Instead of waiting for customers to drop in, they can adapt themselves to the online strategy and offer shopping through the internet. Grocery stores can consider developing an app to reach out to existing customers, as well as potential customers. Customers can use the app to view products available at the store and order what they like.
A question that would arise is, “Why would customers order from a grocery store instead of a retail chain?”
Customers prefer to buy fruits, vegetables, and other fresh produce on their own. A grocery store can thus offer an option where customers can order goods online and have groceries delivered to their homes, while they can visit the store to pick up the produce. When they drop into the store, they may see something they like, which increases the possibility of them making in-store purchases.
Grocery stores can make use of grocery delivery software to help track online orders. Use of technology can help them deliver products on time. Customers can also have the option of visiting the store and ordering through the app, with the goods delivered to their homes. Such innovative strategies can help them win over customers. Stores can thus change its business model to improve their business.