Look closely at the changing retail landscape.
Gen Z-ers are not content shopping in a store simply because it’s where
their parents shopped – they seek more from their retail choices. And
it’s not just younger folk who are taking advantage of digital options.
In fact, the Covid period has brought about a unique acceleration in
online grocery retailing, with some stores getting over 50% of their
trade online at the height of the pandemic.
In an attempt to secure greater competitive advantage, we’re seeing
mergers and acquisitions of the regional players – Food Lion’s
acquisition of 62 Bi-Lo and Harveys stores from South Eastern Grocers,
to the newly announced merger of Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops
It‘s clear regional grocers can no longer rest on their laurels and rely on
being their customers’ closest (or even only) store in order to guarantee
their trade. More than ever, they need to cater to shoppers’ most
nuanced preferences if they want to become the destination of choice.
Define what you stand for – the simpler the better.
As the saying goes, it’s better to be great at one thing than mediocre
at many. That’s not to say there aren’t numerous levers for a grocer to
monitor – product, price, service etc. – but it can only realistically make
a significant impact on the customer on a small number of these.
Trying to stand out in too many ways will likely result in spreading
itself thin and go unnoticed by the customer, and it will create
headaches for team members who are pulled in too many directions.
Retailers who embed their points of difference throughout the entire
business – via well-defined vision and mission statements, strategies, personal objectives and so on – have the greatest chance of bringing
these differences to life. Effective execution is crucial, and businesses
shouldn’t lull themselves into thinking that just because they say they
stand for something, that it automatically means they are delivering
on that promise to the customer.
This leads us on to brand positioning, which is more important than
ever. Without marketing, merchandising and store operations working
effectively together to ensure it genuinely translates into an authentic
shopping experience, the customer will ultimately shop elsewhere, as
they align themselves with grocery brands that suit their own values.