When we think of independent grocers, we think of high quality, local goods, friendly staff, and great service. Independently owned businesses are important to our communities and can help contribute to the cultures of the areas they serve. But given their tight operating margins and the looming threats of e-commerce, competition is tough.
To stay competitive, independent grocers need to ensure they’re taking the proper steps to grow their businesses while still keeping their neighborhood feel. Here are 4 ways independent grocers can compete against larger competitors and retain and attract customers.
1. Help your customers engage with their food.
Today’s consumers want to know everything about the food they eat, especially if they’re paying top dollar for organic produce. Independent grocers can take small, simple steps to engage consumers at the shelf -- from clearly labeling produce, to providing farm bios, to setting up sample days to spotlight local farms.
2. Set yourself apart as the most trusted retailer.
Food safety is a rising concern amongst consumers, and it’s more critical than ever that buyers and suppliers are as transparent and communicative as possible. Independent grocers can implement traceability practices through technologies like iTracefresh, a traceability product which allows consumers to scan produce in store, and trace their commodity back through the supply chain, to the date and location of harvest. This gives independent grocers more visibility into their supply chain, and enables them to react quickly and cost-effectively in the case of a food safety issue.
3. Get involved in the community. Sponsor a baseball team. Host events.
Marketing and advertising campaigns can be expensive and time consuming. One of the best ways to increase brand recognition amongst local shoppers is through sponsoring local events, teams, and charities. Supporting local businesses, organizations, and events shows your consumers your core values of philanthropy, community, and connection, which will keep them coming back to your stores.
4. Spend less time dealing with order management and more time focusing on your core business.
For independent grocers, stock keeping, inventory management, and order management can seem like chores compared to other aspects of the business. Combine that with food preparation, hiring and employee management, accounting, and maintenance, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. With a streamlined order management system like iTradeOrder, ambitious mid-market retailers can access an industry leading trading platform 6,000+ companies strong all while simplifying their procurement processes. With a mobile native app, event driven notifications, and real time collaboration, retailers can manage orders from their phones and get back to managing their core businesses.