Strategies for Success for Independent Grocers in 2021 and Beyond

Mark Alexander is the Director of Retail Technology C&S Wholesalers Inc., Keane, the nation’s largest grocery distributor, NH. The comments expressed here are those of the author.

The year 2020 will live on in our memories for a long time like any other tragic event in the history of our country. Many of us are eager to return to normal ways, but “normal” now has a new definition. Although the epidemic halted the growth of many service businesses, it revived many independent grocery stores, and rapidly monitored technological advances and adoptions. Some say there is supermarket technology that will deliver fast in five to 10 years.

Consumers have changed this past year. Experts say that habits can develop in 30 to 180 days, and that it takes 66 days for a habit to change automatically. This means that many of the shopping methods developed in the last few months will be the primary method of shopping for the majority of consumers. Online shopping, curbside pickup and touchless checkout are all now mandatory to be competitive based on what consumers tell us through their wallets.

Consumers are basically shopping McKinsey & Company Studies. Trips are limited, but larger baskets and lists are more important than ever. Instead of staying in the supermarket, consumers are engaged in the process of getting in and out. This pattern will slow down a bit when life returns to some normal state, but it will not return to pre-2020 shopping patterns.

Here are some strategies to help independent grocers thrive in the coming years:

Online technologies

Whether it’s e-commerce, improving your website or actively managing social media, independent grocers should be online now. From A statement Washington Post As of January 2021, the Baby Boomer Generation (including those over 65) is the fastest growing segment using grocery online shopping. Most of these develop from infection, and this group is one of the most vulnerable to COVID. Many people have loved it so much that when they tried it, they said they would not shop in bulk for most of their groceries.

A grocery website and a social media presence are an important part of the digital strategy. Independents need to make sure their online presentation is fresh and inviting. If your website is tired and old-fashioned, the idea is to supply your store. Think of your website as the porch or vestibule of your digital store. If you’re proud of getting that first look at the physics store, devote more time and resources to your digital first look.

Touchless Checkout

With concerns about social distance, there has been an increase in the use of traditional self-verification solutions and emerging scan-and-go technologies. Amazon Co has prompted several key chains to create a cashier-free update. Even before COVID, consumer tendencies were toward self-service. I know many independents are aware of their customer service, but the definition of customer service has changed. Excellent customer service is different for every consumer. Grocers should keep all their options open, but not view customer service by their definition.

Providing a member loyalty program

When we talk about loyalty marketing, we are not talking about the shotgun approach to loyalty used by the industry five or 10 years ago. That form of loyal marketing rewards consumer groups with the same rewards of spending $ 200 on group performance goals.

Today’s consumers have a lot of information and ways to shop. Customized marketing does not mean creating customized recommendations. They also mean interacting with consumers on the device (s), which are most suitable for use during the day and when they make shopping decisions.

Everyone wants to get targeted communications only for themselves or their interests. Customization also provides exceptional customer service, which affects sales and profits as happy consumers spend more. If you can provide a tight relationship with your customers, they will trust you and spend more with you.

Adopt your marketing strategies

Psychological studies show that the sense of touch (haptic) is the main argument for printed campaigns, advertising circulars and printed graphic materials. Human behavior shows that when we interact physically, we remember meeting long and deeply, rather than looking at an object online. That is not to say that digital is a passing debit by any means, but your marketing strategy should embrace all available marketing tools to achieve maximum market penetration.

Gone are the days of sending thousands of printed circulars every week. You can use your marketing dollars more wisely and reduce costs. Printed marketing, as mentioned, has even more value when used in a comprehensive marketing strategy that allows it to reach as many people as possible through both printed and digital methods.

Review store decor and layout

In all the talk about the digital world and online shopping, you would think that the store fire store would disappear. But the majority of consumers are still enjoying shopping at a p store fire store, and that may come for many years to come. As consumer habits change and continue to change, the store needs to be revitalized.

The epidemic shows that many consumers have to adapt at home and eat more. This means that some people cook too much, and most people look for ready-to-eat food solutions. The epidemic has affected self-serving food areas, which can see the biggest long-term negative impact from changing habits.

Due to the boom of online shopping, many center store sales have shifted to online. Grocers should review these items and see if space and quantity of goods are still guaranteed based on sales and profits.

With all the changes in the product mix, grocers need to reconsider their store layouts and space requirements for certain sectors – to accommodate organic and natural new consumer habits, to find space for new services, e-commerce pickup lockers, crop-and-go cases and more.

Evaluating functions

As long-distance work is new to many non-service businesses, grocers need to find ways to reach those consumers. Many will no longer be stopped by the supermarket on the way home or leave the office over lunch. As for the independent groceries, it is time to take a step back, evaluate your activities from a new perspective, be ready to change, think creatively and plan for future growth.

C&S Wholesaler Inc. Is the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the United States and is the industry leader in supply chain innovations. Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, C&S now serves customers of all sizes, providing more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and companies with more than 137,000 different products. C&S is an engaging corporate citizen who supports the causes that positively affect our communities. To learn more, please visit

Sophia Harrison

Part time worker

I'm Sophia Harrison working as a part-time staff at the Costco since the past year until I become as an author at the iron blade, hope I can use my experiences with the supermarkets here.

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