Can you measure business success by your ability to adapt? Yes, and 2020 has been proof of that. Many independents had to change their original strategies to deal with nationwide events, including a pandemic. As we approach the end of the year, this is the time to think about closing 2020 strong while setting the stage for a successful 2021. If you don’t know where to start, start here:
We’ve identified 6 areas independents need to focus on and invest their time and resources next year.
1. Keep customer needs in front of mind
Customers’ needs change as time moves on. It’s critical to keep in touch and ensure their pain points are being addressed quickly, consistently, and efficiently.
2. Pivoting categories, redesigning store layouts
It’s a good time for stores to offer up their own brands as alternatives to customers. Do the shelves or the fridges need an update? This might be a good time to reinvest in updating your store.
3. Redefine curbside pickup
Independent retailers have been improvising new ways to deliver food to customers when the pandemic started. There may have been programs in place before, but now is the time to improve the customer experience. Mobile apps, tracking customer arrival time to minimize the waiting times, and designated areas for easy access when customers arrive are just a few innovations to streamline the customer experience.
4. Autonomous deliveries and fulfillment
The integration of technology in the long term is among the key factors driving retailers’ ability to stay competitive, especially during times of uncertainty. Autonomous grocery delivery, innovative self-checkout methods are just a few technologies helping to modernize customers' experience.
5. Invest in both online, offline promotional strategies
Mobile marketing, search engine optimization, social media campaigns, and barcode-activated rewards are among several effective digital mediums to reach new audiences. Offline marketing, like direct mail, advertising circulars, and in-store visual advertising, is still important to incorporate and is particularly useful for independent grocers.
6. Upgrade the in-store experience
Features like contactless payment and automatic replenishment of in-store items create a memorable experience for customers. It’s that feeling and experience made through an unforgettable first impression that keeps customers coming back.
By operating from a customer-centric perspective, retailers need to consider ways to creatively reinvent the buying experience to ensure customers feel safe while shopping in stores and finding new ways to limit person-to-person contact.
“We found that the businesses who reinvested into their stores and e-commerce in 2019 happened to be ahead of the game in 2020. Actually, some retailers came out the strongest because of it,” said Gary Bickmore, Chief Strategy Officer at FMS Solutions. “We encourage grocers to focus on implementing strategies that offer alternative buying options. Consequently, allowing most vulnerable customers to easily shop and purchase items virtually with limited contact pick up or delivery while investing in new ways to enhance the in-store buying experience in the new COVID era."
Since 1974, FMS Solutions has been developing solutions for companies to use today's business activities to drive tomorrow's decisions for the best outcomes positioning them as leaders in navigating the challenging business environment faced during these unprecedented times.