Strengthen Your Brand and Draw Customers to Your Store
As Millennial and Generation Z customers become powerful drivers of consumer spending, it’s unsurprising that their tastes and preferences differ from past generations. This is quite evident in the grocery space, and grocery store managers and owners must adapt their business practices to keep up with the current trends in the sector and satisfy customer demands. The good news for store managers is that there’s room for growth despite these changes in customer preferences, and these changes offer store managers the opportunity to reorient their business processes with performance, flexibility and sustainability in mind.
Grocery Stores as a Destination
Consumer tastes are changing such that grocery stores, to stay relevant, have begun offering more than just produce, meat and packaged foods. Now prepared food sections, as well as made-to-order cafés, are growing in popularity and reshaping the grocery store as a destination rather than as a place where customers quickly shop once or twice per week. This shift presents several operational challenges to store managers, but also offers a bright opportunity to create a brand that resonates with customers to ensure their return for groceries as well as for prepared meals.
Store managers are challenged to create or strengthen their store’s brand and ensure that its message resonates with the local community to facilitate what appears to customers as a customized grocery shopping experience. One simple and cost-effective way for store managers to control their brand’s messaging is by using napkins with custom-printed messages in dispensers in the prepared food section. Social media is also a simple and powerful tool that store managers can use to promote their brand, advertise weekly promotions and support community events.
Increased Emphasis on Food Safety
More floor space devoted to prepared foods and cafés in grocery stores presents a new challenge for store managers to overcome. Food safety practices have always been important in traditional areas such as the deli or butcher shop, but now store managers must train staff on restaurant-style food safety practices to ensure that associates follow food-handling practices in back-of-house and front-of-house operations. These new services place an increased emphasis on the need for disposable food-grade wipers that don’t leave behind lint and that inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Good hygiene is good for business, and it is a great point to highlight when promoting the store’s brand.
Greater Focus on Sustainability
A store’s environmental footprint is of increasing importance to customers, and they expect stores to carry sustainable product lines. Store managers can pursue zero-waste and composting initiatives to ensure that their stores are part of the circular economy. Sustainability improvements, goals or measures are positive points store managers can highlight when promoting the store’s brand.
Despite the customer-driven changes in the sector, there’s room for profitability and growth as store managers carve a space in this new market. However, these trends put more pressure on store managers and store owners to create and maintain a strong brand to attract and retain younger customers. Staying ahead of these trends can help lead store managers and store owners to successfully navigate this new marketplace.