(Editors' Note: This is part three of a five-part series.)
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As they face increased competition from such contenders as a certain online behemoth and two well-publicized deep discounters of German origin that are expanding their respective reaches in the United States, with more locations offering a typical combination of bargain prices and signature private label items, traditional grocers’ need to differentiate becomes more crucial than ever in the quest to attract — and keep — customers.
Still, a renewed focus on the fundamentals may be just the key to edging out their retail rivals.
When asked which department was the most influential in driving their overall brand/ image/point of differentiation, 33 percent of respondents to the 2019 Annual Report survey chose meat, which was a top choice last year, but at just 21 percent, indicating that grocers are doubling down on the tried and true when positioning themselves to stand apart from the retail pack.
Most successful at driving traffic was meat, back on top with 63.3 percent, after again falling to third last year, behind produce and deli/prepared foods, which this year came in second, at 58.3 percent, and third, at 40 percent, respectively.
Fourth was beer/wine/liquor, where applicable, at 38.3 percent, rising from eighth place in 2018 and dislodging checklanes/front end, which plummeted to No. 12 this year, while center store was fifth with 30 percent, replacing organic, which fell to the eighth spot.