When you are a regional grocer these days, the landscape is tough. You have to worry about supply chain issues, big box stores, other local competition, and the growing giant competitor out there, Amazon. It feels like Amazon is putting its hand into every single category. It can be frustrating and appear insurmountable. Don’t worry, though. Many Regional and Independent Grocers are thriving by using the following strategies to grow, even in the middle of the most hectic of times.
1. Offering omnichannel solutions.
You have to meet consumers where they are, at any given time. Your website and other digital offerings should match what your in-store experience is. That means have the same products available and have them easily searchable on your digital offerings. Many customers will search online prior to shopping in store, and on the other side, when customers discover products on shelf, they may be more inclined to make their repeat purchases online. This makes it so important to have a seamless transition between your in-store and online offerings. You need to make the search easy. If I am searching for gluten-free or Paleo-friendly items, that needs to be easily searchable throughout your digital offering because it is easy on Amazon. Highlighting these sought-after attributes utilizing SPINS Product Intelligence can be the difference between retaining customers and losing them. This will also allow you to collect data on what types of products your customers are searching for, allowing you to bring in the products that your customers are looking for. More on that next!
2. Revealing trends and innovating utilizing data to see what is trending online.
Take the guess work out of your product assortment and make data-driven decisions. This isn’t a luxury; it’s table stakes in our new normal. Data can show you what is and isn’t selling, signaling emerging trends. Layering on Product Intelligence will let you know the why behind the trend as well. In today’s omnichannel world, you want as much information as possible to understand what’s driving trends in each category. Looking at growth at the attribute level allows you to understand the nuances happening across categories. Ingredients, certifications, allergens, and product forms influence how and why shoppers choose certain products. That’s why SPINS Product Intelligence maps raw product data against its attribute database.
Looking at a vitamins and minerals example, growth at the category level is good information to have but it doesn’t explain what’s happening when shoppers are standing in store aisles or have their finger hovering over the Buy Now button. If ready-to-drink proteins are driving a large percentage of category growth, then you can make an educated guess of shopper priorities: convenience and high-protein diets. Compare that to high-carb products or protein powders to validate your theories. That’s the kind of analysis you can begin when you have an omnichannel view. This brings us to…
3. Bringing in innovative brands and products.
Trends and innovations often happen first online, as there is a lower barrier of entry than getting into stores due to the limitless room on the Amazon shelf. By seeing the new brands trending on Amazon, you can have an early look as to what brands you should seek out and use to replace the poor performing brands in your store. It is critical to get these brands in to differentiate yourself from mass and big box competitors, ensuring that your customers continue to identify you with their individual pursuit of wellness.
4. Bringing Amazon into your view
Amazon’s reach into the retail space cannot be overstated, and no Retailer of any size can afford to ignore it. Whether you are a brick-and-mortar storefront, digital outlet, or both, you need to understand what’s happening on Amazon with market measurement data.
For example, vitamins and supplements (VMS) have gained popularity over the last two years as more shoppers focused on their wellness and looked for accessible ways to stay healthy during the pandemic. SPINS Omni-Intelligence finds that shoppers are increasingly turning to Amazon to purchase vitamins and supplements—and they’re not always shopping the way they do in person. Consider how vitamins and supplements focused on hydration were up 232% in brick-and-mortar stores but up 68% on Amazon, according to data from the SPINS Natural Enhanced Channel and MULO channel powered by IRI and Amazon ClearCut. Yet, we’re seeing ready-to-drink proteins up 57% on Amazon and only up 18% in brick-and-mortar. If you’re only looking at one or the other, you’re missing half the story. These kinds of insight can help you build your category strategy. WF