The last two years have been no picnic for grocery businesses. Grocers have had to find new paths to success in the face of COVID-19, limited staffing, and erratic supply chains. Stores leaned on new technology, new services, and customer outreach to thrive in the face of these challenges.
Going forward, companies will need to double down on recent innovations and diversify to meet changing consumer expectations. Successful businesses will experiment with new ways to attract customers and revenue while continuing to manage costs via improved efficiency.
Here are some strategies to consider:
Get Creative to Find and Keep Good People
In November of 2021, there were 10.6 million job openings, but only 6.9 million people looking for jobs in the U.S. Businesses in all areas will have to run more efficiently with leaner teams for the foreseeable future. And in the grocery business where turnover can be high, it’s particularly important to attract good people and retain them. One of the best ways to keep an employee is to help them succeed quickly. Ensure they have the training and tools to do their jobs well and feel proud of their work.
Many stores are also experimenting with creative ways to engage staff. For example, people enjoy flexible work hours and the ability to manage their work-life balance. They love thoughtful perks, such as free coffee, soda, or snacks. And they appreciate management that takes an interest in them – helping with career planning, including them in some business decisions, and soliciting their opinions.
Lowering turnover cuts costs and improves efficiencies because the longer people stay, the more capable they become. Happy and loyal employees also create some of the most positive customer experiences. In a retail business like groceries, the personal touch can make or break a store.
Make Shopping Meaningful for Customers
Customers have dealt with a ton of turmoil in the last several months. They’re ready for shopping to get easier and more fun. Grocers can meet their expectations by rethinking the buying experience, both in-store and online, and finding unexpected ways to delight consumers.
It’s important to understand what your loyal shoppers value in your store and brand. Then you can offer options that serve their needs and help you connect with them. Consider enhancing digital services, streamlining checkout, or redesigning the store with refreshing colors and signage. Open more lines of communication to share specials and offers over text, email, or social media. Or you might connect with digital brands to broaden your online selection and offer exclusive products.
You can also use media to become a partner with customers in improving their lives. Share specially selected recipes and nutrition plans online. Dedicate some store space to health and wellness education. Curate product collections by lifestyles and life events. Or feature local goods to help shoppers feel they’re supporting the community.
Innovate Ways to Simplify Purchases
With fewer employees and weary shoppers, grocers can no longer afford inefficient processes. Forward-thinking businesses are examining everything from supply chain to delivery service for ways to lower purchasing friction and keep revenue rolling in.
One tried-and-true strategy for efficiency is outsourcing some functions to partner companies. For example, you might consider working with a distribution and storage contractor to keep shelves stocked. Data analytics consultants can help predict product demand, cut inventory loss, and ensure customers find what they’re looking for. Some chains are also forming partnerships with restaurants for food delivery so customers can get their groceries and a take-out dinner with the same transaction.
Demonstrate Brand Values
Customers want to see the businesses they patronize live up to their brand values. And more and more shoppers care about whether their grocery stores make a positive impact on the community. Help patrons see that you’re living up to any promises your brand makes about supporting the local community, giving back, committing to minority-owned businesses, or showing customer appreciation.
Get Good at Managing Change
Success in 2022 means innovation and change. It’s not about having great ideas for attracting buyers; it’s about implementing them successfully. That means you need to prepare your stores to quickly deploy new procedures and train staff on new services while maintaining your brand quality standards.
That’s a tall order, but fortunately, you can lean on digital checklists to help get your stores ready for change. With digital checklists, employees easily remember and follow all the important tasks for their roles. The apps lower the probability of mistakes, help staff feel more confident, and keep managers updated with everyone’s progress throughout the day.
When you need to implement a new procedure, employees instantly access updated tasks on their mobile devices. They’re less likely to get confused about what they need to do. And if they’re struggling, managers can step in quickly. The checklists also help you refine and streamline new services because they track the amount of time it takes to complete the work. You can weed out inefficiencies as you go.
When new employees arrive, checklists help them get up to speed, become productive, and succeed in their jobs faster. They’re much less likely to leave if they experience early success, and you spend less time and money ramping them up. Plus, checklists make a great platform for team contests and bonuses that make work more fun, engaging, and rewarding.
Finally, checklists ensure you’re maintaining brand standards at every step. As you look for new and interesting ways to engage shoppers, you still need to follow through on the values that attracted them in the first place. As staff and managers complete their tasks, you know that standards of cleanliness, service, signage, and product displays are meeting shoppers’ expectations.
Enlist MeazureUp in Your March to Success for 2022
- Easily customize audits and checklists according to your priorities and brand standards.
- Ensure employees are providing the optimal customer experience with real-time status.
- Help employees succeed and build a loyal, engaged team.
- Smoothly implement procedure changes to respond to customer expectations.
- Refine workflow for optimal efficiency using checklist data analytics.
Try MeazureUp for free today and get ready to make 2022 your best year yet.