Are you willing to lose 1% of your business?
This one question stood out to me the most from Ignite – The Ecommerce Leadership Conference, powered by Syndigo. While brick and mortar grocery won’t be replaced by ecommerce anytime soon, grocers are currently losing at least 1% of their business to online shopping, whether it’s through Amazon, Walmart, or another competitor. In fact, a June 2019 Forbes article notes that 2% of food retail is purchased online. That number is only expected to grow as consumers become more comfortable with others selecting their fresh meat and produce.
The thought of adding an ecommerce offering at your store seems overwhelming. It takes time, effort, and money to fully implement it. It can be an uncomfortable change. But as Kate noted in her recap of the event, discomfort is what leads to innovation. Innovation can lead to exponential growth. But you don’t need exponential growth right now, you just need to understand the environment. Start asking questions about costs, data files and technology integrations. Ask your customers if they’d be interested in ordering online, you may find out that your community isn’t quite ready for it.
Beyond playing defense in an attempt to keep that 1% or more of your business, how can you grow that number into a positive for your company’s bottom line once you decide to launch an ecommerce program? You have to think like a customer in how you set up your program, in how you market to them, in how you pick and deliver their groceries. When you think like a customer, you’ll be prepared to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Ask for customer feedback through surveys and general conversations. Make improvements and changes based on their responses. When you make customers’ lives easier, they tell their friends, who then try your service for themselves.
You can also increase your online sales through online merchandising: when a customer adds pancake mix to their cart, you can ask if the customer also needs syrup. You can also use drip marketing to automatically send emails to a customer who has added items to the cart but hasn’t checked out, or send a reminder when a customer hasn’t purchased anything online in a set number of days. Sometimes a simple nudge or reminder is all the customer needs. You don’t get that opportunity in the physical store.
There’s a big opportunity pulling up to your curbside. As a grocer, you have a choice: embrace the discomfort in launching and executing a service that continues to see growth, or risk watching 1% or more of your business disappear with the click of a button.