Traditional grocers can stand up to Amazon
AmazonFresh, Instacart, and Google Express have all thrived on a simple concept: why go to the store when the store can come to you? Now two grocery megabrands, Costco and Kroger, have teamed up with online delivery companies.
As online and offline experience merge, is partnering with a digital giant the only way brick-and-mortar grocery stores can survive? Social commerce solution company, Bazaarvoice, argues that good old-fashioned grocers have more power than they think, and the battle to fill shopping carts is not over.
Modern vs. forward-thinking
As customers increasingly turn to online grocery services, many grocers have jumped into digital partnerships with the panicked goal of not falling behind.
On the surface, these companies may seem ahead of the game.
Companies like Costco and Kroger are handing off their shoppers to online delivery companies based on the assumption they can’t survive on their own, even though they have billions in revenue that could be used for independent innovation. Letting delivery companies latch on is how they intend to adapt.
Not exactly symbiotic
You can’t truly adapt if you’re co-dependent on another powerful entity, and you certainly can’t thrive. Companies like Amazon and Walmart function like parasites, feeding on grocers’ hard-earned customer bases and growing ever stronger: Amazon is projected to have 26% of market share this year, and Walmart is estimated to capture 15%.
The big guy doesn’t have to win
Although they may not realize it, grocers have advantages the digital behemoths do not: physical real estate and loyal customers with established shopping habits.
These advantages, when paired with a carefully planned ecommerce solution, could make for a more powerful digital grocery system than any that exist today.
So how did Amazon and Walmart get so much control so fast? Bazaarvoice attributes their success to two key steps.
Think like your customer
Amazon and Walmart are experienced in the consumer goods space, to say the least. Both approached the online grocery frontier knowing precisely what their customers wanted and how to win them online. So what do customers want?
Reliable information: Upon entering a store, consumers are faced with thousands of options–47,000 on average, compared to less than 9000 a decade ago.
Customers not only have more choices, they have more refined preferences, too.
Customers today care about health, wellness, and sustainability, making accurate information even more crucial. How do they know what information to trust? They consult the most credible source: other customers. Reviews and forums are full of unbiased information and real experiences that customers use to make purchasing decisions.
Seamless experiences: In general, customers don’t sit at home doing extensive research before heading to the grocery store. They often don’t know what they want to know about until they’re standing in front of it: 82% of consumers look up products in-aisle before buying them.
They want information and they want it immediately.
When grocers are equipped with product information and consumer reviews, ratings, and photos on their website or mobile app, the gap between “I want to know” and “I want to buy” narrows substantially. Customers demand seamless omnichannel experiences and instant access to rich information, and will abandon a brand who cannot provide this.
Let go of tradition
Many traditional grocers are hesitant to transition into e-Commerce, arguing their average customer is a demographic that doesn’t go online. Here’s the thing: millennials are not the only ones active online. Older folks with lower incomes actually make up a large portion of online food sales.
Tradition is great, but it’s not always the most convenient.
As the world changes, consumer behaviors change accordingly, and to win them over, grocers must change their own behaviors. These days, everyone from teenage boys to soccer moms to bingo champion grandfathers expect speed and convenience at every turn.
In the grocery world, that means the ability to buy groceries online and pick them up in-store.
This is a very simple way to improve the omnichannel shopping experience, yet many grocers have not embraced it. Walmart and Amazon both offer this “click-and-collect” option because they understand that crowded aisles, long lines, and out-of-stock items piss everyone off, regardless of their demographic.
The bottom line
The power is not in the hands of the online delivery companies. Nor is it in the hands of traditional grocers.The power lies with the customer and whoever can satisfy the customer will become the industry leader.Click To Tweet
Traditional grocers need to think beyond the brick-and-mortar surrounding their goods and take responsibility for their own online presence rather than outsourcing it to some other company. The shopping industry is in flux and traditional grocers are perfectly capable of reclaiming their spot at the top. They already have the customer base, they just need to tap into its power.
This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution
(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.
The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.
Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.
There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.
Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.
Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.
Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.
“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”
For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.
Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?
The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.
As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.
And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.
Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.
How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.
“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”
Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.
Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.
Unify your remote team with these important conversations
(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.
Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.
According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.
Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.
Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.
With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.
The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.
Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.
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