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The grocery battle: traditional stores or click and collect online grocers

(BUSINESS NEWS) Traditional grocers stand a chance if they can figure out two of customer’s biggest wishes.

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Grocery store representing supply chain issues.

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.

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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.

#ClickAndCollect

Helen Irias is a Staff Writer at The American Genius with a degree in English Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara. She works in marketing in Silicon Valley and hopes to one day publish a comically self-deprecating memoir that people bring up at dinner parties to make themselves sound interesting.

Business News

Proven, clear-cut strategies to keep your company’s operations lean

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.

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keeping operations lean

The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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Business News

A well-crafted rejection email will save both your brand and your time

(BUSINESS) Job hunting is exhausting on both sides, and rejection sucks, but crafting a genuine, helpful rejection email can help ease the process for everyone.

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Woman sitting at computer with fingers steepled, awaiting a rejection email or any response from HR at all.

Nobody likes to hear “no” for an answer when applying for jobs. But even fewer people like to be left in the dark, wondering what happened.

On the employer side, taking on a new hire is a time-consuming process. And like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get when you put out ads for a position. So once you find the right person for the role, it’s tempting to move along without further ado.

Benn Rosales, the CEO and co-founder of American Genius, offers an example of why that is a very bad call.

Imagine a hypothetical candidate for a job opening at Coca Cola – someone who’s particularly interested in the job, because they grew up as a big Coke fan. If they get no response to their application at all, despite being qualified and sending follow-up emails, their personal opinion of the brand is sure to sour.

“Do you know how much effort and dollars advertising and marketing spent to make [them] a fan over all of those years, and this is how it ends?” Rosales explains. This person has come away from their experience thinking “Bleep you, I’ll have tea.”

To avoid this issue, crafting a warm and helpful rejection email is the perfect place to start. If you need inspiration, the hiring consultants at Dover recently compiled a list of 36 top-quality rejection emails, taken from companies that know how to say “no” gracefully: Apple, Facebook, Google, NPR, and more.

Here’s a few takeaways from that list to keep in mind when constructing a rejection email of your own…

Include details about their resume to show they were duly considered. This shows candidates that their time, interests, and experience are all valued, particularly with candidates who came close to making the cut or have a lot of future promise.

Keep their information on file, and let them know this rejection only means “not right now.” That way, next time you need to make a hire, you will have a handy list of people to call who you know have an interest in working for you and relevant skills.

Provide some feedback, such as common reasons why applicants may not succeed in your particular application process.

And be nice! A lack of courtesy can ruin a person’s impression of your brand, whether they are a customer or not. Keep in mind, that impression can be blasted on social media as well. If your rejections are alienating, you’re sabotaging your business.

Any good business owner knows how much the details matter.

Incorporating an empathetic rejection process is an often-overlooked opportunity to humanize your business and build a positive relationship with your community, particularly when impersonal online applications have become the norm.

And if nothing else, this simple courtesy will prevent your inbox from filling up with circle-backs and follow-up emails once you’ve made your decision.

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Business News

Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace

(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?

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Ageism void

Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.

Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.

How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?

It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.

  1. Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
  2. Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
  3. Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.

Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.

What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?

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