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The Return of the Independent Grocer: Top Tips to Help Your Small Business Succeed



Tips Small Business Succeed

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Local grocery stores are making a huge comeback, especially in dense city centers where the big box stores just don’t have a presence. The key to success is to understand your local market. Those in a lower-income area need to be all about value, while those in a mixed or upper-income area can offer high-quality features like all-organic products.

Regardless, the independent grocer is seeing a huge comeback. This is particularly true with the rising interest in the 15-minute city. In this model, all essentials like grocery stores, doctors, pharmacists, and so on will be within a 15-minute bike ride at most. The goal is to offer all the essentials nearby, so that the only reason to take your car and drive out further is for work or pleasure. Spending less time in the car doing errands means more time, energy, and a better relationship with your community. As a result, locals everywhere can start supporting their local small businesses, and that community can start thriving.

If you want to position your local grocery business in this brave new world, are looking for a unique way to draw in new customers, or are just sourcing ideas before launching your own new local grocery business, then this guide of ideas is for you. There are so many ways to help your small business succeed, so pick and choose from this ultimate list:

Offer a Bulk Food Section

Bulk foods used to be the name of the game. You would go and buy what you wanted buy weight, and then use those raw ingredients in a variety of recipes. A great way to attract customers (both those interested in organic, sustainable shopping and those on a budget) is to offer a bulk foods section. Offering dry essentials like flour and sugar, as well as exciting bulk spices from around the world, is one of the easiest ways to make your business stand out.

You can even upsell. Have a small section of pre-weighed containers for sale next to your bulk food section. To make things fair, you should also offer more budget-friendly options. Have high-quality, air-tight glass containers for sale at a premium, soft bags at a middle price-point, and even donated (and cleaned) containers for free. Doing this appeals to shoppers at all price points, and makes it easier to make bulk buys even when splurging.

Work with Local Producers

One of the best things a local business can do is support other local businesses. Partner with local farms and producers in your state or country and stock a range of unique items that people cannot find anywhere else. You won’t be able to offer the full range of popular options like a box store can, so go the opposite direction. Offer one or two big brand options and then local goodies from a range of suppliers.

Working with local producers will be of particular importance when it comes to fresh ingredients. Fresh fruit and veg from a local supplier is a huge hit for customers at all price points.

Offer a Fresh Baked Goods Section

Want an easy, fast way to bulk up your purchases? Have a café up near the front. Having a small coffee and tea offering, as well as freshly baked goods and sandwiches, can do wonders to helping your business thrive. Why? Because it appeals to working professionals. If you can, try to add an open window outside your grocery. This can skyrocket your sales if you’re near a busy street or close to a thriving station. With a window you can offer services right there on the street, which can help those in a rush get their breakfast and coffee on the go. You can expect a huge influx of sales in the morning and at lunch. If you use those sandwiches and other fresh ingredients to advertise the more local (and higher priced items) in your store, you can encourage more people to shop because they know how good your products are.

Offer Local Delivery

Local delivery is a powerful way to boost sales. To offer this, however, know you won’t be picking items off of the shelves. Instead, you’ll need a selection in the back specifically for online orders. This way you don’t have to raid your own shop floor in order to satisfy your digital customer base. Not only that, but you can also pack faster and more efficiently.

It’s a good idea to only offer a small fraction of what you offer in-store. A good way to select what items to offer is to look at your best sellers. You’ll want to add as many of those best sellers as possible, and then look at what is considered an essential shopping order to round out your offerings.

Then, you’ll want to sign up online. A good way to do this quickly is to sign up for programs like Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and so on. Small grocery stores have increasingly signed up, and with great results. If your online presence gets big enough, you may consider organizing your delivery service to keep all the costs and profits in-house.

Plan Events to Get People in the Door

Another great way to increase sales and thrive as a small local business is to plan events that get more and more people in. This can be a particularly useful tip if you have a product you think people will love but isn’t selling that well. Say you have a new ingredient. You can host a cooking workshop or demonstration in your store and advertise it around your community. Free food and a free cooking lesson is a great draw if you have the room to do this. Then, you can use that demo to showcase how you use this new or exciting ingredient. Offer your attendees free samples, and have the product in question right up near the front so people can buy it if they want.

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