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One big change the on-going lockdown has brought about is that more people are shopping for groceries online. People who were habituated with store shopping for groceries suddenly are forced to consider the online shopping option because of lockdown and to limit going outdoors.
Since groceries are essential, people have no other option but to continue making this routine purchase despite the lockdown restrictions. In India, even though grocery stores were allowed to remain open under stipulations, online grocery shopping has witnessed a tremendous spike. This also resulted in a proportionate rise in demand for home delivery services.
With this, grocery stores and supermarkets have a big gap to fulfil – add home delivery services.
Grocery shopping is going online and many big online grocery retailing firms with deep pockets are intensifying their efforts in this direction. However, these big firms are operating only in selected cities and particularly, the metropolitan cities. Secondly, understand that if you are a grocery retailer, then you have a distinct advantage over the big online players in the form of trust and confidence of the local customer base.
In this post, we shall try to highlight how home delivery service can help grocery stores increase their business and generate more revenue.
Enhance Customer Experience
In the post-lockdown world, customers will prioritize distancing and avoiding crowded places like grocery stores or departmental stores. The safety precautions put in place by these stores will increase the time taken to complete the shopping. Other existing reasons like standing in long queues for checkouts and traffic menace will continue to remain as deterrents. If you can provide a home delivery service, then you will save your customers from all these hassles and enhance customer experience. This will further aid in developing customer loyalty as people normally would not prefer to shift from a brand that is providing a better and convenient shopping experience.
With a push to digital transactions brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, you can provide online payment options to your customers to make their shopping further convenient and contact-free.
Serve the Society Especially the old, sick, or the Disabled People
According to a United Nations report, the number of people aged above 60 years is expected to double by 2050. Furthermore, in the on-going COVID-19 crisis and lockdown situation, home delivery of essentials like groceries and medicines will come as a big relief to the old, sick, or the disabled people. This is not about business but is a common responsibility for all. And for a grocery or any other essentials store, it is an opportunity to serve the less-privileged sections of the society.
However, businessmen also need to ensure their safety as well as that of their employees in the store as well as while carrying out the home delivery services.
Home-makers can Invest Quality Time into other Activities
With home delivery services, the homemakers can save a lot of time that they normally spend shopping for groceries. This will have a huge impact on their daily lives as they will be able to invest more time into other activities. Maybe they can pursue that foregone hobby or they can spend more time with their children.
Homemakers constitute a huge market segment. Once a value relevant to them is created and delivered it can solidify the existing customer base for an enterprise and also attract new customers for it. And also, grocers need to always bear in mind that in the purchase of groceries, the homemakers are the real decision-makers. They decide which groceries to purchase and from where. By providing value to them in the form of home delivery service, grocery stores can improve their business and revenues.
In planning for initiating home delivery service, grocery stores need to take into consideration the following:
Relevant Business Technology
Let us understand the importance of business-technology with the help of a hypothetical example of two shopkeepers A and B who adopt different approaches.
Shopkeeper A starts home delivery service by telling his customers that they can call him and place their orders. He soon finds out that the model is not working. Why? Firstly, calling to place bulk orders can be awkward, time-consuming, and prone to misunderstandings. Secondly, the number of orders will be limited to the number of business phone numbers. This can be further limited when there are network issues. This also means more staff will be required to take more orders. Thirdly, grocers will not have the opportunity to showcase his merchandise.
Without the aid of technology, even the delivery process will be manual for shopkeeper A. The delivery staff will have to rely on paper/slip/notes containing the bill, the address to be delivered, phone number, etc. This is how it has worked traditionally for many conventional grocery stores. But with the availability of technologies for business, conventional ways of working have become out-dated in many ways.
On the other hand, shopkeeper B invests in IT systems and builds an integrated platform for customers and backend order management and order fulfilment.
The model worked great for his business. Any number of customers can place any number of orders at any time of the day in a matter of minutes. It eliminates the chances of errors in order placing. No extra staff is now required for taking orders. Also, within the mobile app, customers can view the entire range of merchandise providing an opportunity of upselling and cross-selling.
Once an order is ready for delivery in the store, the details are updated in the platform to be further used by the logistics team for carrying out the home delivery.
By investing in creating a business-technology platform, grocery stores can ensure that their business operations are efficient, effective, and accurate.
SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
Irrespective of the size and scale of business, SOPs are for everyone.
With SOPs in place, the employees of a grocery store will know what to do once an order is triggered, the allotted time frame, the expected output, who will be the next to carry the process further, and so on. From order acknowledgement to delivery, every activity will be laid down in a step-by-step manner.
Moving into the future of brick and mortar grocery business, home delivery service will be an inseparable component of any grocery store business plan. Whether in-house or with the help of retail grocery consultants, grocery businesses will have to figure out how to enhance value to customers.