With growing competition in the supermarket business, growth and expansion have also become proportionately difficult. Planning a supermarket expansion project now entails a multi-dimensional approach.
Many experts from the field of supermarket business consulting, point towards market development and market penetration strategies along with robust internal operations.
This often-heard and often-discussed term just cannot get isolated any time soon. Considering the demographic changes in terms of increasing internet usage, more mobile devices, more time being spent on social media, etc., there is no reason why supermarket businesses should not be using it to gain a superlative edge over its competitors by doing it better. Not only can digital marketing be cost-effective but also a wider range of audiences can be reached.
Digital marketing is the first sign that a supermarket business might be contemplating going digital. Once businesses experience some success with digital marketing, it is hard not to consider taking the business digital.
Any good supermarket digital marketing strategy should take into account two factors – search engines and social media. Local business listing on Google could be the first step. With social media marketing, supermarket businesses can geo-target their advertisements to local audiences. Similarly, there are various elements of digital marketing which could be put to use. The key advantage to be gained is easy and wider outreach to local audiences.
With product and service homogeneity and similarity of business models and plans, there is little scope of creating USPs. This has shifted the attention of supermarket businesses to value-added services. A successful example of VAS was the caller tune services when it was first launched. In the mobile service industry, there is hardly any differentiating factor that can be significantly felt by customers except maybe a terribly and consistently poor network. The caller tune service came as an exciting value to customers. Customers were willing to pay a premium price for it. Fortunately, businesses now offer us much better things as VAS.
For supermarket brands, value-added services could provide them a big differentiating factor and the most prominent of them is home delivery service (whether complimentary or chargeable). This service is not restricted to omnichannel supermarket brands. The brick and mortar retail stores can also consider providing home delivery service. To keep it simple, smaller supermarkets can offer free home delivery services up to a predefined order value or a radius of distance beyond which there will be a delivery charge. But the policy should be fair, economical, and not complicated.
The frontal aspects of retail involve a high degree of visual appeal. Rebranding is often used as a marketing strategy to leave a positive perceptive impact on customers. It can very well be also a part of supermarket branding strategy.
Customers may get used to seeing the same visuals of a supermarket which they visit frequently but rebranding will catch their attention. Rebranding can involve experimenting with the brand logo, font and colours used, tagline, the theme of the store, etc. or any combination of these. Even a small positive perceptive change via rebranding is capable of having a bigger positive influence on how customers perceive a brand.
Amidst the on-going pandemic situation, many big brands like McDonald’s, Audi, Nike, and Volkswagen have used rebranding strategy to promote social distancing.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Internal operations of any business should always be robust. Supermarkets are no exceptions. A grandly promoted ‘home delivery service’ will work only if the operations systems are created to make the service possible. If store employees are not given instructions on customer service, they will do what is best according to them instead of what is best for the business. If a hot product is out of stock and the shelf will remain empty for days, it is probably because the order was not placed on time. That is why SOPs are required at the operational level for all the departments of a supermarket business – purchase and inventory, customer service, HR, finance etc. There should be SOPs for every department and every operation. The services of expert SOP consultants can also be hired to map the various processes and procedures.
Inventory management is one of the biggest concerns for supermarkets all over the world. This aspect should be planned and executed professionally to make the inventory system more effective and efficient and to prevent inventory losses. Supermarket inventory management can be a challenging task considering the diverse merchandise and a wide range of brands and their SKUs.
There should be re-order levels for each product in the supermarket so that once the product inventory reaches its re-order level, it can be easily known that the purchase order has to be placed. These re-orders levels must be carefully decided based on demand forecasting, internal order processing time, delivery time, etc. Many modern supermarkets use auto-replenishment systems (ARS) for automatic reordering.