Small town grocery store musings
Business is people first. Take care of employees, then customer's profits will follow.
The store is set up for efficiency but is welcoming in appearance. Warm and inviting, not cold and clinical.
Collect data to improve customer experience.
Getting people to the store is the top priority.
Weekly advertised sales. Collect data on which advertised items are more likely to bring people into the store.
Create daily advertised in-store specials that which not advertised. Collect data on what types of items bring customers into the store to check the daily special.
Pricing is a combination of low price and premium price. The Walmart way.
Start a rewards program before the store opens. Have an online sign up for the rewards program.
Tie the store to the community with donations to the resource center. Have an item the resource center needs at the register. While the customer is checking out, show them the item and ask them if they would like to purchase it for the resource center. Tell them the item is flagged to give an extra point or two on the rewards program. Once enough items have been donated, use that as a community recognition inside the store.
Make processes scalable.
Train or guide customer behavior. In essence, you are selling them on the benefits of what the store offers. This is done by providing inducements to coming to the store. These inducements occur regularly to train the customer to expect them. Sell the incentives as making life easier for the customer. The big retail stores are masters at this.
Everything is about the customer perception that you are making life easier for themselves.
Take advantage of the Amazon marketplace to quickly order specialty items. The customer can do this for themselves, but if they are unaware of how the store is accomplishing the task, it can be sold as making life easier benefit. I suspect most people do not think of Amazon for specialty grocery store purchases.
What I learned about custom products is if you are genuinely custom, as in anything the customer wants is available, they get confused and may not order. You are more likely to be successful limiting options at the same time the customer has the perception they are in control of the process. You are driving the sale in the direction that works best for your business and has a higher percentage of satisfying the customer. If you do not set the boundary, the customer will try to control the entire process.
Layout the store into the different product sections, never break the store layout as it breeds familiarity with the customer. What you can do is reorganize a product section from time to time to keep the customer looking at more products. Walmart is a master at this and overnight can reorganize large chunks of their stores overnight. In the case of a local grocer, I would discourage reorganizing more than a section at a time.