Three Ways for Brick and Mortar Grocers to Compete with Amazon

Boom. Boom. Boom. Hear those massive footsteps? That’s the sound of ecommerce giant Amazon, once again nipping at brick and mortar’s heels, and this time it’s the grocery industry that should be on high alert. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that construction is underway in a hip Seattle neighborhood on Amazon’s first drive-up grocery store.

With 2015 US grocery store sales totaling a whopping $606 Billion, it’s no wonder that Amazon is focusing efforts on this industry. With its Amazon Fresh delivery service and this latest concept of a drive-up grocery store complete with license plate scanning technology for high speed delivery straight to shoppers’ vehicles, Amazon plans to rely on its core strength in bringing convenience and instant gratification to its shoppers. So what can brick-and-mortar grocers do to stay competitive?

Leverage rich shopper profile history.

Grocers were some of the earliest movers in the loyalty card business and with shoppers swiping their cards on a weekly basis, these grocers have the benefit of a massive database of shopper profiles and individual preferences. While innovative benefits like gas rewards and immediate discounts at checkout have helped to drive shopper loyalty, it’s time for grocers to leverage these profiles to personalize the in-store experience for each of their loyalty card holders. These rich profiles could help checkout clerks surprise and delight their customers with the shopper’s favorite treat, provide a timely reminder to pick up a monthly staple, or even email a busy mom some new recipe suggestions incorporating ingredients from her standard shopping list.

Go mobile.

While loyalty cards provide grocers a huge benefit in terms of building and accessing rich shopper profiles, in order to leverage this data at key moments that matter, grocers must identify their shoppers prior to check-out. With recent advancements in mobile presence technologies such as Bluetooth beacons, WiFi and GPS, retailers can couple this technology with their owned and operated mobile app to identify their shoppers as soon as they enter the parking lot. In addition to using the mobile app for shopper identification, this app can also be used to further personalize and streamline the shopping experience, with features such as organized shopping lists, personalized offers, and in-store messaging.

Embrace how your shoppers want to shop.

In today’s busy world, consumers are looking to outsource as many tasks as possible. While many people still enjoy hand selecting their own produce and talking to the butcher as he picks out the best cut of meat, others simply don’t have the time to peruse a grocery store for an hour each week. Whether shoppers choose to come into the store, opt for a click-and-collect method of pickup, or choose a delivery service like InstaCart or Peapod, their business is still valuable, and it’s still possible to retain each shopper’s loyalty-as long as the grocer offers support for these various manners of shopping. Remember, convenience and a sense of immediacy is how Amazon has built their success. The more that traditional grocers can build these values into their product offering, the more competitive they will be.

Mobile presence technology is a key component to staying competitive in today’s mobile-driven world. Contact us to learn how you can take advantage of this technology to drive new and relevant strategies for your grocery chain.

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