Every community needs a grocery store. Even a small community of under 1,000 people can benefit from having a local grocery store if one is not around. If you’ve identified this need for your neighborhood or community and are ready to get started, then here are some tips for starting a grocery store that can help you to get started on the right foot.
It all begins with your location. If you’re the only grocery store in the community, then people will naturally visit the store when they food. Otherwise you’ll need a high traffic location that is at least 1 mile away from other grocery stores if possible so that you’ll have a natural customer base that will stop on by. Then you’ll be ready for these additional tips.
1. Think Produce First.
People are attracted to a grocery store because it offers fresh ingredients at a fair price. You’ll be stocking your shelves with boxed goods, canned goods, and other pantry items, but that’s not why people come to a grocery store. They come because there is fresh produce that won’t spoil on them in a day or two. Having a wide variety of fresh produce that is competitively priced and prominently displayed in the front of the store will attract a lot of customer.
2. Freshness Applies To Everything.
You’ll be securing suppliers for your food products that are being sold, so focus on providing as many fresh foods through the deli, butcher shop, and flower shop as possible. Making your own sausage on site, for example, might be a great way to set yourself apart from other grocery stores in your area. If one store sells a lot of steaks, then consider specializing in something else, like lamb. Survey your community, see what their preferences will be, and then meet those preferences.
3. Don’t Ignore The Flow Of The Store.
People tend to shop in specific patterns. They’ll grab their produce first to get the freshest that is available. Then they tend to grab their dairy or animal-based proteins. After that, they’ll start picking up the supplementary goods that help them plan meals. If you plan a grocery store around the standard shopping concept, then you’ll create a flow within your store that makes shoppers feel comfortable. A comfortable shopper is a happy shopper who is going to be willing to spend a little more money.
4. Be Cooking Something.
Ever notice that food commercials tend to come on the radio and television when people are the most likely to feel hungry? That’s because hunger drives the buying decision. People who go grocery shopping when they are hungry may spend up to 50% more on their shopping trip than intended because they were hungry and something looked good. The aroma of good food in your grocery store could very well help to promote bigger sales. Maybe you’re not equipped to make fried chicken, but having a gourmet sandwich shop accomplishes the same goal.
5. Don’t Ignore Specialty Diets.
If you’re looking for a niche presence in your neighborhood or community for the grocery store, then consider stocking items that are designed for specific diets. Having high quality gluten-free items in stock, for example, could make you the go-to place for those with an intolerance to wheat or have Celiac disease. The Paleo diet, vegan foods, and other community diets can also be a point of emphasis for your grocery store as well.
6. Give People An Incentive.
For those that are transitioning to these new diets, having recipes on-hand can inspire some sales as well. Put out a few tried-and-true dishes that can be easily made based on your niche and point out where the ingredients to make the recipe can be found in the store.
7. Convenient Foods And Beverages At The Checkout Boost Sales.
All the work that it takes to pick up groceries for a week or two can cause someone to build up the urge to have a snack or something to drink. Having these items close to the counter can help to drive up sales naturally with an impulse purchase. Don’t forget to put small snack items around the payment area on the checkout station too so that foods are right there within reach. Having some reading materials for the checkout line can help to boost sales as well.
These tips for starting a grocery store can help you start strong and continue building up a solid profit base. Incorporate them into your business plan, secure your suppliers, be insured, and you’ll be ready to have a good time selling fresh foods to your community or neighborhood.