You know you provide great products that let people recreate a taste of home or discover a whole new cuisine. But running an independent grocery store comes with its own set of challenges and extra complexity, and it can be difficult to find time to look into extra ways to attract new customers. Add in all the challenges retail stores have faced in the last few years, and it’s likely you’re wondering how to attract more customers to your business. If that sounds like you, keep reading!
What is the Best Way to Attract New Customers?
The biggest and best way will always be to focus on your customers’ experience. Think through the experience of a customer shopping at your store for the first time. Make a list of the most noticeable things about shopping at your grocery, then think about how you rate for them.
For example, when you want to attract new customers or create regulars, an easy to see sign and well-lit store with a clean outside make a great start. Friendly staff who are easy to find, well trained and knowledgeable add even more. A loyalty program, online shopping options, and a sense of community can seal the deal.
Services Offered by Retailers to Attract and Retain Customers
A huge number of customers today like options to buy online and have items delivered, so providing these services are great ideas to attract customers to your store. Having this option available not only leads to online sales, but your store having an online presence increases in-person sales too. They make it easier to find for customers doing online searches, and if customers can see that you have what they want through your online store, they’re more likely to make a trip in person, too. Creating online options for a grocery store can be a huge challenge, though. Becoming a vendor through an existing platform like OjaExpress can take a lot of that work off your plate.
Customer Loyalty Plan
You might be thinking “how do I make my store stand out” with one of these programs, since they are so common these days. But these loyalty plans don’t just have to offer discounts on products, they can be a great way to share what makes your store unique. You can offer free products or samples of new foods your customers may not have known about before, exclusive cooking demonstrations of favorite cuisines, and meetups for customers to share their favorite recipes.
You already know how much your staff does for the customer experience. Having great employees sets the mood for the whole shopping experience. Going that extra mile to make sure your staff know about the whole range of food options you have will keep customers coming back, and create great word of mouth when they tell their friends. Helping someone find the spice they need to recreate their favorite ethnic dish or helping a new foodie understand how to use a type of fruit they’ve never seen before makes a world of difference.
What Are 4 ways to Attract Customers
Do these big picture items still feel overwhelming or too hard to implement? Let’s answer the “how can I make my grocery shop attractive to customers right now” question with four specific recommendations:
- Create a mailing list and/or social media account. If you have access to the technology that makes this possible, it will let you market to people who already know you. Letting these people know when you get something new in, have a sale or something interesting happening is more likely to get a response than trying to connect to people who don’t know you yet. There are many user-friendly and free options for creating e-mail mailing lists and social media accounts that can help if this step seems right for you.
- Host an event. This might include cookbook signing, cheese tasting, meeting a local chef, cooking demonstrations, customer recipe swaps, or any community events that make sense for your shop. This creates a sense of community for your customers, gets bodies in the door, adds value to your products and helps get your local community more invested in what you have to offer.
- Make a list of 3 concrete, fixable things your customers tell you they want. These can come through questions they ask, things you notice them doing, or ways you see other shops having more success. Does your grocery need a better sign so people know where you are? Another cashier to avoid long lines? Labels for the aisles so people can find things easier? Clearer pricing? A wider selection of food from a certain area? Be honest and ask for feedback from your staff. Then prioritize improving these things.
- Do 1 thing to improve your website. If you’re able to, get one if you don’t have one already. If you already have one, add a list of cuisines or products, a newsletter signup, clear directions and opening hours, nice pictures or an “About” section. If you have those covered, look into options to offer online ordering through OjaExpress!
Ready to Reach More Customers?
Providing groceries for your community is such an important job. Providing the huge variety and diverse tastes that come with an ethnic or international grocery store adds even more value. Taking some of these steps can help make sure that customers can find you and will keep coming back for all you have to offer. OjaExpress was created by immigrants, for immigrants and we want to help you succeed in getting the tastes of home you bring into more homes. Click here for more information on how to become a vendor today!