It is known to all that the retail business environment has changed drastically in recent years and is expected to continue to transform as it adjusts itself to new technologies and consumption behaviors. Another fact known to all is that the greatest sufferers from these changes are small retailers, also known as the mom-and-pop shops.
The retail environment changes affect mom-and-pop shops from two fronts. The first is the rise of big-box retailers that compete with small retailers locally on price and product range. The second is e-commerce websites that offer an endless range of products—both mainstream and rare, in countless categories available to purchase anytime, anywhere—usually for less, with the only real disadvantage being the delivery time.
However, by taking a new approach to marketing, small retailers have the ability to compete and win in their local markets. This approach is called a “shopper solution.” Shopper solutions take into consideration the fact that when consumers go on a shopping trip, it only rarely ends with the purchase of only one product. In reality, consumers walk around in a store trying to find a solution for a need, a solution that usually combines a few items. However, retailers often organize the store in categories and make it harder for consumers to purchase the solution they are looking for in its entirety. By doing so, they not only damage the customer’s experience, but also gain smaller basket size and wallet share.
How can you get it right? First, group together as many solutions as possible in order to truly create a new shopping experience for your consumers. Think about which combinations are the most intuitive and needed by your target market, and then make it easy for them to buy combinations. Second, use this method to introduce new products and brands that are less successful. They often get ignored in the aisles simply because consumers go directly to the brand they are the most familiar with. Third, use rich, call-to-action marketing material in order to attract consumers’ attention to the solution stand in the store. Last but not least, support consumers’ engagement by including information and increasing their knowledge about the solution you’re offering; for example, include recipes, tips, games, etc.
Small retailers are known for providing superior customer experience, an experience that consumers just can’t get when shopping online or walking in a huge superstore. By providing consumers with solutions rather than just products, mom-and-pop shops can improve the experience they offer and reclaim what was once their domain.