The COVID pandemic has significantly impacted grocery retail, driving sales up while also hardening the supply chain. Nationwide shutdowns and stringent health protocols impaired food production facilities with decreased labor and product output. 

Grocery and supermarket supply costs continue to climb, with no plateau in sight. Grocers are paying more to keep their shelves stocked, meaning customers are paying more to keep their fridges full.

Your customers, uncertain of future shutdowns, are making fewer trips with larger orders to keep essential items on-hand. And while rising grocery prices have not stopped them from maintaining their surpluses, they still look to buy more for less.

And your competition—plus sophisticated market entrants like Costco and Walmart—are able to entice your shoppers with exceedingly low prices that are difficult to compete with.

As an independent grocer, you ask, “How can I grow my business without increasing prices?”

If you want to succeed in this rapidly changing industry, you need to shift your focus to increasing your profit margins, customer shopping cart size, and customer base.

In this article, we identify three strategies to counteract increasing food and grocery costs. Read on to learn how to secure your grocery profits in the face of ever-changing buying behavior.

Capitalize on Profit Margins with Private-Label Branding

If you aren’t already marketing a private-label brand in your store, now is the time. Selling private-label products offers a golden opportunity for you to take advantage of up to 35% profit margins

Consumers—especially millennials—are willing and eager to buy store-brand products, favoring value over name-brand items.

Designing a recognizable store brand is your first step in offsetting rising food costs. 

All you have to do is make your store-brand products look and feel like their brand-name counterparts. Capture your customers’ wants and needs with a trendy/familiar private label, and your products will sell themselves.  

Here are a few ideas to invite your customers to try your private-label items.

  • Market to your core demographics. Your average customer profile is changing. Millennial households are smaller and starting their families later. Consumers want fresh, meaningful, and sustainable grab-and-go options. Keep your customers’ desires at the center of your brand.
  • Use modern ergonomic packaging. Appeal to your shopper’s trending interests by selecting packaging that uses less material. Objects in environmentally-conscious packaging are visually interesting because they are produced in sleek and geometric containers.
  • Use bold, vivid colors, designs, and graphics. Treat your clients to a memorable purchase with products that stand out. Eye-catching products practically beg to be examined and put into shopping carts. 
  • Use facts, stories, and details. Give your customers a meaning and purpose when they buy your products. Spark a conversation on your packaging by speaking to your customers’ values. Include snippets about your dedication to supporting local producers, delivering fresh food, importing quality goods, and more.

Once you’ve carved out your private brand, you’re ready to work it throughout your store. Just don’t forget to include it in the most important section.

Increase Basket Size with an Unforgettable Perimeter

Your perimeter is crucial to your profitability as a grocer. As high-margin services on your perimeter slowly reopen—like hot bars and pre-prepared meals—it’s time to create a perimeter strategy that drives customers to this high-margin area of your store. 

Focus your efforts on invigorating the atmosphere of your perimeter. That way you attract as many customers as possible to that profit center. Consider some of these ideas to enliven your perimeter:

  • Create live prep stations. A theatrical view of a butcher preparing a cut of meat or a produce clerk chopping fresh fruits and vegetables is performative marketing. It inspires your shoppers to envision themselves cooking and eating the featured food at home. 
  • Integrate how-to instructions. Use TV screens and signs to teach your customers how to prepare, eat, or pair various foods. Place a screen in your meat and seafood sections and play videos that teach how to cook various cuts of meat and fish. Or, post a sign next to your cheese department with popular meat, fruit, and wine pairings. 
  • Engage with customers. Encourage your staff in your perimeter departments to act as brand liaisons, their job being to share their expert knowledge and advice. Invite your customers to approach your staff with questions by featuring various foods and recipes. 
  • Make perimeter-food more convenient. This is especially important for fresh food. Ensure there is a wide selection of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook produce throughout your perimeter. Continue to keep meal kits and grab-and-go items well-stocked.

A pleasant shopping experience means more time spent in your store, more time examining your products, and more products being put into shopping carts. Stimulating your customers with a vibrant atmosphere does more than prolong time spent shopping. It also creates a sense of thrill and anticipation for the next visit. 

The best way to win return trips is to offer your customers in-store promotions… but not just any promotion.

GetUpside and Get More Grocery Business

With GetUpside, you can attract new and existing customers with personalized promotions for each shopper. All promotions offered by GetUpside are based on each shopper’s past behaviors, using the minimum promotion amount that will motivate each customer to buy items they would not have otherwise. 

GetUpside guarantees grocers will earn a profit on every transaction, through a model that ensures each personalized customer promotion lies within margin. Grocery stores using these personalized offers experience:

  • 3% to 5% increase in profits 
  • 35% larger shopping carts on average
  • 1.6 times more frequent customer visits

With GetUpside, it’s a win-win-win for all. Customers connect with nearby grocers they would have otherwise missed. They shop, save money, and earn cash back. Meanwhile, grocers make a guaranteed profit with each transaction.

With over 30 million users on our platform, GetUpside supports your goals to grow your grocery business. We help you increase basket sizes and trips from new and returning customers you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise by funneling more grocery customers into your stores with attractive, profitable offers. 

And GetUpside is effortless to manage. There’s no new technology, operational changes or upfront cost. Our platform uses the anonymized transaction data grocers already pay for—via their card processor—to identify new customers, analyze purchasing habits, and calculate promotions that are hard to pass by. 

Personalize and Grow

The way to combat rising food costs is to focus on profit (not just revenue), increase basket sizes, and get more grocery customers.

The way to do the above is with personalization. Personalize your private-labels, perimeters, and offers with products and experiences that your customers want. If you want an easy plug-and-go solution, try GetUpside today.