Retailers like Walmart and Amazon have historically focused on consumer goods, but recently they've been cementing a place in the grocery sector. These mega-retailers often work to introduce as many services, policies, and programs as they can in an effort to cast a wide net and secure the highest percentage of consumers—an understandable use of the tools at their disposal. However, smaller, more regional grocers like Wegmans, Publix, and H-E-B, are finding that their best recourse for competition lies not in attempting to replicate and keep up with the others, but in playing to their strengths and offering consumers in their regions something special.
CNN Business reports that Wegmans, Publix, and H-E-B are working to distinguish themselves in a highly competitive market and have turned to strategies that provide shoppers with further savings. Not one to forget the shopper experience, the smaller retailers are also focusing closely on their employees to train and encourage their workers to run their stores in a way that can provide an exceptional experience. This year, Fortune rated Wegmans as the number one Best Workplaces in Retail, a spot that the grocer has held for some time.
Wegmans and many other regional grocers are privately owned, and can make company-wide decisions without the approval of stockholders and boards of directors. Smaller grocers may also benefit when it comes to expansion as well—a detailed sense of the area can enable strategic and careful plans on where to open new stores. Publix, for example, has significant insight on the trends and needs of its customers, enabling the retailer to think outside the box, recently with plans for an inventive new waterfront store.
There are benefits and drawbacks to every retail format, and while regional grocers do enjoy certain benefits, there are other ways in which larger retailers excel. Each retailer must do what they can to leverage their strengths and focus on what makes them special. As the industry continues to evolve, companies will seek out and try new directions and new ideas to ensure the highest profitability and customer satisfaction they can.
What can the rest of the industry learn from Wegmans, Publix, H-E-B, and other regional grocers?Deli Market News will continue to report.