Differentiate From Your Grocery Competitors by Offering Unique Products in Your Assortment

August 9, 2022

By Megan Moyer

Finding a niche in your community is a good way to build a competitive advantage. If you and your competitors carry many of the same brands and items, bringing in products that are unique to your store can be a strong differentiator. Start by reviewing your product assortment to see where there is opportunity to provide something that will help you stand apart.

Consider not only your competitors, but also your customers and community. Competitors are likely some combination of big-box retailers, dollar, chain grocery stores and possibly convenience stores and small specialty shops. While you may not be able to accommodate the variety or broad assortment within departments some of them carry, you can offer items they don’t or won’t stock.

The easiest way to increase your sales is to get your current customers to spend more money in your store. Think about what your customers gravitate toward. Are there opportunities to add products to your assortment that are complementary (maybe a local coffee brand near your bakery department)? Do the brands your customers favor have products in other categories or new products that you haven’t added yet? Spotlight these new additions so your customers notice them as soon as they hit the shelf.

Thinking about the businesses in your community, are there any that you could build business from if you stock items that fill their customers’ needs? Are there assisted living residences in the area? Are there any particular items for residents with special dietary needs that you can stock? What about nutritionists in your area — are there particular brands or products they recommend to their clients that you could carry?

In addition, consider adding locally produced food and beverage items. Not only will you aid another small business, but your competitors don’t always have the flexibility to deviate from corporate-dictated product assortments, so it could be a path to differentiation for your store.

When you put some thought to it, you will likely come up with several possible ways to differentiate by the products you put on your shelves. Work with your distributor to make sure you have the items that meet your customers’ needs as well as increase your sales.

Ask your employees and customers for suggestions, too. You might be surprised at how many opportunities you identify!

Consumers are increasingly concerned with being healthy, and at the grocery store, health and wellness means more than food and nutrition. Often built around an in-store pharmacy, health and wellness at the supermarket can include over-the-counter remedies, vitamins, nutritional supplements and other products designed to enhance body and mind. This webinar, presented by Dave Wendland, HRG’s VP of strategic relations, will explore expectations, decision drivers and category preferences through the eyes of shoppers focused on wellness and selfcare, offering insights on how independent grocers can capture more category sales.

The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, at 2 p.m. EST. Click here to register.