Keeping It Simple and Smart
Let’s face it, not just kids are overscheduled these days so the last thing I want to do on weekends is run errands, like shopping for groceries. This weekend, though, I had a bit of a revelation, at least for me. And that revelation is the independent grocery store is king. Why? Because more than Netflix or Pinterest, there is no bigger time suck than shopping for groceries at a local megaplex. First of all, no matter what time of day I choose to go, apparently it’s always the most popular. I have to park about a city block away and you’re talking to someone who doesn’t mind walking lots of steps to get my step goal satisfaction.
Once inside, it’s a cavern of chaos because the grocery store megaplex is no longer just a grocery store. Nope, there is a toy aisle, a housewares aisle, and a coffee shop. A trip down the cereal aisle yields 20 different flavors of just Pop-Tarts alone. And even though I don’t eat them, I still marvel at the flavors. Don’t get me started on the Oreos. What will next month’s special flavor be? And which friend on Facebook is going to start a thread of conversation about this mundane subject?
The thing is, I get the product differentiation. I do. But all of these choices are not good for what I think is about 80 percent of grocery store shoppers — those who can’t make a decision. So they whip out their phones, block the aisles with their carts and have conversations with their family members via phone or text on the merits of which milk they should purchase because now skim, 2% and whole milk are just three basic choices sitting next to almond, coconut or cashew milk; sweetened or unsweetened. In the meantime, this errand has now sucked up an hour and a half of my weekend.
I work full time and have lots of interests and commitments outside of my job. I have many, many things I would rather spend time on than buying groceries, as I am sure you do, too. So sometimes — no, every time, I want to get out quick. The megaplex is revealing their online service in my neighborhood soon. I think they caught on that by stocking games and coffee makers may not have been in their best interest. So now they have added even more real estate to their brick and mortar store so people can shop online and pull up to the curb to get their car loaded up. It’s going to be great for some, at the very least a novelty, although I hear most people who shop online for groceries spend approximately 20 percent less than those who go in. Bad news for the brands that want to baffle you with their newest laundry detergent scent, pods or pellets.
I’m not falling for it, however. Even though shopping for groceries online may save time, my husband and I rediscovered our little local grocery store and we’re smitten. We can get in and out, find everything we need including much better cuts of meat than the megaplex offers, lots of local produce, a nice wine selection that’s not overwhelming, the specialty items we can never seem to find in the megaplex — and we can get out of there in 20 minutes flat. No huge lines, no parking nightmares, no irritating people staring in disbelief on the choice they have to make on ice cream flavors or coffee creamer. And no online irritation, either. It’s just as easy for me to push a real cart or a few minutes as it is buttons for an online order. And another plus is we are treated to smiling, knowledgeable workers who are glad to help us.
In a world where time seems to race by, I’ve discovered the beauty of simplicity, and the choice I made to reclaim something that’s more important than the latest and greatest product on the shelf. Time to breathe and just be. I bet your customers want this too, so even though it’s smart for your customers to be able to buy from you online, consider looking at your services with an eye toward respecting their precious time and offering convenience, too. Revel in your status as an independent. Keep everything you do simple and smart for your customers. Listen to their requests when it comes to shopping with you and consider their suggestions. You may just stumble upon a revelation of your own.
Have you implemented something in your fine jewelry business based on a customer’s suggestion that’s been a real eye opener? We’d love to hear about it! Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org