Food retail is a sustaining growth industry. If you’re a food retailer you pretty much epitomize what it is to be a sustaining growth business. You have to maintain a steady rate of growth just to maintain your status quo. The inverse of this means of course that if you do not sustain your incremental improving, your business will start to suffer. This is one of those immutable laws of business.
The problem with food retailers is that they are large lumbering beasts and tend to be slow on the uptake of new technology. Typically sustaining growth companies tend to push the bleeding edge of technology. Or at very least say that is where they want to be. Everyone knows that technology like apps and websites are where food retailers need to invest time and money. But I had an idea while driving the other day of an opportunity to capitalize on ethnology that I’ve not heard floating around so I thought I share it.
Grocery delivery is one of the new frontiers of food retail. This is because the future of technology is personalized convenience. At home grocery deliver fits that bill nicely, but it also opens the door for new opportunities. If you as a supermarket company have decided that you’re going to be sending a delivery person to a shopper's house, what else can you up-sell the shopper with?
In particular I was brainstorming the idea of “hot foods” deliver or whatever split tested, marketing name you call it in your company. Hot food items tend to have higher profit margins than many typical grocery items. If you can sell more of these things would that be a good thing for your bottom lines? If people are ordering groceries but also considering ordering delivery Chinese food, or pizza or whatever, how easy might it be to steal to business from the delivery restaurant. After all they’ve already decided they’ll buy groceries they could save a delivery fee to get their hot food from you too.
I think it’s clear the idea has merit. If you’re a food retail you might have considered it already. The problem is that I can almost guarantee that, with only a few exceptions, the vast majority of you will screw up the implementation. You’ll get modest results and decide that while the idea is good you can only afford to invest in it modestly. I’m not saying you have to invest heavily to get this right. But you do need to implement it correctly. Time and time again food retailers have shown that when it comes to implementing a new idea, a half hearted but overly complex deliverable is the typical outcome.
New week, I’ll elaborate more deeply on what I envision a quality implementation might look like and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls common in implementing a new idea.