The grocery industry is a tough business. It’s an industry that saw a 29.4% increase in store openings in 2018 (JLL’s 2019 Grocery Tracker) and the playing field has become more and more competitive as giants like Whole Foods, Walmart, and Target slash prices to unbeatable levels. The online sector also adds a level of competition as grocers struggle to figure out ways to get new people in their stores and keep their loyal customers coming back.
Instead of slashing prices or going online, many stores are using their retail space to their advantage in order to satisfy their current customer base and attract new business. One way grocery stores are competing is by creating a better shopping environment with the help of self-service machines like the WineStation by Napa Technology. Here’s 3 ways the installation of a WineStation can provide a win for grocery stores in the modern age.
Bars in grocery stores are nothing new, but they’re becoming more popular as grocers look for ways to keep customers in their stores longer and keep them coming back. Having a bar in a grocery store has been shown to increase brand loyalty, encourage longer stays, and lead to more impulsive purchase decisions- what every retailer strives for. Check out this article on a Birmingham Publix, who recently installed WineStation.
Setting up a bar in a grocery store may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Installing a WineStation would eliminate the need to hire new staff members who have bar experience and ultimately save the business hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month from over-pouring by personnel. WineStation is also compatible with kegs, so a store with these units installed could meet the needs of both wine and beer drinkers alike.
Stores utilizing the WineStation key card feature could offer memberships to customers who are interested in trying new beers or wines on a weekly or monthly basis. One idea for membership benefits would be to provide a growler to new members. By swiping their membership key card, customers would be granted access to fill their growler with the featured wine or beer of the month. The WineStation can be programmed to dispense an amount equivalent to the growler’s capacity so retailers wouldn’t have to worry about customers taking a little more than they’re supposed to. The WineStation also provides sales reporting so grocers can also see which products are performing best.
Of course not everyone has the time to grab groceries and a pint during their visit to the grocery store. Some customers just want to get in and out. It’s a trend common in younger customer segments who value quicker shopping times, but still want to make great purchase decisions, especially when it comes to trying new products. One way to keep these types of shoppers in the store longer and commit to purchasing new products is through in-store sampling.
In-store sampling has been practiced by grocery chains for decades because of the mutual benefits to the consumer, the retailer, and the brand being sampled. Offering samples to customers in store has been shown to “boost sales 5 to 10 times above normal and result in a 10-15% long-term residual increase” (LA Times). It also removes any reservations a consumer may have when purchasing a new product, especially those who are a bit tighter with their spending and those who lack knowledge of the type of product they’re buying.
Millenials for example are voracious wine drinkers, but considered to be one of the toughest customer segments to sell wine to because of their lack of experience and knowledge of wine. They are generally more adventurous when it comes to trying new products, but because of the vast number of wines available, they often base their decision on price. This kind of buying behavior makes it harder on winemakers to build brand loyalty and remove any reservations a customer may have when it comes to trying a new wine, which is why in-store sampling is so effective. Offering in-store samples of wine with the WineStation exposes customers who are more apprehensive when it comes to trying a new wine varietal or brand. Even customers familiar with wine may be surprised to find how willing they are to branch out of their normal buying habits and take home something new.
Shelf Real Estate
Another way WineStation can open up revenue doors is through slotting fees. A slotting fee is “a lump sum paid to a retailer by food and beverage suppliers to have their products featured on its store shelves and stored in its warehouse” (repsly.com). Grocers could offer spots in the WineStation to new wineries that want to increase their awareness and exposure to curious customers. Instead of paying for a better spot on the shelf, wineries could pay to have their product featured by the store and sampled by the customers they’re trying to target. In-store sampling is a benefit to your business as well as a bump in sales for your partners.
Installing a WineStation saves money, offers consumers a different level of service and experience, and ultimately gives your business a stronger point of differentiation from your competitors without having to slash your prices.