Grocers’ Check List for Choosing a Digital Commerce Partner

By Michael J. Haaf, grocery veteran, technology board member, CEO of Self Point 

 

With the success of Amazon Prime Day and continuous digital disruptions in the grocery industry, food retailers must continuously up their game when it comes to robust, customer-centric mobile and online storefronts.

 

Many grocery executives struggle with similar questions. How do I know which partner is right for my business? How do I understand a landscape that runs the gamut from completely outsourced, turn-key solutions to seven-figure custom implementations?

Below is a check list of questions to ask to support super markets and specialty stores alike in moving forward with your e-commerce strategy. A solid e-commerce platform will elevate customer experience and loyalty, and enhance both your top and bottom line.

A Few Questions to Ask Yourself

To evaluate each digital commerce partner, ask yourself these questions:

What happens to my brand? What is the Customer Experience? 

  •       Is it a white label solution? Does this solution highlight my brand and my          relationship with my customer?
  •       Will I be able to control the experience, my prices, my merchandising?
  •       Will my customers still know who they are shopping from?

 How do they handle onboarding?

  •       Do they have a white-glove process to setup all my products directly from        my POS? Or am I going to have to maintain two sets of inventory and                records, one for in-store and one for online?
  •       What about my local products with four digit PLU codes; will they help me       set those up?
  •       How do they handle weighables with embedded barcodes? Can their               system read embedded barcodes?
  •       Who is going to manage photography? Will the solution provider offer this       as part of a full-service implementation or will I have to hire a professional        photographer or subscribe to some ancillary database of stock photos?  

Do they have experience as grocers and understand grocery logistics?

  •     Are they focused on the logistics? Can they help me figure out how to              redesign my store to accommodate digital transformation? Will they bring        someone personally into each of my locations to help determine where to         handle fulfillment of online orders?
  •     Do they have a picking application that will make the collection process            easy and error-proof?

What is the focus of the company?

  •       Does the company have a grocery mindset? Or are they a Silicon Valley-            style startup just looking to make a fast buck on an exit?
  •       Am I going to be a big account with these guys or just a small fry?
  •       Do they truly understand the challenges of the grocery business down to          the team member who must pick and pack online orders?
  •       And lastly, can the folks who are presenting to you pass the “elevator                test?”

If you were trapped in an elevator with them for an extended period of time, could they help you get out or would they make survival even harder? It’s not about likability. It’s about understanding your business and most importantly trust. Do you trust this team with the future of your business? If you can’t answer that with a strong yes, keep looking.

Conclusion

The world of online grocery shopping is changing at a remarkable pace, but there is a still time for grocers to get into the game and win. The advent of new technologies will not change the fundamentals of consumers’ needs. People want now what they have always wanted: easy access to quality food at a fair price. As the neighborhood grocer, you understand your local customers better than anyone else. Let the Digital Commerce Partner who best matches your needs help with the technology. Since e-commerce will be ever-evolving, you need a trusted partner who will continuously innovate so you can focus on your core business. After that, everything else falls into place.

Whether you are just starting to research digital commerce partners, or are looking to upgrade your e-commerce platform, my team here Self Point would be happy to speak with you about your digital transformation. They can provide success stories and a detailed demo by contacting info@self-point.com or calling (888) 300-9298.