The convenience of localization

The convenience retailer - the overlord of the satisfaction savvy shopper.

The convenience of localization

The convenience retailer - the overlord of the satisfaction savvy shopper.

It’s simple, give customers what they want, where they expect to find it to gain and retain customer loyalty.

It’s a popular belief that one size fits all; if this were truly the case we’d all be shopping at the same store, buying the same products each week, irrespective of where we live, who we live with or what our lifestyle is. One size does not fit all.

The call for compact, local and easy to shop stores has been and will continue to be driven by the consumer but retailers must step up to the plate to drive customer loyalty. Customers’ needs are constantly changing & the challenge of our time is to anticipate, support and drive those needs wherever possible; in order to do this retailers need to gain a greater understanding of their customers.

Localization is not a buzz-word, it’s the name of the game if you want to succeed in the ever increasingly competitive convenience market.

With the availability of an almost infinite assortment fast approaching, tailoring those range and assortments by region, cluster and ultimately by store is the only answer to meeting local demand and ultimately maintaining customer loyalty. The capability to customize your offering in this way becomes vital as niche retailers snowball in size, acquiring new stores & gaining credibility with their and online platform.

The more we know about the shoppers, the more we can shape the shopping experience to meet and exceed their expectations. It is vitally important to recognize that a local approach is the only way to execute a strategy that really reflects the variances across the estate. An understanding of the often distinguished differences between customer groups can deliver impressive operational efficiency gains.

Getting localization right from end to end means joining the dots from insights through to planning and execution to align product and promotional decisions with channel and store specific consumer demand signals. You should be able to accurately reflect variances from one store to the next whilst taking into account additional locally driven variables such as affluence or ethnicity.

Localization is not a buzz-word, it’s the name of the game if you want to succeed in the ever increasingly competitive convenience market.

Retailers should question whether planograms based on top down cluster averages are strong enough to see them not just survive but thrive in todays’ fierce market. The aim of the game should be to provide a targeted offering in line with customer demand for each category within every store. In order to facilitate this retailers should look to adopt a system driven approach which can afford them further analysis of store clusters; enabling them to achieve operational efficiency whilst tailoring their assortments and space more specifically to the customer.

Bringing about a more granular understanding of the shopper through an awareness of the role of localization by category, these valuable insights give retailers the opportunity to enhance their assortment offering, considering:

  • National Core: items sold in all stores regardless of cluster or size
  • Cluster Core: items sold in all stores in the cluster, in addition to the national core
  • Cluster Optional: sold where possible, but may be dropped based on set size or other factors
  • Local: the items that for one or a group of stores, are required, whether locally sourced or purely for performance.

The cluster definition is key, not only in how to group the stores, but in understanding precisely how the product mix varies today across each, and the opportunities to further enhance these shifts through shopper, neighborhood, and competitive insights.

Here is where the power of chain and cluster level substitution guidance comes in; it is not just about deciding whether to carry an item or line, but can also help to determine if the item should be chain wide or only in certain clusters; if optional or protected as unique in smaller stores.

It is imperative that this customer centric strategy should be supported by continued investment in people and technology, giving stores the ability to build links with the local community. When tackling the technology aspect, retailers should look to select a respected solution partner who is an expert in their field. Special considerations should be given to those who can understand their short, medium and long term business objectives.

We’re all familiar with the mantra “right product, right time, right place, right quantity and right price” - Getting granular on individual items and locations can be time consuming but the results can prove to be gargantuan; it’s all about being an integral part of the neighborhood.

The success of a convenience retailer depends on the ability to create the custom offering that consumers are crying out for whilst making every effort to engage with the local market’s culture and understand how it affects consumer attitudes to the entire shopping experience.

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