Progressive Grocer Independent

DEC 2016

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December 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 23 David Diamond is an independent consultant to leading retailers, manufacturers and service providers in the grocery industry. He can be reached at [email protected] initiative will result either in a whole new store or nothing at all. While you can test digital communications one piece at a time, an e-commerce test requires you to build out all of the pieces before you turn it on. Since it's essentially a "whole new store," you need to decide all of the critical issues before you open the doors. And it's not a series of things, some of which will work, while others won't — it's a whole, and all of the parts need to work together. is isn't to say that an e-com- merce platform can't evolve, change and improve after it's introduced — to a certain extent, it goes without saying that any e-commerce platform needs to be continuously improved. But on the day that you open an e-commerce platform, you need to have already committed a huge amount of time and resources to it, just to see whether it can function. Digital a Must What does this mean for independent food retailers? First and foremost, it means that every store, no matter how small, needs to use digital commu- nication tools as part of its market- ing approach. At this point, there's simply no excuse not to do at least some small testing of digital processes as alternatives to traditional market- ing approaches. How much digital marketing you do is, of course, highly situational. But every retailer should at least try something, see if it works, and if it does, do more of it. If it doesn't work, try something else. But just as importantly, e-com- merce isn't necessarily the right path for every retailer. Building an e-com- merce platform is a huge commitment, even if you're using an outsourced part- ner. Some independent retailers need to build e-commerce platforms — if they're large enough, if they can afford it, if it can provide a distinctive market solution — but e-commerce isn't a slam-dunk for independent retailers; rather, it's a huge commitment, which shouldn't be entered into lightly. Everyone needs to test digital com- munications — the world is moving too quickly in that direction for anyone to ignore it, but not everyone should test e- commerce, only those with the appetite and resources to under- take a significantly large and high-risk project. PGI

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