5 Ways Grocery is Changing (and How Brick-and-Mortar is Keeping Up)


Winn-Dixie Grocery stores are just one of several decades-old grocery brands set to close up shop over this year as reported by Bloomberg. Rumors of bankruptcy are floating for household names like Rite-Aid and Bi-Lo. Grocery continues to change in ways that are forcing brick-and-mortar to keep up.

News that approximately 200 Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie stores will be closing due to bankruptcy is not just bad news for the company’s bottom line. It means about a third of the Winn-Dixie’s 50K employees will lose their jobs. Pressure from e-commerce also has had Bi-Lo stores up against the ropes and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy since 2005.

But it’s not all doom and gloom …

5 Ways Brick-and-Mortar is Keeping Up

Winn-Dixie is getting a lot of press, but Albertson’s Grocery stores appears to be poised to buy up the stalwart Rite Aid as reported by the WSJ. E-commerce alone is not the reason for these bankruptcies but it has pushed brick-and-mortar to revamp or get out. Here are 5 ways that brick-and-mortar is pushing back in order to survive the e-commerce onslaught:

#1: Copying Innovators

Grocers like Bi-LO are understandably perturbed by e-commerce’s encroachment into the brick-and-mortar grocery space. Amazon and other online retailers looking to broaden their presence in the physical space are forcing that growth. Some grocers are taking notes from these new retail giants and adding their own online ordering systems for local delivery.

#2: Wielding Traditional Grocery’s Advantages

Consumers trust local grocers for produce more than online retailers. It is in spaces like these where brick-and-mortar can offer things that e-commerce retailers typically can’t. Farm fresh and farm-to-table grocers can capitalize on a growing demand for healthier produce simply by adding BOPIS (Buy-Online-Pay-In-Store) and/or online order and delivery.

#3: Coming Up with New Innovations

There are ideas yet to be realized by traditional brick-and-mortar grocers. By offering more convenience using local resources, regional and small players can actually compete with Amazon in their local markets just by thinking outside of the box.

#4: Competing Online

Instead of digging in their heels, some grocers are getting wise and building online stores. Instead of ordering from a delivery service and paying high priced delivery fees, consumers can shop at their local grocery store online, pay online, and have the food delivered or picked up in store. It will take a strong investment in logistics and website building but can definitely level the playing field for traditional brick-and-mortar.

#5: Getting Better at Technology

Piggybacking on point 4, what is most required from brick-and-mortar is a better grasp of technology. Instead of resisting, embracing new technology and harnessing its power to provide leverage in an ever more competitive grocery space is the only way brick-and-mortar will be able to keep up with the times.