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Grocery Store Lessons: How Convenience is Spurring Change

Consumers’ desire for convenience is driving changes at the retail level that could have broader implications for even the smallest businesses.

According to new research by Chris Daniel, of the Ryerson University Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA), retailers are increasingly adding groceries to their product mix to create a more convenient shopping experience for customers.

Whether it’s Walmart and Target adding groceries, or mass marketers adding fitness centers and pharmacy services, the desire to be all things to all people is driving retail change.

“Every single store location has an inherent convenience factor. If you are able to offer something else at that store that they need, that’s some additional revenue that you wouldn’t have had if you just stuck with your regular offerings,” said Daniel.

However,  there is the chance a business owner could dilute their brand identity if they don’t carefully choose how they broaden their offerings, Daniel said.

“If it’s done right and you still place emphasis on core product, you can still be successful,” he said. “You do run risk of diluting your brand. It’s a tricky thing to do. Not every single small business owner should start selling milk.”

Daniel, who emphasized that his research is focused exclusively on the grocery industry, advised small businesses to stay focused on their core specialty even while broadening their offerings.

“Synergies can be created by offering other services in relation to your existing store,” he said.

Daniel’s research was co-authored by Joe Aversa, a GIS analyst at the Ryerson CSCA, and the center’s director, Tony Hernandez.