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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Independent grocers can take on Amazon with these big-box strategies

Independent grocers can take on Amazon with these big-box strategies
Independent natural food grocers can take lessons on online experience, checkout process and the power of proximity from some of the big retailers who have stood up to Amazon.

Even big boxes have been battling behemoth Amazon as Americans take to the online superstore. After some rough years including sliding sales and even closures, Best Buy and Target found some successes that independent natural foods stores should study.

The Street recently outlined how the big-box stores have surged without playing the price game.

Here three ways the large chain stores are taking on Amazon and you can too:

Online experience.

Call it omnichannel, online integration or what have you, but customers expect the same of their store online as they do offline. And retailers win if they can make it seamless. Best Buy points to this as part of its impressive 24.3 percent online sales growth so far this year, according to The Street’s report.

While grocers and major supplement retailers have been slower to adopt an omnichannel attitude, they are catching up now. Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, GNC and Vitamin Shoppe all have touted online-offline connections as key to their growth strategies.

Checkout consciousness.

Best Buy improved its point of sale experience, too, online and off.  The checkout stand is the last impression your store leaves with a customer. In this harried age, it matters more than ever. We recently reviewed easy checkout improvements any health food store or natural grocery can—and should—make. From the easy idea of keeping it clean to considering how your cashiers stand, it all makes a difference. Read the 9 checkout improvement tips here.

Power of proximity.

The Street reported that Target’s focus on online fulfillment through stores "improves our digital in-stocks and drives incremental sales in situations where we are out of stock in our fulfillment centers."

Proximity is a great advantage for the independent. Even as online grocery delivery has attracted early adopters and great investment attention, independents are finding success in delivery of their own and click-and-collect programs. Natural Foods Merchandiser examined the grocery delivery landscape in its August issue.

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