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July 30, 2018

The rise of eCommerce has fundamentally changed the definition of convenience – forever altering the nature of retail competition and the competitive strategies that are most important to a supermarket’s success.

As highlighted in Surviving the Brave New World of Food Retailing, the newest report from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, traditional retailer strengths have become far less impactful. For example, store location has long been a competitive advantage and a key characteristic of convenience. Today’s shoppers, however, can stay at home and order products through digital devices, making the convenience of a short drive to the store irrelevant.

What’s more, the report finds that the appeal of one-stop shopping – or being able to find a wide range of food and non-food items in a single store – has lost its power as a competitive edge. Although shoppers in the 1980s and 1990s greatly valued one-stop shopping, only 40 percent of shoppers today concentrate their food purchases in one primary store. Even the largest superstores and supercenters, with their wide arrays of products, cannot compete with the seemingly infinite offerings of online retailers.

So what competitive strategies matter today? Rather than focusing on a comprehensive assortment, the study finds that retailers can more successfully drive consumer behavior by concentrating on price, quality and creating an experiential shopping destination.

The report, which features a diagnostic tool of key questions that retail executives should consider for their own companies, can be downloaded here: