6 reasons why Small-Format Stores are the future
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
A lot of retail entities have been closing stores partly owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and partly owing to the lack of their digital presence. While e-commerce may not hold all the answers just yet, an omni-channel approach (a phygital store-front) is the best bet in this technological era. Many brands are opting for small-format stores in convenient locations to balance their online and offline presence.
The reduction in the size of the stores also takes away much of the overheads from the offline store. It evolves the structure and purpose of the business from stores merely being a place to pick things off the shelf to becoming pick-up spots for online orders and drop-off counters for damaged returns. The end goal is always about offering a seamless online and offline customer shopping experience. Now let’s look at some of the reasons why small-format stores are the future.
Top Reasons why Small-Format Stores are the future:
1.Lesser rent equals more stores
Rent is one of the major operational costs of running a physical store. With a small shop, rents get exponentially cheaper owing to the steep drop in size. Besides cost-savings, it encourages a brand to set up more shopping outlets at the same cost. Instead of having one big store for every 20 km, it might serve well for the business to have a small store for every 5 km. This especially makes more sense now that hyperlocal services are on the rise in India.
People generally assume that big stores can offer huge discounts owing to their ability to make bulk purchases. However, small stores would typically not be able to give such discounts. However, this is not always the case. Along with cheaper rents, operating a small store needs fewer staff for operations, sales, support and maintenance. Even the resources consumption like electricity is substantially reduced. With the operational cost significantly reduced, it allows them to match the discounted prices and offers given by large-format stores besides maintaining a personalized customer relationship and eventually, loyalty.
Having multiple small-format stores in different localities offer retailers an opportunity to devote focussed attention on their respective target audience. Besides, each store does not need to stock all the products the brand offers; instead they can stock up according to the needs of the locality. With the help of hyperlocal delivery services like PickR’s Enstore, the retailers can accurately figure out the stock requirements which reduces wastage.
Most small-format stores can operate as franchises under a common brand name. This also opens up multiple employment opportunities for the local people. For instance, a store manager’s familiarity with the needs and nuances of the neighborhood can help with the store’s operations & sales. Additionally, this also helps in customising the services offered. For example, stores in an area where people typically return home late from work may choose to be open even late at night. Similarly, stores in affluent neighborhoods can focus on home delivery for the convenience of their customers.
When it comes to grocery retailers, small-format stores can provide fresher vegetables and fruits in a jiffy, beating the large format stores in a more efficient last mile delivery. Such quick service can add to the store's (and the brand’s) popularity amongst the residents of the area, thereby creating a more loyal customer base.
Not everyone who shops at a supermarket or mall has a huge shopping list. Outside of the monthly ration supplies, most people have a limited list of things to buy. For them, going through the seemingly endless aisles and long billing queues can be quite frustrating. On the other hand, small-format stores have limited inventory stocks, so it’s easier to find what one is looking for and with customers split across multiple stores it cuts down the checkout queues as well.
For consumers, this becomes a convenient shopping experience, while for retailers it means that more people can be serviced at a given time. The addition of a hyperlocal delivery service to these small stores increases the convenience even more.
Small format stores help in the shopping experience evolution. It amplifies the things a store can do. Stores can now become pick-up (takeout and curbside) and return counters for orders placed online. It has been noted that when an offline store is closed, there is a clear dip in online sales as well. Having small-format stores empowers the retailers to cater significantly better to their geographical area and the brand is easier to recall for the local communities.
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Many store provide online grocery. One of which is Otpxpress. OTPxpress is an Omni-channel everyday essentials chain of stores that serves the customers hyper-locally through online & stores. OTPxpress brings farm-fresh products and your daily essentials to your doorstep at an affordable rate, making online and in-store grocery shopping Fast, Safe and Easy.
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Bigger isn’t always better. Small format stores appeal to the modern consumer’s evolving needs and shopping habits. A retailer’s ability to adapt itself to suit the fast changing consumer needs is bound to thrive. In an age where convenience trumps all, stores must also offer seamless customer experience beyond product range in order to stand out and to grow a loyal customer base.