What’s keeping grocery operators up at night?

Rising inflation. Supply chain snafus. Global conflict. Continued COVID-related uncertainty. Learn what's challenges are facing grocers.

April 14, 2022
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 What’s keeping grocery operators up at night?
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 What’s keeping grocery operators up at night?

Rising inflation. 


Supply chain snafus. 

Global conflict. 

Continued COVID-related uncertainty. 

2022 is proving to be a tumultuous year, and it’s only April!

Every week seems to present yet another new challenge for brick and mortar retailers as they try to drive sustainable, profitable growth for their businesses—or even just keep the lights on.

For grocery operators, many of these challenges are particularly acute. All at the same time, they’re figuring out how to maintain an exceptional customer experience with fewer employees, deal with supply chain issues that are leaving some shelves bare, and find ways to keep customers in-store despite rising costs that are forcing prices up.

We recently conducted a nationwide survey of retailer grocers to learn what’s top of mind. Read on to find out what grocers see as their biggest challenges right now, and to learn about some solutions.

What are grocery operators’ biggest challenges right now?

The grocery operators we served focused on a few key challenges in their every day: supply chain challenges, inflation, labor issues, and COVID-19. 

We’ve listed their top answers below:

Supply chain challenges and inflation: Global supply chain issues that started during COVID-19, and have only been exacerbated in recent months with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many goods are taking much, much longer than usual to reach their final destinations; or are simply not available at all. Grocery operators are forced to make the best of a tough situation; some items are disappearing from their shelves entirely, while costs—and therefore consumer prices—are rising sharply for others. The Consumer Price Index reports that grocery prices were up 7.9% year-on-year as of February, and the increases are much higher in some categories. Meat and poultry prices are up 13%; fresh fruit is up by nearly 11%

Labor challenges: Hiring and labor costs continue to pose major challenges for grocery operators. In fact, according to the National Grocers Association, many grocery stores are being forced to operate with less than 50% of their normal workforce capacity. And they’re often having to pay a lot more to hire and keep the workers that they have. The effects of these labor-related challenges are easy to see. Fewer staff members means fewer hands to stock shelves or interact with customers, and hirer labor costs are pushing some merchants to cut back on other expenditures or raise prices.

Continued COVID-19 uncertainty: Pandemic-related illness and regulations continue to cast a shadow over grocery store operations. Mask mandates have only recently been lifted in some areas, and talk of new variants continues to cause unease among many consumers. Plus, COVID-19 is still making people sick, putting even more pressure on short-staffed stores when employees need to take time off to recuperate.

How can grocers overcome these challenges?

It’s tough to be a grocery operator these days. Luckily, Upside is here to help. Our personalized promotions drive new customers to your stores and incentivize your existing customers to purchase from you more frequently. Upside promotions are developed taking into account your profit margins. That means we deliver proven profit —not just revenue—on every transaction. 

How does Upside help grocers face these challenges?  

Give consumers a reason to choose you: Supply chain issues are creating challenges for your assortment. Inflation is forcing you to raise prices and potentially turn away price-conscious customers. Upside’s personalized promotions give consumers the discount they need to buy more from your store, and bring you new transactions that are guaranteed to be profitable. In fact, grocery stores on Upside see a 2.5x increase in monthly visit frequency among Upside customers and a 10% increase in basket sizes. 

Bring in new transactions and more profit without putting any extra strain on your workforce: Your staff is already stretched too thin. Upside brings much-needed transaction volume, without requiring any additional staff work or integrations. Upside operates in the background, meaning there is no staff training or IT / POS integration required. And the new profit delivered by Upside can help offset your rising labor costs. 

Protect your bottom line, no matter what: Upside’s personalized promotions are always within your available profit margin, and we guarantee that you will only ever pay for proven incremental profit. Rather than risk cannibalizing your profit and hurting your bottom line with one-size-fits-all promotions, Upside ensures that you’re bringing in new, profitable transactions that support your business’ long-term health.

Whatever the challenges facing brick and mortar businesses, Upside will work to bring you new customers and transactions. And do it profitably.

Learn more about what Upside can do for your grocery business.

 What’s keeping grocery operators up at night?

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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