Knowing the Reality of Our Grocery Stores

As the top managers of each of our grocery stores, we must be the first to know how our decisions will affect our customers and all our associates.

It’s extremely important that all of us in corporate offices be agile enough to go down to the sales floors of our grocery stores, where it all happens, to see how each of our decisions directly impact those sales floors.

What may seem like a great decision to us managers from an office may not be thoroughly analyzed and may end up being the complete opposite of the success we thought it should have been.

Let me tell you a story from one of the different supermarkets I have worked for. 

We decided from the corporate office to make a purchase and then distribute it among all our grocery stores in several vans of Italian pasta, of a brand that we were going to introduce in our chain. Naturally, no one was expecting it, and no prior notice had been given. Nor was there room in the pasta sales aisle planogram for a new product.

When we questioned the purchasing manager about this unexpected novelty, he argued that it was a unique commercial opportunity, purchased in Italy and with a higher margin than the average in the pasta category.

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This is a decision taken unilaterally from an office without having stopped to analyze the impact on the sales floor and without having considered the “collateral” effects with the rest of the products in the category.

Since that experience, I decided to start betting on multiculturalism in the company, which is nothing more than believing in the internal promotion of the most valuable associates in our grocery stores.

This encourages and develops a sense of responsibility from the stores to the corporate offices, with profiles that are 100% familiar with the daily operations.

When in certain roles of responsibility, we have associates, who have already been living the stores’ day-to-day, decisions are usually seen differently, much more analytical, and closer to reality. Thus decisions are made as a company that works with a united block and aware of the difficulties and challenges of work in the store aisles.

In addition, a good tip is to have all personnel who make essential decisions in corporate offices spend a minimum number of hours per month in our grocery stores. As a result, they will get first-hand knowledge of the operation and functioning of the stores, from collaborating with the daily tasks of the store to receiving live feedback from our customers.

To certify the success of these practices, a high level of leadership and belief from the general management of the chain is essential and mandatory.

In short, when there is an entirely cohesive team, from the grassroots to the company’s management, it is much easier to achieve the yearly goals set in our grocery stores.