Doing it differently: How to succeed in the grocery and convenience sector

When it comes to the grocery and convenience sector, it’s good to be small. Here’s why.

Some of the biggest businesses in Australia and New Zealand operate in the grocery and convenience sector, including Coles, Woolworths, Countdown, Pak’nSave, 7-11 and Gull, just to name a few. But when it comes to running a small business with constant stock requirements, cashflow can be a concern.

If you’re a grocery and convenience store owner, you’ll be relieved to hear the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, small businesses in this space are primed for growth because they can offer something the big guys can’t — a highly curated product range and exceptional level of customer service.

Whether you’re catering to gourmet foodies, a specific cultural cuisine, environmentally conscious shoppers, or simply your local neighbourhood, your ability to stock items that are relevant to your customers — and in all likelihood, know their names and life stories — is the key to competing with mass market chains.

Here are four innovative small businesses doing grocery and convenience differently in Australia and New Zealand.

Otta: This small Melbourne store calls itself “your friendly neighbourhood grocer” and prides itself on stocking everything from fridge and pantry essentials, to more unique, recipe-specific ingredients that customers might struggle to find elsewhere. It’s geared towards convenience.

The Good Grocer: With four locations in Perth, this small grocery chain says it’s “small enough to be friendly and big enough to supply all you need in the food department”. It sources from growers in Western Australia wherever possible and targets customers who prefer to shop local.

Good For: With seven stores across New Zealand, Good For caters to shoppers who want to restock their pantries without the waste. Instead of shelves full of cardboard boxes and plastic bags, customers bring their own reusable jars and containers to fill with ingredients, such as rice, beans and flour.

Kete Kai: Based in Hamilton, outside of Auckland, Kete Kai is an online grocery store with a mission to provide affordable food for all. Customers can order boxes of fresh produce and quality staples, plus recipes to turn them into five days’ worth of breakfast, dinner and snacks. They can also make donations to community groups that will use the funds to support families in need.

How hummpro can help

One of the biggest financial challenges for small businesses in the grocery and convenience space is the capital required to stock multiple lines of product. This requires significant upfront investment, which can have a big impact on your cashflow. And with notoriously thin margins in the retail industry, it doesn’t take much — a rent increase, big bet on the wrong product, or a few slow months — to tip you into the red.

But a new breed of buy now, pay later built for small businesses offers a solution. You can use hummpro to pay for your next stock order and get at least 30 days before you need to make a repayment interest-free. By shortening the time between when you buy new stock and when you start selling it to your customers, you reduce the risk of falling into a negative cashflow cycle.

With your casfhlow under control with hummpro, you can focus on what you need to succeed in the grocery and convenience store sector.