Solution Providers need Tailored Approach

Solution Providers need Tailored Approach

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology


Solution providers are drawn to the massive grocery industry because of its size and scale. But successfully selling into that massive retail industry requires an understanding of how the industry is structured as different sectors require a different approach. According to FMI, there are an estimated 37,000 supermarkets in the U.S.. Here is how we commonly think about the retail vertical:

National Retailers: Companies like Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, and other retailers with national presence.

Super Regional Retailers: Companies like Publix and Ahold that have an estimated 1,000 stores and are geographically concentrated (like Publix in the Southeast, Ahold Delhaize on the east coast).

Mid-Market Regional Retailers: Retailers with an estimated 25-500 stores. There are many of these retail companies across the country, nearly all of them are privately owned.

Independent Retailers: Retailers with fewer than 25 stores, many of them 1-5 store operators. This group represents thousands of stores across the country.

One of the first things solution providers should do is determine which sector of the supermarket industry they want to focus their sales & marketing efforts on; each type of retailer has different needs. That sector focus then helps determine your sales and marketing approach. While every young tech company might love to sell into Walmart or Kroger, realistically that is a really tough thing to do early on. Better is to start with a smaller retailer, prove out your solution capability and the benefits to the retailer and/or shopper, and then have a story along with associated data supporting your claimed benefits.

About the Author

Gary Hawkins is the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART). He can be reached at

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