Start A Grocery Store - Business Ideas

Start A Grocery Store - Business Ideas
Start A Grocery Store

A grocery store sells a wide variety of fresh vegetables, seasonal fruits, along with a full range of household and personal care items. The grocery store industry is the largest retail channel that makes $682 billion industry in the United States.

To start a basic grocery store, you can expect to spend a minimum of $50,000. Ideally, the bigger expense would be the rent, equipment, labor cost, cash registers/POS systems and software. Some of these are recurring monthly fees. However, things that will make a bigger impact on the business are the location, size of the store, competitors, local customers. To make a bigger profit, a new grocer should sell more items for a lower price.

A new grocer can also save costs by buying the items from local distributors. The distributor is the middle man between the manufacturer and the grocery store selling it. Once the store cost and location is decided, the next step is to obtain a seller license. In most states, a grocer's license is required to run a grocery store.

Thus an average grocery store has a profit margin of 3% to 5%. The profit rates depend on the location, size, and popularity of the store. On average, a small to medium grocery store can make profit up to $300,000 annually if all the profit factors are considered.

Another way to make your business more profitable is to diversify your store and add amenities like a coffee shop or stocking up the front of the store with magazines, batteries, etc. as these items can cross margin of up to 70%. As a rule of thumb, offer lower prices on higher purchase, this will ultimately win more customers and increase profitability.

Starting a grocery store requires a great deal of effort, dedication, and most importantly passion.

If you're interested in how to sell grocery store products, or selling grocery store products online, you can use this page as a guide for everything you'll need to know.

Key Stats

market size
$658B
starting costs
$18.9K
gross margin
43%
time to build
270 days

Startup Costs

Min Startup Costs Max Startup Costs
Equipment & Supply Expenses $66 $1,200
Retail Business Expenses $1,250 $11,650
Inventory Expenses $350 $14,750
Advertising & Marketing Costs $75 $9,636
Software Expenses $0 $425
Website Costs $13 $215
Total Startup Costs $1,754 $37,876

Successful Businesses

Business URL Rank
Kroger kroger.com #4,364
BigBasket bigbasket.com #5,684
Publix Super Markets publix.com #6,675
Safeway safeway.com #12,450
ALDI Grocery Stores aldi.us #13,343
Chaldal 🥚 chaldal.com #19,208
LIDL US lidl.com #20,615
ShopRite shoprite.com #22,682
Trader Joe's traderjoes.com #23,867
Hy-Vee hy-vee.com #24,938
Ralphs ralphs.com #28,449

Pros & Cons

Pros Description
Rewarding work Starting a grocery store can be really rewarding work. After all, you are solving an immediate issue for your customer and you're working on something you truly care about.
Meaningful business connections You never know who you will meet as a grocery store. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
Daily physical activity Grocery Store's typically involve a much greater degree of movement than other lines of work. Most days, you will spend your day walking, running errands for your business, and performing a multitude of tasks. This can have a positive impact on energy levels and your overall health.
Amazing perks and discounts Working in the grocery store comes with its perks! As a seller for these products/services, you typically also get to enjoy industry perks and discounts.
You are your own boss! With starting a grocery store, you are the one to make decisions for almost all of the operations. Calling the shots can be empowering and liberating!
Local Community One of the best parts of starting a grocery store is that you can develop a local following by selling your products at craft shows, farmers' markets, or even local storefront businesses! This gives you access to additional revenue streams and loyal customers.
Cons Description
Crowded Space Competition is high when it comes to your grocery store, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.
Finding The Right Supplier Most businesses in this space go the supplier/manufacturer route, which isn't a bad thing! However, finding the right supplier can take a lot of time, energy and trial/error. If done properly, this process can save you months (if not years) of time and energy. More on this below in the "finding a supplier" section.
Motivation of employees If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
Low margins The gross margins for your grocery store are typically around 43%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.
High employee turnover In the grocery store, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business. It's important to try and avoid this as much as possible by offering competitive pay, benefits, and a positive work environment.
Taxes As a grocery store, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.

Marketing Ideas

  • 1

    Direct Sales

    Direct sales strategy implies a direct contact between a seller and a consumer without the involvement of any third party. Direct selling is popular in sectors where sellers communicate with their clientele personally. The sales technique occurs at non-store locations which include at home, work, or online.

    For direct selling to succeed, hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process. It's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.

  • 2

    Word of mouth

    Word of mouth is when a consumers reflects their interest in a company’s product or service in their daily dialogues.

    Therefore, word of mouth advertising is essentially a free advertising triggered by the customers experience.

    According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family.

    Therefore, in today’s hyper-connected world, a single recommendation through a word of mouth can have a huge impact to your business.

  • 3

    Social Media Advertising

    Social media advertising is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience with the objective to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic.

    According to Oberlo, approximately 48% of the global population use social media, and the number is ever-growing.

    Therefore, social media allows brands access to cost-effective advertising by enabling them to interact with a large audience.

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to start your own business?

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