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How to Win at Dollar General

2 Nov 2023

For years now, Dollar General has almost single-handedly dispelled the notion that brick-and-mortar retail could possibly be declining by opening more than 1,000 new stores each year.

The value channel leader won’t quite hit that mark in 2023, after announcing in June that it would scale back and open “only” 990 stores this fiscal year in response to a slight downturn in sales growth.

Dollar General’s core customer base of rural, lower-income shoppers — 88% of the value chain’s 19,000-plus stores serve communities with populations below 20,000 — continue to feel the economic pressures of inflation. While net sales have remained on the upswing (+3.9% to $9.8 billion in the most recent quarter), comparable store sales have been sluggish.

In October, the company’s board of directors announced that former CEO Todd Vasos, who guided the retailer from 2015 to 2022, would return “to restore stability and confidence in the company moving forward.”

For now, Dollar General is committed to a strategic framework that’s focused on winning in rural communities, extending the company’s reach, fueling profitable growth and being “people empowered.”

Whatever changes might be ahead, the following are 5 can’t-miss “must do’s” for brands looking to build a strategic partnership with the retailer and a winning engagement plan for its shoppers:

Deliver Value and Convenience. Remind shoppers of both the cost value and time savings gained by finding solutions at their local Dollar General store.

Deliver Affordable, Differentiated Assortments: Dollar General is the neighborhood stop for fill-in trips on both essentials and non-essentials; offer pack sizes and price points that are going to work for these shoppers.

Consider DGMN Activation: Find opportunities to attract and retain these otherwise hard-to-reach rural shoppers via opportunities through the Dollar General Media Network.

Build Omnichannel Engagement: Leverage the retailer’s app to enhance the shopper’s in-store experience by offering deals/coupons as they build their lists and conduct self-checkout. Use social media partnerships to capture them away from the store.

Enhance Your In-Store Presence: Be intentional with interior and exterior messaging that will keep your brand top of mind during the store trip.

The Mars Agency’s Customer Development practice is an unrivaled team of in-market commerce experts who simplify the complexity of retail. Located in Bentonville, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and the “backyards” of other key retailers, they provide deep knowledge of the retailer, expertise in key business areas (like strategy, media and creative), and door-opening personal relationships with key executives to deliver an unmatched level of business success for clients across accounts, channels and shopper engagement platforms. For more information, contact SVP-GM Kandi Arrington. 

Also Read:
How to Win at Walmart
How to Win in the Club Channel
How to Win at Target

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