Are College Starter Kits The Next Opportunity for Retail Grocers?

With thousands of college students heading to school within the next few weeks, grocers have a great opportunity to grow their Gen Z customer base as 70% of those who attend a public institution live at least 1-2 hours from their home and will be looking for a reliable local grocer to call their own for the next few months if not years.

So how can grocers break the ice with Gen Z college students and create loyalty? A potential opportunity is with pre-defined “Starter Kits”. Yes, parents could spend 30+ minutes trying to sift through Instacart’s web pages, looking for everything a student might need. Or local grocers could put together “a variety of Start Kits”, filled with popular staple items for college students, allowing parents and students to order them in a matter of seconds. Comparable to what grocers are doing with meal kits or subscription boxes, starter kits are a great way to attract new customers to a brand or grocer and could act as another customer acquisition channel. Additionally, grocers could include high-profit items or partner with CPG brands to ease the costs. So what type of kits could be offered?

The Condiment Starter Kits

Once a student moves off campus so can their healthy eating habits. With the dining hall so far away and a limited budget, a pantry could remain desolate for weeks. However, a grocer could include simple, but often forgotten condiments such as ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, mayo, olive oil, and so on in a Condiment Starter kit.

The Cleaning & Fresh Kit

When first moving into a dorm or apartment, students always swear the same thing “this is the year my room is going to stay clean”. Wouldn’t it be great if the parents could help send a little motivation with a kit full of cleaning supplies and toiletry items, such as paper towels, dish soap, air fresheners, and laundry detergent?

Finals Week Protein Pick-Me-Up Kit

The most dreaded week of any college student’s career — finals week. This is when a kit is most needed because, at this point, students are running on fumes. It’s always appreciated and refreshing to have a little pick-me-up during this dreaded week. This pack could include brain food, such as energy bars, protein snacks, instant coffee and candy bars for a late night snack.

Build On The Success Of Meal Kits

When meal kits were first introduced, it was speculated that they would make grocery stores obsolete with its subscription service. However, this has not proven true. Now, the companies pushing out meal kits are realizing the need to partner with grocery stores just to survive. Starter Kits are a new avenue for grocers to show how convenient these solutions can be, especially if you’re unable or don’t have the time to make a trip to the store. With grocers trying to find new ways to attract new and loyal shoppers this could be a great opportunity and would complement their meal kit offering.

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Bruce is the founder and CEO of RW3 Technologies. Having spent more than 35 years in the consumer goods and grocer space Bruce has experienced the industry disruption first hand and understands how artificial intelligence, POS data, and mobile technology can transform a good organization into a great one.

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