Virtual Comp Shop: Learning from Dollar General

Virtual Comp Shop: Learning from Dollar General

September 15, 2021
Shari Steinbach
Retail Industry InsightsTrends

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

For our next installment of virtual comp shops, we are looking at insights from Dollar General stores.

Insight #1: Know you customer base. Dollar General, who’s stores are often in smaller, underserved communities without the presence of a larger grocery store, understands that food insecurity is a key concern for their customers. With the pandemic making this issue even more pronounced, they have made a strategic move to provide meaningful solutions to their communities and address this problem. One major initiative is the addition of fresh produce in 10,000 of their stores. Given their extensive store footprint, Dollar General hopes to make a positive community health impact with an abundance of healthful food choices.

  • Retail RD Application. Customer relevancy is vital. How can you help your retailer remain top-of-mind and an integral part of consumers’ shopping habits? With retail giants like Amazon and Walmart getting so much of the action, your stores need to go beyond cleanliness and low prices to keep customers loyal. Know your customers and understand the needs they have around food, meal planning and nutrition. Identify the unique niche your stores could fill and develop a health and wellness business strategy with programs that resonate.

Insight #2: Partner for success. To further strengthen their efforts to help with the issue of hunger, Dollar General recently announced a new operational partnership with Feeding America. They made a $1 million donation to the organization which will help them to supply access to food resources in rural, underserved communities. This builds on their existing efforts of providing in-kind donations of perishable foods to help nourish consumers in need with a measurable impact. At full capacity the program will provide up to 20 million meals a year to those in need.

  • Retail RD Application: Reinforce programs and services by seeking out partnerships that align with your wellness goals and strategy. Consider those successful and respected organizations that will help solidify your community stance and foster success. If your stores and pharmacies are focused on helping shoppers manage chronic disease, for example, you may seek out local hospitals, physician offices or a national health organization to partner with to build not only more credibility, but more customers. If prepared food is key business strategy, there may be a local culinary school or meal planning delivery service worth talking to about a win/win business partnership.

Insight #3: Support programs must advance your goals. While taking major step to reduce hunger, Dollar General is also taking strategic steps to bolster their healthy food offerings. The company has recently partnered with a registered dietitian to create DG Better For You meals. The meals feature nourishing recipes for each meal of the day with items sourced from Dollar General stores. In addition, they have created the Good & Smart private brand to provide yet another healthier option to customers. They are also assisting shoppers adhere to food budgets by offering digital coupons, and a cart calculator shopping and budgeting tool. These helpful resources will most likely drive customer loyalty well into the future as shoppers reward Dollar General with their business.

  • Retail RD Application: Having a health and wellness business strategy in place is vital. Create one or update it if needed. Once you have a strategic focus for your health and well-being department, you can easily assess new program opportunities to make sure they align and support your priorities with targeted, meaningful solutions.

Have a retailer in mind that you’d like us to comp shop? Send an email to