How the Gig Economy Can Work for Grocery Stores

by | Feb 24, 2022




Companies like Uber and DoorDash have become increasingly popular over the past few years because they allow consumers to easily obtain the goods they need without physically venturing into stores. 

This kind of service has been coined as the gig economy, due to the one-off nature of the tasks, or “gigs,” to be completed. Wells Fargo defines the gig economy as “the term for a labor market where contractors and freelancers are paid according to short-term assignments and tasks, rather than full- or part-time jobs.”

This new way of contracting labor has radically changed the way many retailers are conducting business — and not for the better. Until now, the gig economy has mostly served the needs of the customer, providing them convenience at the expense of the grocery store. Third-party shoppers, for example, offer fewer chances for impulse purchases since their journeys through the store are predetermined. Stores also have to fork over a sizable portion of the purchase. Forbes noted recently that grocers are left paying fees “over an average of 10% per order,” which adds up quickly in grocery operations.

As tends to happen with technological changes like this, the gig economy doesn’t have to be bad. It’s all in how you leverage it.

“Embracing the expanding gig workforce isn’t optional anymore; it’s a necessity for many businesses, and especially retailers, that want to maintain optimal productivity and successfully compete now and into the foreseeable future,” states Market Source.

Will gig workers ever find themselves working on behalf of the store? In many places, they already do.

Embracing the gig economy

In-store mobile discovery is an approach to retail execution that crowdsources the gathering of in-store insights — photos, sentiments, price points, and more — in a systematized, scalable way. Rather than trusting managers or salespeople to ensure in-store execution, in-store mobile discovery mobilizes smartphone users to enter specific stores and complete specific data-gathering tasks. 

These smartphone-powered data-gatherers (at Premise, we call them Contributors) earn money by completing specific tasks sourced from an online marketplace — which, in turn, operationalizes the tasks according to the data requester’s needs.

With a continuously flowing stream of data to work with, in-store mobile discovery allows you to cost-effectively monitor operations and see where further action is needed.

Crowdsourced retail execution is an efficient way to anticipate and address any issue in your stores at scale. With this approach, your store is the beneficiary, Contributors are your benefactors, and the currency is quality information.

Here are some of the problems you can solve using in-store mobile discovery:

– With Contributors able to offer qualitative feedback alongside objective observations, like photographs, you have a human-eye view into the customer journey. See what your customers see as they walk through your aisles.
– These tasks are not only hyper-specific and targeted based on your preferences, they are scalable across your stores around the world.
– Free up your local managers! Often tasked with completing retail executions themselves, managers are left with less time to focus on other areas of operations that need attention. In-store mobile discovery centralizes your source of insights rather than gathering it from store managers. Instead of relying on them to correctly perform the retail execution, have a gig economy third-party handle it for you.
– Quickly identify areas in the store that may require attention or some sort of alteration with rapid, actionable feedback. The continuous flow of insights allows you to optimize areas of the business at a fast pace, with a crowdsourced radar that is always on the lookout.

While the gig economy may still be sending shoppers into your stores on behalf of customers who can’t make it into the building (or who don’t want to) it’s time for stores to flip the script. No longer should retailers fear the growth of the gig economy, because it’s now changing the way you do business in a positive way.

In the gig economy, all it takes is a simple app download for a smartphone user to turn into a Contributor ready to help you with retail execution. In-store mobile discovery aims to provide the same ease and accommodation to retailers as other services have been providing to consumers for years.
To learn about more of the possibilities of crowdsourcing, visit