For some time now, retailers of all types have been using their imaginations in an effort to provide a memorable and pleasant shopping experience as they do their collective best to ward-off the allure of on-line shopping.
A good example of this was shared in a recent SupermarketNews article, which reported that Walmart has introduced “Walmart Drive-In,” a movie theater experience for families created in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival. The “drive-ins” will make their world premiere on August 14 in the parking lots of 160 Walmart stores across the country, and will be free.
The article goes on to explain the current plan for the outdoor cinemas, which will run from August 14 through October 21 with 320 showings of popular, family-friendly movies.
Read the full article…
A recent SupermarketNews article featured a slideshow, which shares ten examples of chains – including Walmart, Kroeger and Amazon – working to enhance the customer experience.
You can view the slideshow here.
Giant Food Stores, a chain that operates in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia under the Giant and Martin’s banners, has been taking a more personalized approach to improving its loyalty program.
According to a recent SupermarketNews article, they have been testing an enhanced program that focuses on providing a more personalized customer experience, more paths to rewards, and a more engaging digital experience.
The article goes on to quote Giant President Nick Bertram as saying, ““We have been trying a lot of different things to connect closer to customers… we’ve partnered with our sister company PDL [Peapod Digital Labs] to try to get more digitally savvy… it was time to start changing and get ready for the way families are shopping now.”
Sounds like a good example of decision-making based on customer service and the overall shopping experience, which one would think should lead to greater levels of customer engagement and loyalty.
Kroger engages with its customers and associates to create better, emotionally uplifting experiences with its brands, an article published by their technology partner Pivotal states.
As you may know, the Kroger Company operates a personalized online ordering and in-store pickup system, a data analytics business, pharmacies, and convenience stores. They also believe in building strong local ties and brand loyalty with customers through delivering a consistently better customer experience, and through being involved in improving both their work processes and their communities. For example, the company is on a mission to end hunger in its communities; they are also on an ongoing mission to eliminate waste across its company by 2025—and leveraging technology, Pivotal says, is a big part of the plan.
It’s not surprising that a customer base becomes more engaged and loyal when their shopping experience is consistently positive; and it’s not surprising that a workforce becomes more engaged and provides better service when they have an active voice in improving their work processes and, as are a result, are part of a more productive and successful team.
Sounds like a great “recipe” for success… and is also well-aligned with our concept of “engagement around the work.”
According to an article published on LInkedIn, Wal-Mart recently opened its first “smart store” supermarket in Xin’an Wu Road, Bao’an District, Shenzhen.
We first read about the “smart supermarket” concept in a piece published by AgThentic, a sustainability and innovation consulting firm focusing on the food industry. In a 2016 article, they referenced the increasing popularity of online grocery shopping and click-and-collect services, and predicted the model was set to change how consumers “will do their weekly shop.”
The article went on to say, “Incorporating predictive technologies into the online shopping experience will allow consumers to access discounts on their favorite brands or re-order the same essential items each week without having to individually add them to a cart. These features have huge implications for convenience… By using data collected from your previous purchases, retailers can understand what you buy and how often you buy it, and send you friendly reminders when you’re running low. Say goodbye to the days of getting halfway home and realizing you forgot to buy toothpaste.”
In addition to helping consumers shop with ease, these same practices are also beneficial to supermarkets as they look to manage inventory and reduce food waste. “Consumers expect to see an overstocked display of cosmetically attractive produce,” the article said. “To compensate, supermarkets throw out up to 40% of food before it even reaches store shelves.”
AgThentic predicted retailers of the future will use consumer data to understand how to market and sell ‘unattractive’ or ‘imperfect’ produce, citing examples in Australia that are already doing so.
Read the full article…
According to a recent Business Insider article, Kroger is once again taking a bold step forward in trying to enhance the customer shopping experience by “rolling out a new technology to nearly 200 stores,that could change grocery shopping as we know it.”
This new development, which is called Kroger Edge, will be installed on store shelves in place of paper price tags, and will digitally display pricing and nutritional information, and even show video ads and coupons for various products.
The technology will enable the chain to instantly change prices and activate promotions across its stores, thus freeing up employees who would otherwise change prices by hand.
In the future, the technology will communicate with customers’ smartphones to help them complete their shopping lists.
A recent “10 Items or Less” article posted by SupermarketNews identified steps taken by major food retailers that indicate the focus on e-shopping will continue to grow in 2017.
The article states that Wal-Mart Stores plans to have around 1,100 stores offering online grocery pickup this year, and that they are continuing with initiatives built around making fulfillment more versatile and/or efficient, such as offering discounts on online orders picked up in stores, and testing the idea of having store employees deliver orders to customer’s homes on their post-work commutes.
The piece goes on to report that Amazon said it was rolling out “Instant Pickup,” a free service offering its Prime members a curated selection of “daily essentials” available for pickup in two minutes or less. The service is available at five campus locations currently with plans to add more locations soon.
Even no-frills Aldi had issued a statement indicating it was getting into e-commerce for the first time through a partnership with Instacart in three cities.
“Our partnership with Instacart is another example of Aldi expanding our commitment to customer convenience and value,” Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi, said. “We know customers are looking for new ways to save time and money.”
As these new services are being rolled-out, it strikes me that supermarket chains will need to take an innovative approach to refining their work processes to reduce waste and cost.
See related article…about becoming more innovative.
The Seattle Times recently published an interesting and entertaining article, which referenced the announcement made late last year by Amazon.com regarding the launch of an experimental convenience store in downtown Seattle where customers could skip the checkout line.
While the concept was presented as futuristic and technologically innovative, a French retail chain, Monoprix, took issue with that depiction.
As the video showcased within the article explains (in a clever and somewhat humorous way), “Monoprix’s “Livraison à domicile +,” is their 10-year-old service that also allows shoppers skip the checkout lines – via a different form of innovation.
What’s old is new!
While possibly making less of a splash than the Amazon-Whole Foods deal, Lindl US opened a new store in Virginia Beach, VA, signifying the beginning of what many have termed a new era in food retail.
According to a SupermarketNews article, hundreds of shoppers were waiting in a line that circled the parking lot early Thursday morning waiting for Lidl US to open the doors.
The big splash and anticipated disruption to the industry may be based on a number of factors, two of which truly stand out:
- Lindl US is committed to offering the lowest prices. “We will beat the best prices in the market,” Brendan Proctor, CEO says.
- Lindl US is basing decisions on the voice-of-the-customer. “It’s not about whether our model works in a market,” Proctor said during an interview. “It’s about what we have to do to adapt to the market.”
As they say, time will tell…
A number of presentations at this year’s NRA Show in Chicago focused on how supermarkets and c-stores can build on some key elements of restaurant design to create a dining experience customers will seek out.
In other words, the combination of upscale design and finer dining options can be leveraged to make a supermarket or c-store a destination where customers feel welcome to stay, dine and enjoy.
“Consumers care about what the experience is like, and 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual,” Tré Musco of Tesser, a brand strategy design firm, said. “People form judgments instantaneously. In terms of design, perception is reality.”
But Tre Musco and other presenters also noted that, if a store is to become a place to enjoy a meal, customers must perceive it as such.
Some of the steps retailers will need to take in order to accomplish this include:
- Lead with change… go beyond just “adding a few tables and chairs” and create a warm, comfortable, and alluring dining area.
- Pay attention to details… such as food displays, lighting, and even restrooms. “Restrooms really matter,” Musco said. “Customers 100% judge your freshness and cleanliness on your restrooms.”
Read the full article…