Category Archives: Incremental Purchasing

Buy a Car at Walmart?

Continuing a trend of expanding its product offerings, Walmart has progressed from standard “retail” products to food to pharmacy and, now, to cars!

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Walmart has expanded their CarSaver program with car-buying kiosks in 250 stores.

As you may know, CarSaver is a digital automotive marketplace based in Miami, Florida. The program leverages CarSaver’s network of certified dealerships, banks and insurance companies to support its car ­shopping and buying assistance to Walmart customers.

According to the article, every vehicle bought through a CarSaver kiosk at participating Walmart stores also comes with a lifetime warranty.

The article went on to quote Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration, “We’re constantly looking for innovative services that help us save busy families money and time. CarSaver’s unique platform helps our customers understand the true cost of ownership, while also helping them save money with buying, financing, leasing and insuring a new or used vehicle.”

According to a report in Adweek, CarSaver uses its car dealer network to provide a better customer experience, including upfront pricing.

Read the full article…

Insight Into Shelf-side Decision Making?

A recent article published by shared some interesting information about understanding shopper behavior at the shelf.

“Understanding true shopper behavior in the store has become the latest battlefield in the fast moving consumer goods industry,” the article states.

Citing studies that show an estimated 76% of purchase decisions are made in the store, the article goes on to suggest that adding even a single product to a small percentage of shopping trips could equate to significant increases in sales revenue.

Wondering if there’s a way to accomplish this?

According to the article, Shopperception, a company with locations in Delaware and Buenos Aires, offers a platform that is able to “digitize shopper behavior in much the same way marketers are able to understand shoppers’ behavior online.”

Apparently their platform uses three-dimensional sensors combined with sophisticated algorithms to generate the data.

Assuming the decision-making that will be based on the consumer preferences translated by this data is combined with high levels of customer service, could this be a win-win opportunity for shoppers and supermarkets alike?

Supermarkets v. Shoppers: Who Has the Power?

Yesterday’s Boston Globe Magazine featured an article
entitled, “How Grocery Shopping Got Personal.”  

The piece demonstrates that, while supermarket customers may feel
powerless in the face of rising prices or varying levels of customer service, the supermarket customer is truly the one with the power!  

Years ago, most customers shopped at 1, or
maybe two markets.  Now many shoppers
visit 5 or more stores each week to shop for their groceries!  For instance, last week between my husband
and me, we visited Hannaford 3 times (we were disorganized!), Target, the
butcher store, a local farm stand and the corner market.  

With customers on the move more of the time, comfortably picking-up groceries wherever they happen to be as opposed to exhibiting old-fashioned loyalty to one or two stores, supermarkets face an increasingly enormous
challenge of getting shoppers into their stores, never mind capturing as much
business as they can while shoppers are there.    

article also shows the importance of learning more about the customers, getting
close and staying close to them, through the use of technology, frequent shopper
cards, etc.  
As always, looking forward to your comments!

A Supermarket Shopping Experience – What Were They Thinking?

When you are food shopping, are there times when you shake your head and ask
(like Dr. Phil), “What Are They Thinking?”  

I had one of those moments yesterday… 

It was a beautiful summer day and all of the local produce was in full
bloom—tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, squash, you name it.  Even better, 
a lot of it was beautifully displayed in baskets, curb-side on the way into the supermarket (Hannafords), with an employee standing
behind a small counter.  

I took note of
it, but didn’t buy there, figuring I’d select my produce inside when I would have a shopping cart handy.  Once in the
store, I visited the produce area and picked up a few items and did some other
shopping.  After checking out, I walked
by the employee and the produce display outside at the front of the store.  Several people (most of whom had completed
their shopping, like me) were picking out various items… until the employee told
the customers that they would have to pay for the items inside!!  



Every shopper (in
that small sample, granted) who had already been in the store and checked out,
dropped their bag and left.  Their faces
and comments were filled with frustration, incredulity, anger.  If the store is going to pay for an employee
to be outside the store and has spent the time setting up display, couldn’t they have had a scale and a mini cash register out there too? 

Supermarket Shopping “Off the Wall!”

Welcome to the world of shopping walls!

According to a recent article in SupermarketNews, since February Philadelphia-area commuters have been able to do their food shopping while waiting for the train!

Peapodthe Ahold-owned home-delivery service and proponents of virtual
 began plastering giant ads at various commuter
locations in and around Philadelphia. To take advantage of the service, commuters first
needed to download the Peapod app onto their smart-phone using a QR code on the ad. Their phones
could then scan the barcodes of the featured products.  

could order today for tomorrow morning,” said Elana Margolis, a spokesperson
for Peapod. 

As noted in last week’s post, consumer behaviors are
constantly changing… and it will be interesting to see how supermarkets will

Supermarket Shopping & Buying “Off the List”

I stopped at the one of the leading supermarkets over the
weekend but only went there because they have a great deli with the best
marinated and cooked steak tips.  They
are the best!  

While I was there, I
picked up a few other things…organic milk, some ice cream for dessert, English
muffins and other bread, some produce and cereal.  As I was placing the items into the cart, I thought
to myself, “these prices seem really high—I don’t think I pay this much at
either of the other stores where I frequently shop.”  But I continued.  

When I got to the check out, I had spent
almost $100, didn’t have my cloth shopping bags because I only thought I was
going in for 1 or 2 items…  

Just like most
shoppers, I bought things that were not on my list.  According
to a recent article in Drug Store News,
new research from the Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research indicates 9-out-of-10 shoppers still
buy items not on their list.  Based on the
research, among those who strayed from their shopping lists, 66% of them said
were motivated by a sale or promotion, 30% said they found a coupon and 23%
wanted to pamper themselves.  

For me,
maybe those things were true, but it was basically a matter of being in the
store, seeing a product, thinking we might need it and saving myself another
trip to the store.   

So, they got me for
their higher prices…but next time, I might not be so easily persuaded to
purchase more than I planned!

The Holiday Opportunity for Supermarkets

Now that the holiday season has started, supermarkets have a unique opportunity to showcase their value  to showcase the products and services that customers will find especially useful or helpful during this festive yet hectic time of year.

Yes, without doubt, the holidays offer supermarkets the chance to serve existing customers in new ways and to attract new customers customers who do not regularly shop in supermarkets, or those who shop in lots of different stores and use different channels when making food or food-related purchases.

So, I’m wondering… 

What products might supermarkets offer that customers might like and are likely to buy? What types of products might attract new customers? Remember, customers may not even know that they want or need the product until they have seen it, or tasted it! 

What outstanding service will supermarkets offer that will show shoppers that the supermarket is the place for all of their food-related needs?  

What prices are supermarkets going to offer that will demonstrate to customers, the VALUE that supermarkets bring? What prices or specials might supermarkets offer to show that they understand the economic difficulties that shoppers face? 

What are supermarkets going to do to get these customers to make their store the customers’ preferred store?

That is the opportunity for supermarkets this holiday season.   It only comes around once a year…I hope my favorite stores won’t waste the opportunity!

Is There a Supermarket That Wants to Earn My Business & Loyalty? Volume 36: Just a Bit Over the Line?

Yesterday I stopped by my local supermarket for just a few items, including some sliced ham from the deli. I asked for a half-pound of the Maple Ham, which is $6.99 per pound.


“Ok if it’s just a bit over?” I was asked.  Without thinking, or looking, I responded as I normally do… “Sure.”


It wasn’t until I was putting the ham into my refrigerator that I took a look. “Just a bit over” seemed innocent at first; .67 pounds versus the requested .5… but as I looked at the price, $4.68 versus $3.50 I realized that “just over” was actual one-third more than I asked for! 


Then I got to thinking… if “just a bit over” can be up to 1/3 more, how much more are shoppers unexpectedly spending and how much extra is the supermarket selling each day! To me, 1/3 more is quite a bit, not “just a bit!”  And, I for one will pay closer attention going forward.  As always, I look forward to your thoughts…

Is There a Supermarket That Wants to Earn My Business & Loyalty? Volume 26: Selling, Marketing & Merchandising

Conway Management's Supermaket Whitepaper

I was in the produce aisle at one of the big supermarkets this weekend and looked at the plentiful produce.  The apples were shiny, the lemons and limes looked inviting, the salads in the bag were all sitting upright, the strawberries and raspberries were nestled in their plastic containers, the fresh herbs were all green and welcoming.  As I was standing there looking around, trying to think about what I might purchase, I wondered, is this it? 

Should or could the store be doing anything (cost effectively) more to sell / market / merchandise more produce?  The same question could be posed for meat, cheese, baked goods, floral, pharmacy, center store…

Webster’s Dictionary defines merchandising as:
sales promotion as a comprehensive function including market research, development of new products, coordination of manufacture and marketing, and effective advertising and selling. 

While the product was available and displayed well, there weren’t any free samples or anyone knowledgeable talking enthusiastically about the products, their source and their freshness, or why a shopper might want to buy them.  There were a couple of people who were stocking the produce, who seemed to be making every effort to avoid eye contact with customers.  I wonder if there might be opportunities for supermarkets to do a better job… to engage their customers and sell more products.  But for store employees to engage their customers, the supermarket must first engage its employees….

Is There a Supermarket that Wants to Earn My Business & Loyalty? Volume 8 – Economic Woes v. Consumer Spending: What Next?

The University of Michigan released its Consumer Sentiment Report a couple of weeks ago….and the results were unnerving…how does this bode for the supermarket industry? 

  • 56% believe the economy is in worse shape than a year ago, while only 36% feel conditions have improved
  • Only 23% believe that economic conditions will be better a year from now
  • 20% think their incomes are at risk of deflating in the coming year

What can supermarkets do to offer more value to customers?  Where will growth come from?  Innovation?  Marketing?  Increasing customer value—from product selection and availability?  Reducing prices (but you need to reduce costs as well or margins will be further squeezed!)?  increasing the number, varieties and quality of private label brands?  Then what?  How do you get your customers to try them?  What else?


A recent article In Supermarket News discussed what Family Dollar was doing to add more value and build engagement among its 45,000 employees.  The story focused on its private label, Family Gourmet and specifically, Family Gourmet cookies.  It sent samples to all of its stores so that the employees could try them.  It plans to run a contest shortly to see which store can sell the most cookies, giving cash prizes to the winners.  The chain has such faith in its product that it:

  • sent the cookies to the store for free
  • encouraged the employees to try them   
  • is confident that their employees will be able to heartily and enthusiastically recommend the cookies….and sales will increase
  • offered a guarantee of full price refund if the customer is not 100% satisfied with the product

This is a classic win/win situation….Engaging your employees so that they become your best salespeople!  Isn’t that what every company should be doing?  Compare that with my experience at the meat counter in Volume 2 of this blog….if the butchers behind the counter had honestly and enthusiastically recommended the turkey cheddar burgers….