Category Archives: Supermarket management

Sam Walton & the 5th “P”

In a recent article published by the International Speaker’s Bureau, author Michael Berghdahl referenced Sam Walton’s retail success, noting that Walton intuitively knew that retail marketing is all about the “4-P’s,” which are having the right products, price, placement, and promotion.

However, the article goes on to say that Sam Walton knew the “4 P’s” were not enough; that he was not satisfied to simply apply traditional methods, but rather always out to do more… to try new ideas.

“You might say he [Sam Walton] embraced change like a welcomed friend,” Berghahl wrote. “Never complacent, he sought ways to improve every aspect of the Walmart success formula each and every day.”

As part of this approach to continuous improvement, Walton figured out the key to creating a sustainable competitive advantage in the retail marketplace was by adding a “5th P” to his success formula: PEOPLE. Success required fully-engaged people working together as a high performing team, and serving his customers.

This perspective is consistent with the latest research on the critical importance and value of an engaged workforce.

But beware! Traditional efforts to engage employees have not been fruitful!!  These unsuccessful attempts have been haphazard at best, and have largely focused on trying to make employees happy.  Unfortunately, research and experience has proved that happy workers are not necessarily more productive workers.

Clearly a more strategic approach to engagement is needed, yet few retailers or organizations of any type have a formalized engagement strategy.

If you would like to create such a strategy, here are ten behaviors  you might initiate, which are based on research and experience that shows productive employees tend to be engaged employees, not the other-way-around.

Read more… 

Customers King at Kroeger?

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Kroger has launched a new improvement initiative to accelerate changes in assortments and better customer service.

While Kroeger has been in the news lately for considering the sale of its convenience stores, the new  “Restock Kroger” improvement initiative seems to be the bigger story. It will involve “an accelerated and more data-driven effort around pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a revamp of product assortments,” the article said.

“We will change the way people eat in the U.S.,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO. “If you are eating, we want to serve you. Unless you are eating in a white tablecloth restaurant, we want to be able to provide that meal for you.”

Read the full article… 

Insight Into Shelf-side Decision Making?

A recent article published by advancingretail.org 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?

5 Emerging Trends That Demand Improved Supermarket Efficiency

“Shifting consumer lifestyles and habits are creating new challenges for food retailers,” says Topco in a recently released e-book.

The book goes on to suggest that supermarkets must successfully improve efficiencies and reallocate indirect spend monies to areas that will yield the highest returns for their needs in the face of today’s rewritten grocery industry landscape.

The authors list the following five trends with the greatest potential to affect your profits:

1  Experiential shopping
2  In-store restaurants
3  Digital marketing
4  Online grocery shopping
5  Gourmet, organic, and sustainably-sourced foods

See e-book… 

5 Grocery Retailers Listed Among Top 50 Places to Work…

A recent Business Insider article shared a list compiled by jobs and recruiting site Glassdoor with this year’s Employees’ Choice Awards, which features the 50 best places to work in 2017 across the US.

Five grocery retailers made the list, which are:

  • Wegman’s
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Trader Joe’s
  • HEB
  • QuikTrip

Among the quotes from various employees of these retailers:

“It’s an exceptional culture with exceptional customer service standards, and where co-workers treat each other like family.”

“…managers take employee development to heart.”

“The company is focused on employee growth and well-being.”

“People matter here. It is easy to move up or advance.”

Supermarket Customer Experience & Expired Products

frozenA recent datecheckpro.com article referenced a challenge faced by supermarkets as they strive to attract and retain customers by providing a positive shopping experience and outstanding service.

The issue-at-hand is product expiration.

At the corporate level, author   says, “expired product costs generally remain hidden. As a result of date management execution challenges, expired products end up in the hands of customers or on the back of the shelf rather than on the P&L.”

Krawczyk goes on to suggest that the true cost of customer satisfaction, or dissatisfaction in this case remains unseen as well, and cites research from Date Check Pro, the industry’s leading expiration date management software, which indicates the average supermarket has over 1,500 expired items on the shelf within the center store alone!

The article also suggests that while product expiration issues are a preventable problem,  they plague many supermarkets because of:

  • People management – are the right people spot-checking and re-stocking?
  • Setting the wrong priorities – more urgent perational demands result sacrificing the important task of effective spot checking and restocking
  • Trends toward offering a wider selection of products

Given the competitive nature of the industry and the opportunity to positively impact the shopping experience, it would seem that supermarket chains would be best-served by proactively improving these processes on a continuous basis.

Supermarket Events: An Innovative Way to Engage Customers!

Given the increase of online food shopping and the growing ability to buy groceries in non-supermarket stores, such as Walmart, it’s no surprise that the average number of “weekly stock-up” trips to the supermarket has declined.

However, data indicates people still prefer to go into a supermarket to buy certain items.

So the key for supermarket chains is to generate traffic by giving shoppers more good reasons to come into their stores.

According to a recent Progressive Shopper article, one of the best ways to connect with those shoppers more effectively is through the use of themed events.

“Gather a number of products that are complementary in some way and support a common theme, with the goal of driving increased shopper awareness, engagement and purchase behavior,” author Jeff Weidauer explains.

Weidauer goes on to suggest that most retailers are fairly-well experienced at putting on themed, in-store promotions, such as back-to-school, major holidays, Frozen Food Month, etc., and so on.

As the trend continues, the “themes” can be quite diverse.

For example, a recent SupermarketNews article reported the Marine Stewardship Council will teach New England consumers about sustainable seafood at events at Big Y and Whole Foods Market stores this month, the non-profit organization announced.

The events are part of a new campaign called “Good Catch!” MSC research has found that 58% of New England seafood consumers buy fresh fish at a seafood counter, compared with 40% of national consumers. At the same time, consumer awareness about sustainable offerings from regional seafood sellers is low. The Good Catch! campaign hopes to bridge that gap.

This more strategic use of events is also aligned with present-day marketing best practices. As noted in a recent Huffington Post article, retailers must “…build everything around the customer’s experience… they must understand the purchase journey.”

From a marketing perspective, it makes good sense to create ways of making a trip to the supermarket more value-added and more fun!

Events seem to be an excellent way of accomplishing both.

 

 

Can Great Customer Service Reduce Shrink?

We all know about shrink… the loss of product inventory.

But a recent article published on datecheckpro.com offered some interesting perspective for supermarkets on how they might reduce shrink.

As you most likely are aware, shrink falls into two categories—operation management issues and theft. When shrink occurs in a supermarket, it differs from the retailers based on grocery items expiring. Supermarket shrinkage is usually higher than all retailers.

The article went on to cite a 2012 shrink study by The Retail Control Group, which indicated:

  • Operational factors contributed to around 2/3 of all retail shrink
  • Shoplifting accounted for 36 percent of all theft-related shrinkage
  • Cashiers account for 31 percent of theft and general employees another 25 percent
  • Vendor theft accounts for the remaining 8 percent of theft-related shrink

Solutions?

The article offered a few thoughts on reducing shrink.

  • Correcting ordering and receiving processes while maintaining an integrity driven inventory count, can help minimize losses from inventory problems
  • Minimizing damaged products by handling products carefully will add to the reduction of losses
  • The best ways to minimize theft is though great customer service, and by conducting thorough background checks when hiring employees
  • Train and compensate appropriately while maintaining positive working conditions (engagement!) to reduce internal theft by employees

For additional perspective on shrink and other common challenges faced by supermarkets, you might like to review this free whitepaper, “Supermarket Challenges & Opportunities” on our website.

The “Customer of One” Approach to Supermarket Marketing

In a recent article posted on progressivegrocer.com, Gary Hawkins, founder and CEO of Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) shared some interesting perspective on current marketing trends used in supermarkets and other sectors of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

Comparing traditional marketing practices and costs with the newer “customer of one” approach, Hawkins paints an intriguing picture of how supermarkets, manufacturers (brands), and consumers might simultaneously enjoy the benefits of leveraging today’s technology.

“Let’s imagine you are a brand manufacturer and you have just one customer to focus on; let’s call him Joe,” he writes.

“You would want to learn all you could about Joe, but most importantly, you would want to know how often he purchases from your product category and your share of his category business. You would also want to understand Joe’s brand loyalty and discount propensity.

“Armed with this knowledge, you would then want to promote to Joe just before he’s due to make his next category purchase, aligning brand promotion activity to Joe’s purchasing cycle, ideally communicating the right offer (knowing Joe’s discount propensity) at the right time (easy to do in today’s digital world), and in the right place (including in the store as he’s approaching the category).

Over time, you would want to grow Joe’s value to your brand by increasing his purchase frequency, up-selling and cross-selling into larger package sizes, multiple units, and related products.”

The “customer of one” method enables the brand as well as the supermarket to enjoy more regular patronage and sales revenue while spending less of their marketing budget, while the customer enjoys the benefit of shopping with less effort and at lower cost.

And, as noted in various other posts, it seems the trend toward customer-driven decision-making continues…

Martin’s Supermarkets Adopts New Food Safety Compliance Solution

A recent EIN News article reported that Martin’s Supermarkets has started using Park City Group’s ReposiTrak® compliance management solution to manage regulatory and business documentation compliance within their supply chain.

“Martin’s Super Markets is the latest retailer to recognize the advantages of using ReposiTrak to reduce brand, regulatory and financial risk in their supply chain,” said Randall K. Fields, Chairman and CEO of Park City Group. “Their commitment to food safety and transparency for their customers makes us proud to have them utilize our system.”

Family-owned and managed since 1947, Martin’s operates 22 full-service supermarkets in Indiana and Michigan.