Tag Archives: supermarket shopping experience

More “Food for Thought” Regarding Supermarket Customer Experience

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… 

“Quick” Customer Experience Analysis

As you most likely know, “Omnichannel” refers to a type of retail that integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (i.e., online, in-store, phone…).

While some say the concept is just a fancier way of describing cross-channel sales, others profess that “Omnichannel” goes further to encompass the continuity of the shopping or customer experience (CX).

To further illustrate this perspective, Todd Leach
VP, Client Insights at Service Management Group (SMG), an organization that focuses on customer and employee experience, writes that Omnichannel is changing consumer expectations and, in one of his blog posts, suggests that “speed” is high on the expectation list.

“Above all else, speed means seamless,” Leach says. “…and the idea of seamless is the root of an Omnichannel experience. Customer information must be available across multiple touch points throughout the customer journey to help make interactions with your brand both efficient and effective. Remembering a customer’s most-purchased items makes checkout a breeze…  a push notification lets them open your app when they come near a store… one-click check-out saves customers from having to give the same information over and over again. These small details make a huge difference in a smooth and efficient customer experience—and that translates to a favorable brand perception and a boost in customer loyalty.”

It seems the online and in-store experiences are merging to better serve customers. The question is, will this ongoing evolution and the associated impact on the customer experience also drive customer loyalty?

 

The Experience Economy?

Continuing with our previous post’s topic of the “shopping experience,” a recent SupermarketNews article referenced an emerging trend called the “Experience Economy.”

According to the article, for a growing number of consumers it is simply not enough to provide competitive pricing, selection, and convenience. Instead, the article suggests, individuals are now seeking “memories” when shopping, which can come in the form of in-store education, additional services, entertainment, or other offerings that engage shoppers.

To simplify the planning process, it is recommended that supermarkets focus on four “quadrants” to enhance the shopping experience:

Entertainment. Live engagement with shoppers — such as cooking and pairing demonstrations, as well as wine and beer samplings.

Education. Examples of this could include in-store cooking classes, “stories” behind the sourcing and production of products, and meal ideas.

Esthetic. (spelled with an “e”) In-store amenities such as restaurants, wine bars, and cafés.

Escapism. Tasting new cuisine and flavors can mentally whisk shoppers off to new locales or inspire them to experiment with new ingredients.

Read the full article… 

Shopping Experience & Center Store Growth

An AMG Strategic Advisors report defines “Center Store” as: Packaged Food, Beverages, Health & Beauty Care, General Merchandise, and Home Care.

Industry insiders say that center store sales have declined over the past several years.

However, a recent SupermarketNews article shares some interesting perspectives on this issue; and while the piece acknowledges the fact that growing center store sales is difficult, it also suggests a simple approach to solving the problem.

The article quoted Scott Lewis, VP, operations, at Harmon City Inc. , who said, “The answer [to growing center store sales…] is focusing on the shopper experience.”

“One benefit of being an independent grocer is the ability to react quickly to new consumers and trends. It’s hard to go to Amazon and browse for a new product — but it’s easy to do in a store. We try to create a treasure hunt in our stores where you’re going to find something new in those center store aisles. That’s what people are looking for in their shopping experience.”

The article also suggests pairing like products with their fresh counterparts as another method for enhancing the shopping experience and, in so doing, growing center store sales.

Read the full article…

Driving Supermarket Shopping Experience: Aisle 411

You may be familiar with Aisle411, an indoor mapping, navigation and analytics tool which, according to the company web site, enables retailers to “get the most out of your mobile apps and physical venues… easily access data to make informed decisions, interact with guests and associates, and better plan your floor layout.”

The concept seems to have enjoyed some traction, as Supervalu, Schnucks and Walgreens (yes, Walgreens sells groceries!) are among the list of  featured customers on Aisle 411’s website.

The key premise is about improving the shopping experience and enticing shoppers to come into the store.

In a related video published in 2014, it is also suggested that the use of this mapping tool can increase basket size, and create a “whole new way to experience shopping in a store!”

Another example of how the customer experience is driving innovation and supermarket retail decision-making for engaging customers; and also how many supermarkets are preparing themselves to compete against some of the bigger or giant on-line sales organizations.

 

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.

More “E’s” Coming to SupErmarkEts?

A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Super Foods, an independent operator in southwest Alabama, is launching an online grocery program, which is scheduled to begin in mid-August, according to the e-commerce provider.

Said Lillian Wilson, the retailer’s HR director, “Our customers have been asking for online ordering, and we’re pleased to be able to give it to them.”

The online offering will make available Super Foods’ entire inventory, with online prices that will always match in-store prices and a choice of curbside pickup or home delivery for what it called “a small fee.”  The chain is also building a mobile shopping app that will sync with online ordering, including a built-in bar code scanner that will let shoppers scan any item to add instantly to their shopping cart.

Along similar lines, in a recent Viewpoints editorial author Andrew Levi suggests that supermarkets might “cash in” by making each trip to the store more fun and “engaging” via some type of app like “Pokémon Go.”

As you may well be aware, the game launched earlier this month and has become quite a phenomena!

“It’s no wonder that retailers, advertisers and marketers are already beginning to explore how to capitalize on this momentum by using lure modules on a “Pokéstop” in the game to attract more users to a certain area, such as a store location, so there are more Pokémon to catch,” said Levi.

Looks like the “E” trend in grocery shopping is continuing!

Supermarket “Personality!”

A recent discussion by a group of grocery executives focused on some big changes in the marketing and customer loyalty areas.

“When a customer visits your business, you’re not just selling the items on the shelf…,” says author .

“But rather the entire in-store experience, so make that experience exciting! Engage with your customers from the moment they walk through your doors.”

In a recent American Express Open article, Beightol listed a number of best practices for generating customer loyalty and engagement, which include:

  • Extend the relationship beyond the transaction through the use of social media
  • Make prudent use of “personalized” email messages promoting limited-time special offers or products of interest
  • Target lapsed customers through personalized email campaigns that highlight what’s different about your store
  • Send push notifications to loyalty program members
  • Recognize it is a consumer-driven world, and it is important to keep up! Refusing to innovate can be annoying to customers, which may prompt them to visit a more contemporary and convenient competitor next time around

“The goal should be to turn every customer into a loyal one,” says Beightol.

“How do you do that? Show the personality behind your brand!”

Hannaford Opening “Next Generation” Supermarket in NH?

A recent story posted at unionleader.com announced the opening of a “new concept” store in Bedford, NH by Hannaford Brothers.

Not only is it the chain’s biggest store in New Hampshire , but it also offers more amenities, including:

  • Made-to-order food to eat at the store or take out
  • Hannaford “on the go,” so shoppers can do their food shopping online and pick up at the store
  • Customized cutting of fruits and vegetables
  • A brew room with more than 230 kinds of craft beer
  • An extensive wine selection
  • A “grab-and-go area” for popular items

“This is going to be a learning laboratory to figure out just how effective certain services are when put together and offered in a large store,” Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom said. “This will really inform the design and remodels of large Hannaford stores in the future.”

Supermarkets Working to Enhance the Customer Experience!

A Sutherland white paper recently posted on retailcustomerexperience.com  reports that supermarkets and other retailers are combining traditional customer care activities with more progressive “customer experience” initiatives to drive a better overall shopping experience, customer loyalty, and profits.

Taking a view that customer care is not longer just a cost center, these retailers are enhancing the quality and frequency of key actions, including:

  • 1 on 1 customer interactions and using the information exchanged as a form of voice-of-the-customer data to impact decision making.  The report states that leading retailers use “journey mapping” to map the end-to-end customer experience. This helps identify problems when the process breaks down and opportunities to reduce “friction points.” In turn, retailers prevent revenue leakage and improve the overall customer experience.
  • Personalization via integrating data, technologies and analytics as part of customer care services. This personalization will become the future of customer care according to the report.
  • Social media to stay connected and promote more meaningful interaction and mind share.