When legacy grocery retailers have lost touch with the consumer you never know what they are going to do next. The undercurrents of customer migration from legacy grocery store chains the ilk of Winn Dixie, Supervalu, Kroger, and Publix too Aldi, WinCo, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods has been well documented. The value proposition consumers are attracted to more and more continue to be Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka the Grocerant Niche.
So when Tim Lowe, president Lowes Foods a 100-store chain, stated that Lowes is “less interested in being an incrementally better grocery store and more interested in creating “something different and unique in the grocery experience overall,”. We thought great Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat here they come.
We were wrong. During an interview with a local TV reporter (video posted online), “Lowe said the company is striving for what he calls “retail-tainment,” which includes in-store experiences to make shopping more stimulating. "If you need to get in and out quickly, you can do that,” he said. “But if you want to come and bring your kids and be able to have an experience, you can do that as well.”
Ignoring the fact that consumers continue to be attracted to food retailers focused on the 5 P’s of food marketing. Tim Lowe does not have one concept he says “We have 100 different concepts,” that Lowes intends to roll out to additional locations over the next few months.
Here is a list of just some of the experiences being offered at the company’s concept flagship store:
• A “chicken dance,” in which employees and any willing customers flap their arms and wiggle their rear-ends every time a rotisserie chicken comes out of the oven.
• A “sausage professor” who creates new varieties — such as peanut butter sausage —with the help of shoppers’ children, who get to push buttons and turn knobs to help develop the unusual flavor combinations.
• A “beer den” where customers can sample craft beers and buy their favorites in 64-ounce jugs.
• A “community table” for meetings or cooking demonstrations.
• A “pick and prep” area, where customers can select the produce of their choice and have it cut, trimmed or chopped to their standards by store personnel.
• The name of a local street instead of a number at each checkstand to keep the emphasis on local — a theme carried throughout the store, with more than 2,500 local products for sale.
The Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food niche continues to expand too C-stores, Chain Drug stores, Liquor stores, new non-traditional outlets, and of course restaurants. How many concepts are you focused on? Here is one clue: When food retailers build a maze, they end up with footprint malaise.
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant scorecard, brand, or product placement assistance. Since 1991 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869 Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant