Monday, June 7, 2010

Safeway Lifestyle stores are examples of integrated category management and Grocerant success.

Viscerally attractive with interactive mix and match ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food components, Safeway is building a successful future. Coupled with inside seating, fireplace, CNN on the large flat panel TV; Safeway’s lifestyle stores are evolving faster than Kroger, A & P and Walmart. Utilizing an integrated category management approach with a focus on the customer, fresh prepared food and meal component bundling it is easy to see why customers are returning to Safeway.

Beginning with a contemporary sandwich station, hot Chinese food station, sushi station, soda fountain/with free refills (Coke Cola) or consumer can visit the Starbucks kiosk; Safeway is moving from a legacy deli while skipping the food court and moved head first into the grocerant niche. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food is fully integrated into and active category management plan with Safeway’s newest remodeled store in Washington State.

Walmart recently added digital signage to select end caps within their stores. Digital visceral attractiveness is a contemporary standard in food retailing Walmart is doing a good job with it. Safeway is missing the boat particularly in the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food area with digital signage.

On the other hand Walmart obviously focused on the “center store” has missed a huge opportunity to build customer delight and meet the consumer focused demand for quality fresh prepared meal options within what many legacy operators continue to call deli. Upon recent visits in multiple states Walmart’s deli harkens back to the early 70’s with a miss guided attempt by grocery retailers even think about quality fresh prepared food offerings and customer service.

Kroger is utilizing an incremental approach enhancing continually the fresh prepared food offerings. It appears however that incremental approach may not be sufficient enough to hold consumers in the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant niche. Safeway, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Central Market and HEB are all moving with the consumer or are a step ahead.

Supermarkets, Convenience stores and Restaurants all must avoid unwittingly practicing Brand Protectionism and saying no to items that consumer come to expect. Visceral attractiveness is now as important as cleanliness and service. The Grocerant sector is leveraging digital informational tools that sell freshness, attractiveness contemporary relevance.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

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