Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Stew Leonard's Grocerant Growth Success


Stew Leonard’s grocery stores are the best in the grocery store sector at being consumer focused and interactive according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Regular readers of this blog know that Stew Leonard’s ability to evolve with consumers, providing both Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food with the ‘halo’ of ‘better-for-you’ is key to their continued success and brand electricity.

Consumer want solutions to meal time that save time without having to give up bold new flavors or food quality according to Johnson. Now Stew Lenard’s is bringing its catering business online, with a seamless extension of its in-store operation, from catering order placement through checkout and preferred pickup method.

Wanting a more personalized customer experience than other food retailers are offering currently, Stew Leonard’s enlisted e-commerce specialist GrocerKey to bring its catering business online. Regional chains can benefit from a partnership with a technology platform specialist rather than try to build out a solution on their own. These partnerships can save both time and money for the retailer, while building customer relevance and new brand electricity.

The GrocerKey online grocery platform now drives StewLeonardsCatering.com, (Stew Leonard’s new catering website). With the solution, Stew Leonard’s goal is to enhance the end-to-end catering experience for customers, from more responsive and personalized ordering to improved order management, fulfillment and analytics according to a GroceryKey spokesperson.

So, get this, GrocerKey developed specialized functionality for catering meal solutions, including the ability for customers to choose side dishes, indicate whether they want items hot or cold upon pickup, and make off-menu requests. Then on the service side of the equation, GrocerKey bolstered its order management and fulfillment system with a mobile app to push out text message alerts with order and customer updates to the culinary and catering staff as well as to store greeters, enabling them to better assist Stew Leonard’s shoppers with order pickup.

GrocerKey developed specialized functionality enabling Stew Leonard's catering customers to choose side dishes, specify items to be hot or cold upon pickup, and make off-menu requests.

According to President and CEO Stew Leonard Jr., GrocerKey’s technology provided a seamless extension of its in-store catering operation, from order placement through checkout and preferred pickup method.

“GrocerKey customized our new catering site from the ground up," Leonard said in a statement. “More importantly, they helped to translate our legendary in-store customer service onto an e-commerce platform.”

Regional powerhouse Stew Leonard’s is known for its fresh and prepared foods and “family fun” interactive participatory shopping experience, Stew Leonard’s operates seven supermarkets in three states, including in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington, Conn.; Yonkers, Farmingdale and East Meadow, N.Y.; and Paramus, N.J.

In a Battle for 

Share of Stomach

Get this, GrocerKey noted that integrated analytics and reporting allow Stew Leonard’s to better track catering business performance and optimize operations and the customer experience. In addition, the platform facilitates digital merchandising of meal offerings, including special events and promotions; expansion of the online assortment and menu options; and more convenient checkout. Extended fulfillment windows enable customers to order up to six months in advance and edit orders up to 24 hours before pickup.

Jeremy Neren, CEO and co-founder of GrocerKey, stated, “Catering is a complex e-commerce offering, especially when delivering hot and cold meal items,” … “With Stew Leonard’s, we collaborated to develop an e-commerce platform that guides customers seamlessly through ordering to pick up and provides an optimal online experience that keeps the retailer top-of-mind for their catering needs.”

Going forward, Stew Leonard’s plans to offer local delivery for online catering orders and implement “smart kitchen” technology for more efficient catering operations, GrocerKey said, adding that it’s also working with the chain to launch an online gifting platform with similar capabilities. How are you creating new electricity?

According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.

For international corporate presentations, regional chain presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert, and public speaking will leave success clues for all. For more information visit GrocerantGuru.com, FoodserviceSolutions.US or call 1-253-759-7869

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