Not having any prescriptions myself, I am not always up on the latest in drug store marketing and systems. When this announcement was made, I thought to check in on grocery store delivery and whether or not the chains that have drug stores include prescriptions in their delivery schemes. I only checked Safeway's website, but they do include prescriptions in their delivery program. Obviously that's something that supermarkets need to better market.
Decades ago I worked for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group. I left after having lost a battle about direction. I ran into some of the people a couple years later, and we argued about the failure of the Dr. Koop health video series in the early to mid 1990s. They were sold at CVS I think. The guy who beat me out said they failed because "the videos were too much Koop." I disagreed. I said "no one goes to a pharmacy like CVS for 'health services,' they just go to buy stuff." Well, CVS is changing this reality, they have the potential to reposition as "health stores." This possible hook up with Aetna allows them to redirect and reconfigure the "product-service system" in a variety of ways that could be quite innovative.
Remember the college students who started a "food concept" offering cereal all day in cafes near college campuses and then other locations? It got a lot of press, but never went anywhere. I looked it up recently and found not one such existing store in the U.S., but someone doing something similar in the UK. Yes, innovation should be celebrated, but not all ideas are good or worth pursuing. E.g., Bismarck's quote: "Fools learn from experience, I prefer to profit from the experience of others."
I suppose you could charge for doing laundry (but then why bother lugging it to the store?), but offering "points" towards purchasing items, not unlike how "gasoline points" work as part of grocery store loyalty programs. Still, it seems like a lot of work for little payoff.
Yes, initiatives that are congruent make sense, incongruent ideas don't. When I was in college, I worked in the student run peer counseling office. It had the only soda machine in the building, so we had lots of "traffic" into the office. It was an old coke machine c. 1970s (this was almost 40 years ago), noisy as hell. I said it was a distraction and we should get rid of it, that it was too noisy and the constant unrelated foot traffic interfered with the counseling environment we wanted to create. This laundry idea is comparable. It will cost a lot of money to operate, and there is no guarantee people will buy stuff. Since selling stuff (or services) is the point of retail, it doesn't make sense. Could AE set up branded laundries where people pay money but have a better environment, in college towns? Sure. Even then it would be a distraction in all likelihood.
Kroger could divide their c-store portfolio into two: one traditional (cigarettes, beer, gas) and the other with growth opportunities in denser settings, and completely rebrand and reposition the latter, comparable to the bfresh initiative by Royal Ahold.
Personally, I agree but don't think they have the transformational capacity to execute on c-stores like you suggest. cf. the Parker's convenience store in the Old Historic District of Savannah, a one-off for that company that is pretty amazing and a model for urban settings, the new WaWa urban initaitive, convenience store-food delivery stores like Yummy in Greater Los Angeles, GetGo, etc. (Then again, I thought Safeway should have marketed their sodas in vending machines like they did outside of one store on Capitol Hill in DC, a couple of decades ago.) Not to mention the capability to serve as BOPIS pick up sites, etc.
Mostly I bicycle but have been using car shares lately. Safeway's program provides up to $1 per gallon benefits only at Safeway-owned gas stations. The benefits at the traditional company participant (Shell) are much less (but still nice enough considering you'd be buying groceries anyway).
Related to the previous discussion last week, Kroger is a good competitive company. They have many of the pieces to be a transformational company, but don't operate to that level. Convenience stores are a good example. They have been in the sector for decades. But the real innovation in convenience stores is with companies like Wawa and Sheetz. Similarly, Giant-Eagle's GetGo brand showcases G-E brands, including Market District, and G-E is even launching smaller Market District-branded stores that are grand in the scheme of convenience stores. Kroger has the pieces but not the vision. If they are not likely to commit to taking a visionary approach to the c-store business, they might as well monetize what they have.
Interesting points. Kroger more than other companies has been good at not ruining companies it acquires, unlike Safeway under Steve Burd. (We'll see with Albertsons. I've never been into a United Supermarkets banner, which they acquired, and there have been some bad changes at Safeway in the DC area, although after a year of falling way behind on price, they seem to be refocused.)The "marketplace" format is a way to box out Walmart/Target and could probably be deployed more widely. The Royal Ahold bfresh experiment is one they could probably learn from too.However, unlike H-E-B (Central Market) and Giant-Eagle (Market District), they don't seem to have an upscale concept going head to head with Whole Foods and Wegmans. In fact with the entry of Publix and Wegmans to Hampton Roads/Richmond, they've cut back on store expansion. Still, they bought Mariano's and they've done their Main & Vine experiment.They are experimenting with hard discounting, but focused on lower-income demographics, not higher-income demographics. But they are adding meal kits, investing in price so that it is noticeable, doing delivery, etc. (In a comment on a Supermarket News article opining about Kroger and Royal Ahold joining up, I suggested Kroger could start by buying half of Peapod and rolling it out as own-brand home delivery).But yes, given the competition they need to do more and be faster.
When I was a child living in a neighborhood in Detroit I was pretty small. So when people would lock themselves out of their house, they'd have me crawl through their "milk chute" -- installed back when home delivery of milk (Detroit also had a great juice delivery company called Home Juice Co. and I still remember their papaya juice 50 years later ... ) and open the door to the house.Reconfiguring houses/installing "package chutes" would make all of this a lot easier. I remember what, 10 years ago, there was discussion about Amazon lockers for the home, long before the more centralized locker systems set up by Amazon, UPS and others. But nothing came of it. As apartment buildings are installing package lockers, such can be reinstalled in houses too.
I followed F&E from afar. As a center city proponent, I expected Tesco to make F&E a city-focused concept given their European roots. Obviously they didn't go in that direction. Interestingly, Ahold's bfresh concept could be considered a more finely tuned F&E, decidedly focused on center city-like locations.The issue of whether or not "the country needs another house brand hard discounter" is actually open. Aldi is great for staples and produce and products that have universal recipes (mustard, mayo, etc.). Their own-brand products mostly aren't worth purchasing a second time with some exceptions (hummus, they seem to have finally introduced a decent tortilla chip).Plus their stores aren't very fun. Lidl could deliver an attractive store and truly quality private brand products, in better locations, and would do fine.
Yes, you're right that Aldi has a huge advantage in terms of presence. Howerver, Lidl does seem to have a potential advantage (a la Alexander Gerschenkron's "economic advantages of backwardness") in terms of presenting hard discounting in a better package in more central locations. Most Aldi locations are in economically lagging areas. And the buildings are dowdy — their stock design, even though they are investing in interior improvements.Lidl buildings look more design forward, and they could focus on inner suburban and urban locations, maybe being a Trader Joe's version of hard discounting vis a vis Aldi (and Save A Lot stores, which tend to be exceptionally grim).But we don't see necessarily that kind of store location strategy being undertaken by Lidl and that could cost them.
Hmm. It's ACE HARDware, sure. But really it's ACE HOMEware — making your house great. (e.g., I read an interview with the person who became the CEO of Ulta and she shocked the people when she was interviewing for the job, when she said Ulta isn't about cosmetics. They said, "What do you mean? How could you say that?" and she responding something like, "You're selling beauty," reminding me of the line from a Billy Bragg song: "A busy girl buys beauty, a pretty girl buys style, but a simple girl buys what she's told to buy").So more "home" products can make sense, albeit the merchandising and marketing issues presented as mentioned by others.