Grocers Just Want Shoppers to Have Fun
By George Anderson
Kate Lowery, a spokesperson for Whole Foods, said her company wants to make shopping for groceries more enjoyable for customers.
“Americans love to eat and they love to shop, so why don’t they love to shop for food? We’re out to change that,” she told the Baltimore Sun. “Food shopping is going to become a lot more fun.”
Whole Foods is not alone in thinking that it can significantly improve its business by moving grocery shopping a few pegs down below going to the dentist on consumers’ lists of things they don’t want to do.
The natural foods grocer, said Ms. Lowery, is going theatrical with its approach to visual merchandising and product selection. Its new store at Columbus Circle in Manhattan includes a food court filled with comfort foods and hot dishes of Asian, Indian and Latin America.
Kevin Armata, chief executive officer of Windsor Marketing Group said, “If you ask me, the mall is now being replaced by the supermarket. I can buy a toilet seat at my supermarket, and sheets. It’s not uncommon to find retirees having a cup of coffee at a Starbucks in a little alcove at the grocery. This is about destination – not drudgery.”
For some customers, drudgery means having to wait in long checkout lines. Stores are increasingly turning to self-checkouts to give shoppers the option of being rung up by a cashier or doing it themselves.
Mr. Armata envisions stores where checkouts are left totally to the customer. “Some stores will open with totally no cashiers. It’s like ATMs. I’ve been to a bank where I saw 25 ATMs and no tellers.”
Moderator’s Comment: Will making the shopping trip more enjoyable for customers significantly increase the amount of dollars they spend in grocery stores?
George Anderson – Moderator