Will miniature Meijers be a big hit?
In the last few years, a wave of national grocers have experimented with small concept stores to break into urban environments and, as the strategy is proving successful for retailers like Target, regional grocers are following suit. Now one of the biggest names in Midwest grocery has announced the launch of a second small concept store in one of its major Michigan markets.
Meijer announced plans to open its new store early next year in Royal Oak, MI, according to the Detroit Free Press. Described as a neighborhood market-style location with an open, airy layout, the 40,000-square-foot store will be called Woodward Corner Market by Meijer. The assortment will include products from 2,000 local artisans, featuring popular regional favorites like the Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s bakery. The store will be located in a pedestrian-friendly area and will have a coffee shop and an outdoor fresh produce and floral section.
Last year, Meijer opened its first small store, called Bridge Street Market, in downtown Grand Rapids near where the chain is headquartered.
Meijer is renowned for being a pioneer in supercenter grocery and in “one-stop shopping,” but has been shaking up its suburb-oriented formula as it works to remain competitive in today’s grocery landscape.
Dipping its toe into small concepts is not the only move Meijer has made to get more contemporary. A few years ago, the chain began what it called an “aggressive push” into redesigning its large format stores in key markets with more modern layouts, according to Produce Retailer. By 2017 it had remodeled about a quarter of its stores.
Meijer has been pursuing upgrades on the technological level as well. Last year after a successful six-store pilot, the chain announced the broad rollout of a shop and scan smartphone app that can be used in all 235 of its locations. Such technology has grown popular with Meijer’s national rivals like Walmart and Kroger as grocers work to streamline the checkout process.
In 2017, Meijer revamped its IT operations, migrating from in-house infrastructure to a third-party cloud tech vendor leveraging the cloud.
- Meijer promising different look and feel at new Royal Oak store – Detroit Free Press
- Meijer works to keep up with Kroger and Walmart with ‘Shop & Scan’ tech – RetailWire
- INTERACTIVE: See before and after Meijer’s remodel – Produce Retailer
- Meijer cuts IT staff as it moves to the cloud – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will launching small, urban, hyperlocal store concepts be as important for regional superstore retailers like Meijer as it is for major chains like Target? What are the keys for retailers such as Meijer when it comes to making small stores work?