WASHINGTON -- Oatmeal for breakfast, a good cookie under $1, a lot of variety in ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat items, and "unmessy foods" -- these are some of the things The Daily Market's customers have said they want.
tner Steven Krane surveyed their customers twice this summer. The first survey was run in May; the second was completed just before Labor Day. Those data, plus in-store observation, have prompted numerous tweakings, Masiello said.
At each store, about 1,000 questionnaires were given to customers at the checkout. The cashiers explained to customers what the survey was looking to accomplish, and told them if they brought the questionnaire back to the store completed, they would be given a coupon good for a free sandwich or a free smoothie.
The tactic netted a tremendous response. More than 300 at each store were returned.
"We acted on what they told us they wanted in the first survey," Masiello said, "and then in the second, we basically asked, 'How are we doing?' And I think they like it that they have a voice. Anyway, our sales continue to increase."
While the stores now offer a variety of muffins, bagels, breads, health bars and fruits for breakfast, they will soon add hot oatmeal to their menus because that's what customers said they wanted. Shoppers also said they wanted a variety of toppings to put on it and Masiello said The Daily Market will give them what they want.
They also voted for a good cookie, at about 75 cents. "I had brought in a cookie that I thought was great, but it was so great, the ingredients so top quality, that we had to charge $1.50 for them. I was wrong," Masiello said. "I may have liked it a lot, but our customers didn't want a great cookie. They wanted a good cookie for under a $1."
He added that he was lucky to sell two dozen a week of the $1.50 variety. Now, he's selling 10 dozen a day of the 75-cent ones.
Masiello also pointed out that he's learned from customers that the placement of a product, even in such a small store, can mean its life or death. After he bought a new self-service bagel fixture with lighting and moved it away from in front of the deli counter, bagel sales plummeted, he said.
"I think people came in, didn't see them where they were before, and just figured we don't have bagels anymore. Now we've moved the display up front. Customers can see it right away when they come in and sales are on their way up again," he said.
Figuring that fine-tuning would be a given, The Daily Market owners have most of their fixtures -- including the trendy-looking bagel display fixture -- on wheels so they can move them around in the store.
Packaging, too, that has been revised in order to keep sending a message of freshness.
"We found that if the packaging was too sharp looking, customers thought it was institutional, like packed in a factory. We had black containers with dome tops and a band around them, but even that was not good. So we've gone to mostly hinged, totally clear plastic. The only label is from our scales. They think it's fresher and it's less expensive for us," Masiello said.