Reversing the Loss of 'Personality'
to a time when the unique characteristics of a retailer are what set it apart in the industry, making points of differentiation increasingly important in the face of price-oriented competition. Four decades ago, retailers were already giving thought to how to set themselves apart.
A June 20, 1960, SN front-page story lamented the loss of personality in design, advertising and promotion among supermarkets. Among the suggestions for helping retailers stand out was creating a low-cost image, a strategy that is obviously still in play today. But other industry observers warned that price and convenience advertising had run their course. A number of strategies were offered to help strengthen individuality in stores.
Suggested strategies included staging unique in-store events, improving customer relations and motorizing produce displays. The largest number of suggestions for giving stores a unique character was the addition of services like lunch counters, delicatessens, dry cleaners and pharmacies.
The tune retailers sing about what their perimeter extras should be may have changed in the intervening decades, but the need for retailers to create a unique identity has not diminished as variations of those suggestions made 40 years ago are often the answer to today's competition.