Viewpoints

Supermarkets Can Add Appeal to Shopping

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While retailers have been doing a great job of helping make cooking easier for customers — by offering meal ideas, demos and value-added products — there’s room to focus more on making the actual shopping experience more pleasant.

For instance, at Fields Foods, a supermarket that’s opening next month in St. Louis, shoppers can have someone at the store do their shopping for them if they buy a glass of wine or a beer at the tasting bar.

Plenty of supermarkets provide shopping services, but there’s something more alluring about sitting and sipping a beer than just picking up groceries from the curb.

Or what about driving traffic to the prepared food department with a free half order of a specialty side dish for each customer? Several New York bars have had success with offering free food — hot dogs or pizza — with every beer. Plus, customers are likely to make impulse purchases while they are hungry and already in the deli department.

Supermarkets can look to IKEA for inspiration on creating a self-sustaining shopping ecosphere. Parents can drop off kids in a supervised play area for free for an hour. The new IKEA loyalty card bumps that time up to an hour and a half.

Hungry? No problem, IKEA has a children’s menu in its extra cheap cafeteria. Also, the cafeteria seems to be well trafficked by adults.


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Raley’s, too, at select stores has had a free playcare center open all day while parents are shopping. While a full-time supervised play area might be difficult for most retailers to manage, they could look at a couple hours a night at peak times for a $5 charge. Or, simply hosting events for kids could encourage parents to spend money in the store.

Stew Leonard’s holds 90-minute to two-hour cooking classes for $25, instilling an interest in cooking in these young consumers while also freeing parents up during that time to get their food shopping done. 

Even just acknowledging kids’ needs can make a difference. Last year, Dahl’s rolled out stations for children where they could grab a snack for a quarter. Kids can look forward to getting an orange, box of raisins, chocolate square or fruit leather.

Whether catering to customers with or without children, an extra service can be enough to make your store stand out from the competition.

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Contributors

Julie Gallagher

Julie Gallagher’s delicious foray into coverage of the food industry was purely accidental. With a background in technology, she joined Supermarket News as associate editor of its Technology...

Mark Hamstra

Mark Hamstra is the editor of the Retail/Financial section of Supermarket News covering mergers and acquisitions, quarterly earnings reports, executive changes and other significant events and trends...
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In their Viewpoints columns, SN editors give their perspectives on current industry issues.

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