This concept has potential as it represents the convergence of several hot trends. First, c-store chains are almost all in growth mode as they enhance their experience through better design and food offerings in attempt to capture the increasing spend of eating out. Second is the growing popularity of fresh, organic and farm-to-table concepts as we become more conscious about the quality of our food and where it comes from. Third, the concept also fits with the expanding utilization of pop-up shops, which allow retailers to test and build new markets with less financial risk.
The success or failure of Farm Stores will come down to the three most important considerations for all retailers -- location, location, location.
I applaud Lowe’s efforts to stay relevant in the digital world of retail, and much of their focus has been on customer convenience. However, the home improvement and DIY market is best served with a personal touch. DIY shoppers often need advice and guidance when it comes their projects. None of the big box home improvement stores have adequate staff on the sales floor, and only a few of the them are knowledgeable about construction.
When one considers the continual performance of retailers that are known to invest in their people and culture, such as H-E-B, Publix, Wegmans, Costco, QuikTrip, etc., is there any doubt that such investments will be beneficial to both the customer and the company? I completely agree with some of the previous comments that higher wages alone won’t lead to improvement, but when coupled with an emphasis on the importance of people, and a sense of purpose, it will absolutely have an impact. While shareholders may make sacrifices in the short term, they will benefit from the investment in the long run.
If the technology works as well as their promotional video suggests, I think this will be a game changer for the entire retail industry. There have been other attempts to allow customers to scan their items with their cell phone, and then have them charged directly to their account. However, those earlier attempts did not provide enough protection to the retailer against the potential for shoplifting. This technology seems to provide that protection to the retailer, while offering greater convenience to the consumer. Like others who have commented in this thread, the accuracy and efficiency of the technology will determine the ultimate success.
From a personal standpoint, I get tired of being bombarded with commercial interests, whether it’s billboards, television advertisements or emails. I think that retailers need to be conservative in their frequency of emails. If I do business with a company, and then start receiving daily or multiple emails each week, I quickly mark them as spam. It also makes me hesitant about doing business with them again.
While malls need to enhance their appeal as a destination, providing a “community gathering place” does not insure success. Landlords and retail tenants both need to earn a profit in order to justify and pay for their expenses. So, I believe that commerce will continue to be the primary focus for them both. Fortunately, people are willing to pay for food and entertainment.
Undoubtedly, many retailers must integrate online shopping into their branding and business strategies. Keep in mind, though, it costs lots of money to package an item and ship it to a sole customer. Despite Amazon’s success, their profits remain low. The instant gratification experienced when one is able to buy a product off of the shelf is also a major driver that sends customers to stores. So, I am very skeptical of the idea that retailers will be more successful by offering experience in effort to drive more transactions to their online platform, while sacrificing more profitable in-store sales.