Redesigning Supermarkets to Better Engage Shoppers
By Al McClain
We know consumers are all about VALUE and PRICE these days and are watching
every penny. Yet, Kevin Kelley, Founding Partner and Principal of Shook
Kelley, reminded the audience at an FMI Customer Connect workshop this week that
consumers still snap up items like iPhones, iPads, gourmet coffee, and tickets
to Avatar, spending money when they really want something. Kelley
believes consumers have become internet-empowered experts at categorizing products
as commodities or products that provide meaningful experiences. So,
retailers either have to become proficient commodity sellers or drive sensory
rich experiences that connect with consumers physically, socially and emotionally.
supermarkets often look old-fashioned — laid out with long, narrow
aisles, accompanied by old-fashioned signage, lighting, and merchandising.
Consumers hurry in and out of these stores as fast as they can. Kelley
advises recreating the shopping experience and cited several examples of brands
and retailers that were able to re-engage shoppers by breaking up traffic flow
and encouraging shoppers to linger in more appealing spaces.
redesign of Nabisco cookie and cracker sections, for instance, made them
look more like kitchens, complete with kitchen tables, drawers, wood strips
and menu cards. Female shoppers in particular felt that the areas reminded
them of home and that they felt neat, attractive and unique. “Bump
outs” were added to aisles to break the traditional pattern and literally
give shoppers the opportunity to pull their carts out of traffic to linger. Passageways
were created between aisles to create more random traffic flows and encourage
shoppers to meander instead of barreling down an aisle in a hurry to get
went up in double digits.
- Kelley feels the front end often provides
a terrible experience for shoppers, who see the checkout as a loading dock
and actually develop “line rage” as they wait for pokey shoppers
to write checks, pick a line, etc. Since retailers really can’t make
the checkout process fast enough to meet shoppers’ standards, the
idea is to redesign the area to better entertain shoppers while they are
in line and give them opportunities to pick up “grab and go” items.
stores have problems too, and often are designed in hodge-podge fashion.
They have merchandising elements that don’t work together, and their food
offerings and consumption areas have limited appeal. Meanwhile,
operators like Trader Joe’s and
Fresh & Easy are doing a good job of providing quality food and a convenient
experience. Kelley suggests redesigning c-stores so that they are circular,
with a sense of movement, and focusing on key sections with L-shaped pods
rather than traditional aisles.
So, it really comes down to making the store look better,
either one aisle or category at a time, or via redesigning the whole store.
Still, a May 10 article in Supermarket News makes the case that in order
to appeal to ‘convenience
shoppers,’ supermarkets need to make the store easier to shop, which
could mean helping shoppers get in and out more quickly, vs. encouraging them
where Kelley and Bill Bishop (quoted in the SN article) seem to agree
is the idea of putting items such as milk, bread, and commonly purchased items
near the front to improve ease of shopping. In this same article, John Rand
of Management Ventures notes that “the store is set up to be efficient
for the operator, not for the shopper.”
Discussion Questions: Should supermarkets be redesigned to encourage shoppers
to linger or to get them in and out more quickly? What should operators
consider when thinking about redesigning sections of the store vs. overhauling
the entire store?
- SN examines 10 common varieties of the modern grocery shopper and how retailers
can meet their needs – Supermarket News
- Buehler Foods Redesign – Rebrand