Will growing competition in Florida slow Publix as it heads north?
Publix is one of the most successful grocery chains in the U.S. In recent years, it has used the solid foundation (781 stores) in its home market of Florida to expand up the East Coast. While some articles have questioned whether strong competitors such as Wegmans will slow the Publix advance northward, it has been widely assumed that the chain had little to worry about back home, but perhaps that isn’t the case.
Based on a Tampa Bay Times report, Publix is being forced by a diverse group of new and old competitors including Aldi, Earth Fare, Lucky’s Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, The Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Whole Foods and others to up its game as great service, delicious sub sandwiches and BOGO deals are no longer enough to keep customers loyal.
Publix has responded by becoming more active on social media. Last summer, RetailWire reported on The Publix Checkout, a company blog written by employees across the grocer’s organization on topics including community initiatives, holiday entertaining, health and wellness, recipes, sustainability and more. Publix is also active on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
It has also partnered with Instacart, a third-party app-based grocery delivery service, to offer online shopping to its customers in Miami and Tampa Bay.
The chain is also engaged in a pilot program opening Starbucks shops inside its stores. Last week, Publix opened a Starbucks inside a store in South Tampa. It is the second Publix to house a Starbucks café and a company spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Business Journal that there could potentially be dozens of others that open.
- Solid customer service no longer enough for Publix as competition heats up – Tampa Bay Times
- As Publix opens Starbucks inside South Tampa store, dozens more are in the pipeline – Tampa Bay Business Journal
- Will a blog help Publix make social connections with customers? – RetailWire
- Will Wegmans take Publix on in Florida? – RetailWire
- Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is there a potential for Publix to have its expansion sidetracked by increasing competition in Florida? What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for Publix going forward?