How do supermarkets get cheap and great?

26 Nov 2014 6:14 PM -

Customers want low prices but they want a good shopping experience too. The conundrum for retailers the world over is how to deliver low prices, whilst at the same time, controlling the biggest cost of all - store labour. We can take some lessons from the US. Trader Joes and Wholefoods have succeeded where Walmart has failed.

 The recent study published in the US by Market Force put Walmart at the bottom of the list of America’s favourite grocery stores when polled amongst 6600 shoppers. Perhaps there is no surprise here. Walmart’s dismal customer satisfaction woes have been all over the US news of late. Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods, however, got the thumbs up as the US’s favourite grocery stores.

 How do they do it? They innovate in the area of store operations to find smart ways to save labour costs. Both Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods are using electronic shelf labeling to save staffing effort in changing prices and are redirecting it to customer value add areas. The results speak for themselves.

 Market Force attributes “Operational Excellence” as the real driver of differentiation amongst the grocers. Operational Excellence delivers four key shopper benefits: cleanliness; accurate pricing; courteous staff and fast check-outs. It’s in these important areas that Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods have performed so well.

Joe Blundell is a Director of Mirador, a leading company in technology solutions for retailers in Australia

Whatever your retail challenge, chances are someone has found a solution and already successfully implemented it in an overseas market.

Mirador’s reason for being is to explore innovative retail technology across the globe and to facilitate ideas that are successful for overseas retailers here in Australia