The Supermarket Strategist 3/27

Customer complaints are a part of the every day in our business.  It’s how you deal with them that makes all the difference.  Take a look at some statistics:  It takes 12 positive service incidences to make up for one negative one; The average wronged customer will tell 8–16 people about his or her experience; 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again; however 70% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor; 95% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint instantly.  The statistics speak for themselves.  A fast and proactive resolution in the customer’s favor is always the way to go…Kevin Ruddy

CUSTOMER INSIGHT
Customers Return Where They Feel Connected. 
Customers’ willingness to return to your store depends only partly on their need for your products and services. If your customers are not pleased with the services you offer, they could easily choose another competitor. Never take your customers for granted. They shop where they feel connected, where they feel a sense of belonging, and where they are treated with respect.

DID YOU KNOW
America’s first Supermarket 
The Smithsonian Institution recognizes King Kullen as America’s first supermarket.  Their research concludes that King Kullen’s first store in Jamaica, Queens in New York City opening in 1930 fulfilled the supermarket criteria of “self-service, separate product departments, discount pricing, marketing and volume selling.” >Read More
(Historical information submitted by Lloyd Singer)

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The Supermarket Strategist 2/26

Do your customers know who you are?
As customers walk your store, do they recognize you and your management team? Could they call you or your team by name? A visible management team is essential. In fact, a practice used by many larger retailers is to proudly display photographs of their management team.
Tip: On a wall in a prominent position, place framed professionally photographed pictures of yourself and your team. With the photos you also need to include names and titles. This will easily convey to your customers who is in charge and positively affect their shopping experience…Kevin Ruddy

Promotional Programs
Gather the Data

The right promotion needs the right partnership. Inform your vendors and suppliers about your promotional plans. Let them know that you would like to include their products in your special promotions. Many could offer a variety of assistance in a wide range of categories including signage, marketing, merchandising and even contests. You’ll never know who your best promotional partners will be until you inquire and let them know you’re interested.

Growing Your Business
Food Safety Modernization Act

According to new FDA legislation, Distributors and Manufacturers will be required to keep control of their inventory recalls and know what products were shipped to which clients. Failure to comply with the new standards will result in severe penalties and a complete recall of all shipments for that period.
To read more, please click here:>smcdata.com

Fun Facts
ShopRite’s iconic “Can Can” sales promotion is celebrating its 41st anniversary. For years this promotion has successfully driven customers back to their stores after the holiday season, offering stock-up products at deep discounts. Read More.

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The Supermarket Strategist 1/29

An advisory board made up of customers? When Northeast grocery store leader Stew Leonard’s is looking for customer insight, they talk to their customers. Each week store management schedules a focus group discussion with their shoppers where in a casual environment they discuss their customer’s needs, wants and desires. This is one of their company’s core competencies that contribute to its success.

CLICK HERE, to watch an interview with owner Stew Leonard and his philosophy on customer insight…Kevin Ruddy

Growing Your Business
Know Your Competitors
You should plan a thorough fact finding analysis of your major competitors on an ongoing basis. The information you collect and track should include:
Store hours, market basket, customer demographics, store services, promotions, estimated sales, associate attitude and social media.

Store Operations
Is your signage effective?
There will be times when you and your associates will be busy, and unable to give the same level of customer service that you normally provide. Effective signage can help provide information that customers need in order to find what they are looking for, and to make buying decisions. Whether it is information about your sales promotions or store services, take the time to review your signage to ensure your customers encounter a more enjoyable shopping experience.

Up Coming Events
Looking for some interesting late winter travel?
Plan a quick getaway around one of these upcoming events. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy some fabulous cities and expand your business opportunities as well.

NGA Show, Feb. 10th -13th, Las Vegas, NV
MEATXPO’13, Feb. 10th -13th, Las Vegas, NV
Global Pet Expo, Feb. 20th – 22nd, Orlando, FL
AFFI Frozen Food Convention, Feb. 23rd – 27th, Anaheim, CA
Annual Meat Conf., Feb. 24th – Feb. 26th, Nashville, TN

Did You Know?
Where did the self-checkout system first appear?
It is believed that the first supermarket self-checkout system appeared in 1992 at a Price Chopper Supermarket in Clifton Park, NY. Almost 20 years later there are over 100,000 self-checkouts in the US alone.

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The Supermarket Strategist 01/15

“Without promotion something terrible happens…Nothing!”
That’s what P.T. Barnum said. It makes a lot of sense. I bet you never thought of it, but you can actually make the analogy that a supermarket is very similar to a circus – people, food, music, entertainment, promotion and sales. By planning events and promotions that are exciting and original, you will drive consumers to your “Circus.” P.T. Barnum was fairly successful. You’ll be in good company…Kevin Ruddy

Growing Your Business
Start planning now, here are some thought starters for promotional theme development for the month of March. These themes afford you the opportunities to promote Frozen Foods, Healthy Choices, and even St. Patrick’s Day excitement.

National Frozen Foods Month
National Sauce Month
National Peanut Butter
National Nutrition Month
National Women’s History Month
National Employee Spirit Month
National Save Your Vision Month
Girl Scout Week, March 7 – 13
Employee Appreciation Day, March
Daylight Savings, March
St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th
Spring Begins, March 20
Passover March 26
Easter March 31

Research Resources
Looking for information pertaining to demographics, consumer trends, or government support? With hundreds of counsels and institutes willing to share information with you, how do you find them? You could start with a google search, searching and scrolling through hundreds of pages of unrelated content, or save time and frustrations by using my “Research Resource Guide.”

This time saving guide contains direct website links to:
Government Agencies
Food Institutes
Agriculture Organizations
Trade Magazines
Trade Council
 Research
   >Click here

Market Research
Market Basket: One of the major ways stores get into trouble on pricing is by not paying attention, either to their own prices or to that of their competition. Over time prices will drift, so you don’t want to aim too high or too low. Suggestion: Put into place a monthly market basket. Survey your store’s top 50 consumer products and compare them to your competition.

Fun Trivia

Birds Eye, introduces the 1st precooked frozen meals,1939.
King Soopers, begins offering S&H Green Stamps, 1950.
Quaker Oats, introduces Aunt Jemima frozen waffles, 1959.
The first Wal-Mart opens in Fayetteville, AR, 1962.

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The Supermarket Strategist 11/15

The Holiday Season Is Here!
With the Holiday Season starting next week, I can’t stress the importance of the next few days. Will you be at the top of your game? Now is the opportune time to WOW your customers with exceptional service! Your customers will be judging your store(s) and if you serve their needs they will reward you with their loyalty! Send the message that you care and appreciated their business. Here are a few last minute tips…Kevin Ruddy

CUSTOMER RELATIONS
Be Visible
 
Walk the store and introduce yourself. Thank your customers for their business and sincerely wish them a Happy Holiday.

Friendly Store Ambassadors
Position a team member at the store entrance so that he or she can greet customers while handing out circulars and product location directories.

In Store Announcements
Take advantage of your PA system, having store members make personal greeting announcements. Example, “Hi, I’m John the Deli Manager and I would personally like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday.”

In Store Music 
Get your customers in the mood with the right holiday music mix. Keeping them entertained will make their shopping experience better and extend their time shopping. The longer they stay in your store the more they will purchase.

Assistance to Car
Have extra staff at the register that will lend their assistance to seniors and mothers with children, bringing their groceries to their cars. “No tip please.”

POS signs
Check all your displays for price point signage. Don’t have customers not purchase a product because they could not find the price. Note: customers will assume that because there is no price by or on the product, it will be overpriced.

STORE OPERATIONS
Store Hours Signage 
Let your customer know what your hours are. Don’t let them assume.

Shopping Carts
Position a team member in the parking lot during your peak hours to manage carts. Don’t let carts pile up, taking valuable parking spaces or rolling into parked cars.

Front-end Manager
Make sure you have a front-end manager available for price checks and product questions. He or she should also be ready to answer any store policy inquires.

Baggers
Don’t bottleneck the front-end of the store and slow down the cashiers. Schedule baggers for all registers. And remember, they will be the last person the customer has contact with. So be sure that they thank customers and wish them a Happy Holiday.

Restrooms
There will be much more store traffic during the holidays, and therefore more emergency stops. Be sure that customers don’t walk in on untied restrooms. Remember, a bad experience here will contribute to the consumer’s perception of overall store conditions.

STORE EMPLOYEES
Team Cheer 
Motivate your team, give them a short pep talk and explain your goals and their responsibilities.

Pat on the Back
Don’t forget the small gestures, such as high fives. A pat on the back or just a simple handshake can lead to immediate positive response for your team members. Only a second or two can produce such big results!

From all of us at “The Supermarket Strategist”…a Happy Thanksgiving!
Kevin Ruddy

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The Supermarket Strategist 11/12

Looking for information pertaining to demographics, consumer trends, or government support? With hundreds of counsels and institutes willing to share information with you, how do you find them? You could start with a google search, searching and scrolling through hundreds of pages of unrelated content, or save time and frustrations by using my “Research Resource Guide.” This time saving guide contains direct website links to:

Government Agencies
Food Institutes
Agriculture Organizations
Trade Magazines
Trade Council
Research
>CLICK HERE

Great resources support great successes…Kevin Ruddy

Personal Growth
Time Management

A fundamental rule of time management is being present. You must focus on the task at hand. If you’re in a meeting, be present. If you’re with somebody on the phone, concentrate on only that. If you are dealing with people, give them your full attention. What prevents us from being present? Most people have dozens of goals and we think we have to keep those in mind or we’ll forget them. A way to overcome this is to make it a habit of writing down your goals and review your list regularly.

Customer Service
Everything You Do Sends a Message

There are four ways in which we have contact with our customers:  What we do, how we look, what we say and how we say it.  Everything you do sends a message.  The manner in which your employees dress, the way each of your departments look, the sales programs you offer…all make impressions on your customers.  Determine the messages you want your customers to walk away with, then package your store and your employees accordingly. Send a message of success and the world will embrace it.

Fun Trivia
Birds Eye, introduces the 1st precooked frozen meals,1939.
King Soopers, begins offering S&H Green Stamps, 1950.
Quaker Oats, introduces Aunt Jemima frozen waffles, 1959.
The first Wal-Mart opens in Fayetteville, AR, 1962.

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The Supermarket Strategist 10/09

Halloween is just three weeks away. No doubt you’ve already mapped about your merchandising program. However, have you thought about the extra bits of excitement you can create in store? Window decorating contests, jack-o-lantern contests, children’s costume contests. Don’t forget your employees. Have a contest for them too. They’ll have fun wearing costumes, and you can post photos of the events for everyone to look at with happy memories of the day. Remember, the local press loves community events. Get your PR on and contact local newspapers. Lots of visibility, lots of fun! Kevin Ruddy

Employee Relations
How about a high-five!
Looking for ways to boost employee spirits? Recently, a New York Times article cited work by researchers who have been looking closely at the value of nonverbal, wordless communication: in other words, physical contact. There is evidence that indicates actions such as high fives, a pat on the back or just a simple handshake can lead to immediate positive changes. Really quite amazing. A small gesture that calls for an investment of only a second or two can have such big results. We’re all looking for that kind of return in business!

Growing Your Business
November Promotion
Here are some thought starters for fall promotional theme development. These themes afford you the opportunity to promote fall fun and the start of the holiday season! Create excitement and enjoy the change in seasons. Follow this links for additional information.
National Georgia Pecan, Pomegranate, Spinach, Squash, & Sweet Potato Month
National Peanut Butter Month
National Fig Week Nov 1-7
National Men Make Dinner Day Nov. 1
Sadie Hawkins Day Nov. 3
Daylight Saving Time Ends Nov. 4
Veterans Day Nov. 11
Thanksgiving Nov. 22
Black Friday Nov. 23

Up Coming Events
Looking for some interesting fall travel?
With autumn in the here and the foliage is turn bight reds and warm yellows, what better time to plan a quick getaway around one of these upcoming events. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy some fabulous weather and expand your business opportunities as well.

FMI Retail Food Safety Forum, Nov. 5-6, Cincinnati, Ohio
FMI SQF International Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
Consumer Goods Forum, Nov. 6-8, Paris, France
Retail Industry Leaders Assoc., Nov. 7-8, Dallas, TX
Private Label Manufactures Assn Tradeshow, Nov. 10-13, Chicago, IL
Winter Fancy Food Show, Jan. 20-22, San Francisco, CA
Retail’s Big Show, Jan. 13-16, New York, NY

Did You Know
What is the largest supermarket in the US?
Woodman’s store located in Kenosha, Wisconsin is believed to be the largest US grocery store. At about 250,000 square feet, it is four times the size of an average supermarket.

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The Supermarket Strategist 9/25

Your customers have limited time for browsing and no time to spare at all for complicated store navigating. While it is not always easy to achieve, you need to develop a pattern of customer movement (store flow). Begin by observing and studying your customers as they shop.  Are they exposed to highly profitable service areas?  Are they able to quickly find specialty products?  The next step is to develop a blueprint, maximizing customer flow while maintaining store aesthetics. After all, you want your customers to spend their precious time buying, not navigating…Kevin Ruddy

Store Operations
Is your signage effective?
There will be times when you and your associates will be busy, and unable to give the same level of customer service that you normally provide. Effective signage can help provide information that customers need in order to find what they are looking for, and to make buying decisions. Whether it is information about your sales promotions or store services, take the time to review your signage to ensure your customers encounter a more enjoyable shopping experience.

Store Merchandising
Looking to increase sales  
with your current customer base?
A technique used by many of the larger retailers is cross merchandising. Also called add-ons, this is the practice of displaying products from different categories together, in order to generate incremental purchases. Examples would be; Imported cheeses next to apples, lemons next to fresh seafood, and marinades next to steaks. A good rule to follow is to place a high margin product next to a sale product.

Customer Insight
When you ask for your customer’s opinion, make sure you respond
There’s nothing worse than being asked for your opinion and then not receiving a response. When you ask for your customers’ opinions, you must respond promptly. A quick response will make customers feel valued and make them appreciate that you are actually listening and responding to what they are saying.

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The Supermarket Strategist 5/09

FMI 2012 “The Food Retail Show” is history, how will you remember it? By the informative seminars, the exciting exhibition booths or the daily parade of the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales? For me it was meeting all of you. Our booth was humming with large and independent operators, associates from Dallas, Florida, Australia, and even South Africa. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet and speak to each one of you. So is the FMI 2014 show in Chicago on your calendar yet?
It’s on mine!   Kevin Ruddy

Did You Know?
Where did the self-checkout system first appear?

It is documented that the first supermarket self-checkout system appeared in 1992 at a Price Chopper Supermarket in Clifton Park, NY. Almost 20 years later, there are over 100,000 self-checkouts in the US alone.

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The Supermarket Strategist 4/24

In less then a week you’ll be heading to the FMI2012 show; have you reviewed all the events and participants on the FMI web site? Just log on and sign up, the interactive site will direct you to all the activities that interest you. Are you looking to attend a certain seminar or a visit a particular exhibitor? This site will help you maximize your time. There is even a mobile version available. I will be exhibiting at booth 8100, stop by and say hello.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Treat each customer as your best customer.

As a store owner, you can concentrate on the little details. Superb customer service is your biggest asset. People like to shop where they feel comfortable and where they know the owner and staff cares about their wants and needs. Remember their names and their favorite products. Seems like a simple thing to do. But you’ll be surprised how far a little attention can go where customer relationships are concerned. Dale Carnegie said, “Everyone’s favorite word is his or her name!”

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Capitalizing on Your Knowledge & Experience

Many small business owners and their staff fail to recognize the wealth of product information and store services they share with inquiring customers every day. Compare this to the often-untrained clerks at major chains. Recognize the value of the ideas and information you’ve been sharing with your customers for years. Be sure to emphasize this unique service with your own staff, so they will assure customers that you are the experts, and are there to help them have a positive shopping experience.

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
How about a high-five!

Looking for ways to boost employee spirits? Recently, a New York Times article cited work by researchers who have been looking closely at the value of nonverbal, wordless communication: in other words, physical contact. There is evidence that indicates actions such as high fives, a pat on the back or just a simple handshake can lead to immediate positive changes. Really quite amazing. A small gesture that calls for an investment of only a second or two can have such big results. We’re all looking for that kind of return in business!

Posted in Big Chain Stores, Building business, digital brand ambassador, digitalbrandambassador.com, Elite Display USA, EliteDisplayUSA.com, Grocery Store, Independent, Marketing, Pallet Power, Retail Stores | Leave a comment