Keep It Simple…Make It Super

January 21, 2020

By Tom Jackson, Tom Jackson Resources, Speaker/Facilitator/Coach

2020, it’s a new year and a new decade which lends itself to create big ambitions big goals and lots of priorities. But perhaps a more effective thing to do is to take a step back and ensure that we have mastered the basics.

The grocery business does not have to be complicated. However, there are some basics that have to be right – – I call these “got a haves.” The essentials for a grocery store, is rather simple: it’s got to be CLEAN, it’s got to be FRESH, it’s got to be TASTY and it’s got to be FRIENDLY. It’s really all about creating a great customer experience.

As we take a step back, we need to think about the things that we did to really enhance the customer experience. What worked. What didn’t. And this is the critical point that we need to be honest and objective. What really did make a difference and what didn’t. In trying to keep this business simple, I would suggest that we focus on just what was effective in creating a memorable experience for our customers.

When we develop concepts like the “customer experience,” it seems like try to incorporate too much. We need to focus on keeping it simple, removing confusion and addressing the basics that we spoke of earlier.

Cleanliness begins in the parking lot and concludes after the shopping trip groceries are put in their car. Beginning with restrooms, employee appearance and a well-defined sanitation program are essentials to keeping and projecting a clean well-run store.

The store has to look and smell fresh! Fresh is clean, appetizing and certainly appealing to the eye of the customer. Fresh requires good ordering, good handling and good stock rotation. Date codes are important and vital in the eyes of the customer. When it comes to fresh – – you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

So far so good on keeping it simple.

When it comes to tasty, we could use several other adjectives—flavorful, distinctive, mouthwatering and unique—just to name a few. Sampling and food demonstrations can be effective– but they have to be tasty and appealing. This is where, independent grocers can really shine. By developing unique and flavorful items they can create a distinctive and quality reputation for the entire store.

Now comes the not so simple part.

Only engaged employees can create a friendly atmosphere that will set your store apart from many others and it starts with quality selection of people. If they have a hard time smiling, they may have a difficult time delivering and creating a friendly experience for your customers. Training is important and to a certain extent creating a friendly culture will stem from emphasizing politeness, being courteous, being attentive and being engaged in the process of creating a truly pleasurable shopping experience for everyone entering the store. It’s important for everyone in management to set an excellent example. We could go on and on about creating a friendly environment, but it will only happen when top management makes it very clear on what their expectations are, for the entire store team when it relates to being friendly.

So perhaps rather than taking on the new year and the new decade with big ambitions, big goals and lots of priorities– let’s make sure that we are covering and executing the basics. Keep it simple…Make it super.