January Store BrandsJanuary 17, 2018
Store Brands | January 17, 2018 –
Q&A with Jim Holbrook
How did you come to the world of private brands?
I started working in private label a long time ago — on the manufacturing side via Ralston Purina and Ralcorp.
Describe the private brands industry in one word.
What do you like most about the industry?
What I like most is that it is now becoming the center of innovation.
What do you dislike most about the industry?
There is inconsistency of commitment by some retailers and manufacturers.
What one great thing does the industry have going for it?
What is the industry’s biggest challenge?
Who is your hero and why?
Roberto Clemente. He was a great baseball player as well as social activist back in the day,
What trait in yourself do you attribute most to your success?
What is the biggest obstacle you have ever overcome?
Putting a company into and then back out of Chapter 11.
What’s the best advice someone ever gave you?
“There are no answers, only choices.”
It’s 5 o’clock (or later), what do you do for fun?
I would be golfing, fishing, hunting, running, paddle boarding, hiking or drinking.
You have one week off. Where do you go and why?
Sea Island, Ga. — for all of the above reasons.
If you were born 100 years ago, what would you do for a living?
I’d be one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
What song do you love to crank up in the car?
I’m a Bruno Mars fan.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Tony Robbins’ “Awaken the Giant Within.”
Whether in rural areas or an urban hub, grocery retailers today are leveraging their fresh departments to differentiate their overall brands and their individual private brands from the competition. Across all generations of consumers, but especially among millennials, fresh food has an aura of healthfulness and excitement that far surpasses the packaged food products in the center store.
But “fresh” today doesn’t just refer to the produce, deli, “grocerant,” meat, seafood , bakery and dairy departments, according to Nicole Peranick, Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon’s director of thought leadership/culinary, who shared her insights during Store Brands’ “Power of Private Brands” webinar series in 2017. “Fresh has taken on an expanded meaning, and solving for this new interpretation is really imperative to capture and retain customers,” she says.
As the Daymon white paper “From Shopper to Advocate: The Power of Participation” makes clear, fresh has become “the gateway to shopper loyalty.” To win consumers’ trust, grocery retailers must succeed in engaging customers at multiple touchpoints on the store perimeter and even before they walk into a store — delighting shoppers with delicious samples; a cornucopia of colors and fragrances; high-energy food prep and cooking demonstration; access to community resources such as representatives from local business or nonprofits; opportunities for “co-creation” and “personalization,” and more.
Under this broader definition, fresh could apply to a health and beauty section that allows shoppers to sample various botanical skincare products and aromatherapy oils; a wellness department coordinated by a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who can help customers navigate the store and shop for their unique dietary needs;l; an in-store exhibition showcasing the work of local artists and craftspeople; or even a 3-D printer that lets shoppers scan photos and create ceramic figurines of themselves and loved ones (available at several Asda stores in the United Kingdom).
As West Des Moines- Iowa-based Hy-Vee demonstrates, fresh can also be a portal to a company’s values. For example, customers who shop at the Midwestern chain’s more than 245 stores are assured that the sushi in the retailer’s Nori Sushi bard is 100 percent responsibly sources as are the many species of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans sold in the fresh seafood department, from barramundi to Alaskan king crab legs to oysters. Indeed, Greenpeace ranks Hy-Vee among the top grocery retailers for seafood sustainability.
At Your Service
How’s this for providing a consumer with an extremely excellent customer experience?
In November just before Thanksgiving, a cashier at a Public Super Markers store in Fairburn, Ga., helped pay a customer’s bill for groceries.
The cashier was working her normal shift when a customer didn’t have enough money to pay for groceries. The cashier then took out her debit card and helped pay the customer’s bill.
No doubt the Publix employee went about and beyond the call for offering unmatches customer service and providing an extraordinary customer experience in the process, both for which Public is well-known. In doing so, the employee’s selfless act only enhanced Publix’s reputation for treating its customers like gold.
Th Harvard Business Review defines the customer experience as the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company. In the grocery sector, that would include a customer’s initial discovery of a retailer, its products and services, and the purchase of those products and services. The Harvard Business Review defines customer service as a core value and strategic mandate of an organizational and vital part to the customer experience.
Hence, the customer experience is an intangible store brand that can do wonders for a retailer’s image. But it can also cause trepidation if not done right, and customer may simply shun a grocery retailer if they dread the in-store experience.