Archive for 'Supermarkets- the other stuff'
Masterclasses are something I immediately associate with food and TV. We can thank Masterchef for that. And the Guardian is a British newspaper. What should I make of those two terms strung together though? The short answer is – anything is possible in a day and age when entertainment by bite size is the norm and the print media resembles a dinosaur and is desperately trying to reinvent itself. The Guardian seems to have determined that it has a role to play in business education way beyond having the latest crop of bowler hatted gentlemen study its financial pages. Which is why it runs a Masterclass dedicated to getting new products, presumably including new produce items, on the supermarket shelf. Details can be found here. If that thought does not appeal, how about waiting for the Walmart “Get On The Shelf” contest to come around again? From time to time, Walmart invites “inventors, tinkerers, thinkers, marketers and everyday Joes” to submit their ideas for scrutiny. Anything seems to go these days, as traditional channels of getting business done are reduced to direct contact between wacky inventors and grocery giants and newspapers move into the adult education business. Not that there is much space on those supermarket shelves. Ever since supermarkets decided that their own name belongs on those shelves as well via their house brand and private label product ranges, it tends to be getting pretty crowded on those shelves, with a distinct limit to how many “me too” brands are required. Consumers should welcome that as it narrows the selection typically down to the premium FMCG brand, the retailer’s product and one of the second tier suppliers, just for good measure. Unless, of course, the retailer has a budget line as well as a premium label he wants to make available. Three is already a crowd. Four becomes a mob – and unmanageable. Luckily, we don’t get to see those positioning exercises too often in the fresh produce area. For now at least, anyway. I seem to recall that supermarket product ranging trends tend to start in the centre grocery aisles before they spread to the perishable departments at the edge of the store. Oh well, The Guardian class starts on Saturday. If you hop on a plane tonight, you will get to the UK on time!
Alternatively – talk to us.
Posted: December 3rd, 2013 under Consumer, Education, Food, Old Blighty, Supermarkets- the other stuff.
Where is the ‘fine line’ then? The supermarket industry’s Rubicon? Tesco already sells anything from Life Insurance for your pets and travel to distant shores to party services. By the way, you can get your groceries there as well, including fresh produce…. In future though, starting in South London by the looks of things, shoppers will be able to just pop down from their high-rise flat to their local Tesco store on the ground floor…their Tesco flat that is in the apartment building Tesco has built!
The days when supermarkets just focused on selling FMCG products to willing buyers and saw their place in the supply chain as connecting manufacturers and shoppers are long gone and nowhere is that more obvious than in the UK. For the last 20 years, UK supermarkets have been depicted as the bad boys on the block for developing standalone stores and shopping centres at the outskirts of towns and therefore deconstructing High Streets. High Street now becomes a very viable proposition for smaller format food stores run by supermarket chains and, hey…if there is some urban development that can go with it, the much the better.
We have a whole city that needs redeveloping…may be we should sack the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and invite Tesco to have a go? Can’t be any worse by the looks of things.
Meantime back here in New Zealand politics, the Labour Party Leader Selection Carousel has started to spin and Shane Jones, the contender least likely to be successful, stated on national television that supermarkets are akin to ‘brown shirts’ and needed regulating. His point being that a duopoly as exists between Countdown and PAK”n SAVE /New World does not provide sufficient competition to keep food prices affordable.
He has a point about duopolies – but only up to a point! We have three limitations in this country which are underlying factors of the duopoly situation that has evolved over the decades – because our food retail industry sure did not start as a duopoly operator.
Firstly, we are a nation with 4.5 million inhabitants which does not give us critical mass in any way, shape or form. Secondly, one-third of New Zealanders are akin to a giant Gannet colony, squeezed together in the Greater Auckland area. This means our lack of critical mass is enhanced further in a negative sense. Thirdly, as a food exporter, our domestic price structure for meat, dairy and fish is linked to what we can achieve for our goods on the global market.
You can’t just regulate that, get real, Jonesy. Your Leader before the one trying to sell snapper in Parliament was bad enough when he wanted to upset the simplest and most effective GST system in the world by making fruit & vegetables GST exempt. The chaos that would have caused is nothing compared to what would happen if you attempted to regulate supermarkets.
All this suggests to me that there is money to be made with an inoculation system for wannabe party leaders which ensures they are administered a healthy dose of economic realism before they wander off and make rash promises in order to be elected.
I wonder whether I could obtain a grant for the necessary research from the Minister of Everything?
Posted: September 2nd, 2013 under Supermarkets- the other stuff, Thoughtpieces.
Tags: I've been thinking, innovation
The local Auckland paper, the New Zealand Herald, recently published an article discussing supermarket pricing. That in its own right is not a surprise, newspapers tend to pursue this topic when there is no other news about. This article differed though from others. In the first instance, the focus of the article was not the usual supermarket fare, food and FMCG consumables, but the journo offered opinions about the wisdom of buying typical non-supermarket items such as stationery, slug pellets and medicines from supermarkets. The verdict? It could well be cheaper than buying those items where one would usually buy them. Ok, one would expect that though from a supermarket, wouldn’t one? The question NOT asked is even more interesting. WHY are supermarkets moving into all sorts of other product? Answer – With consumers increasingly shifting towards online grocery buying, brick and mortar store operators need to figure out what else to put onto their shelves in order to keep the turnover going.
Supermarket companies like Woolworths here in New Zealand may well be very successful with their on-line activities but they face a dilemma. Right now, on-line customer fulfilment occurs via a number of selected stores where ‘personal shoppers’ take the groceries from the shelf. The problem with that approach is that the goods come attached with the costs of getting them onto that shelf in the first place. Then adding the ‘personal shopping’ and distribution costs makes the whole process a fairly unattractive financial proposition. The smart solution is therefore to pick the goods at a distribution centre where the cost of getting into the store and the cost of the retail environment itself don’t figure in the cost of sales. The trouble with that approach is that individual unit fulfilment cannot be run out of distribution centres geared to dispatch goods by the pallet load. Pursuing that approach will lead to having to build dedicated distribution centres. Not the kind of thing you want to do if you already own stores which make money by stocking goods on their shelves for people to buy….and we are back to square one.
That’s why we need to sit up and listen very carefully if companies like Amazon suddenly decide to enter the grocery fray...particularly, the FRESH arena. They are not encumbered by stores and dated paradigms.
There was another point of note in that article I mentioned at the beginning of this blog entry, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Posted: August 5th, 2013 under Produce, Supermarket - produce, Supermarkets- the other stuff, Uncle Sam.
Tags: New Age Stuff
A little while ago, I posted a blog entry about a Dutch supermarket which refused to take cash. Here are a couple of more photos from the same store – or rather two photos of the same cheese display…First impressions are seldom wrong. Of course, I would expect to see cheese displayed in the Netherlands. Not necessarily in supermarket windows, but then we are used to the American supermarket model here in New Zealand, the one with huge glass frontages and not the quaint European ones…with not so quaint ideas about accepting cash…but I digress. And not only did cheese not come as a surprise but also the fact that they had whole of wheels of cheese on display could be expected, after all, we are talking about the Netherlands here…
What I did not expect to see was the sign perched on top of the cheese, the one inviting the passing public to visit the store’s Facebook page. What a neat way of combining century old tradition with modern marketing concepts. I was so impressed, I nearly forgave them about not wanting to take my cash! In typical Dutch minimalist fashion, the store is called Marqt…Market… The website is in Dutch only…to be expected… but one look at the imagery will wet your appetite I bet. Food does not have to be complicated, but it needs to be fresh and professionally merchandised. That is something Marqt does well. Very well.
Posted: July 18th, 2013 under Netherlands, On The Road Again, Supermarkets- the other stuff.
I have grown up with a few motherhood statements and I am sure I am not alone with that. Here are three I remember from my early childhood; I was probably three years old…
1. Do not cut potatoes with a knife. (very German piece of useless etiquette)
2. Vegetables are good for you. (Debatable from a child’s perspective)
3. Money buys sweets, toys & icecream. (Later supplemented with beer, wine & cigars)
Money at the time was defined as folding stuff and round metal disks of various sizes which made a racket in one’s pocket – or fell out if one ‘s mother had not done her job properly.
In latter years, cheque books, credit cards, debit cards, chip cards and electronic transfers made it into my arsenal. Nothing, however, prepared me for this Dutch store that rejected my cash.
It looks like society is heading for a major paradigm shift in the not so distance future.
Posted: May 4th, 2013 under I went shopping today, Netherlands, Observations, Supermarkets- the other stuff.