Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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44 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | February 2017 O ne of customers' biggest pain points in a super- market is the checkout, and California Fresh Market, in San Luis Obispo, Calif., introduced an app to relieve the stress of picking the right line when the store opened last November. Customers download the app, add a credit card number and start shopping by simply scanning product barcodes and placing the items in their bags. For weighed items like produce, the store has scales where the customers input the product and a barcode flashes up on the screen. e customers then take a photo of the barcode, and it's added to their checkout total. When they're ready to check out, customers go to a special checkout that scans the QR code that the app generates on their phones. If all is good, a beacon flashes green and they can walk out of the store. If the system senses a problem, a blue light flashes and an employee comes over to do a bag check. Adoption of the app has been low, admits Alfred Hol- zheu, president of California Fresh Brands, which operates California Fresh Market and El Rancho Market. Among the company's three locations, only about four or five trans- actions out of every 1,000 are done via the app. However, as the younger generations, who are used to being on their phones, begin to shop more, Holzheu predicts that the adoption of the app-based checkout will increase. Holzheu and the app company also are working on a way for customers to order deli items on their phones and then go pick them up when they're ready. "I'm a techie in general," he says, so he's always looking for ways to push the envelope in the grocery industry. D uring an assessment of everything digital associ- ated with Festival Foods, the De Pere, Wis.-based company realized that its biggest opportunity was its website: It was the hub of the supermar- ket's digital presence and linked to all other digital properties. at led to a complete revamp, because the site "was not responsive, it was not SEO-optimized — some of the basic tenets of what you should have in a website," says Nick Arlt, brand strategy director. Festival Foods doesn't have a loyalty program, so Arlt's team had to find out who the customers really were by sending out surveys. From the results, they divided custom- ers into four core personas, and then built the website around the needs of those four perso- nas. "We built that foundation of really what do these shoppers want from us, and how can we be of assistance," Arlt explains. Since the updated website launched in October 2015, the results have been beyond expectations: Overall traffic has increased by more than 24 percent, and mobile traffic specifi- cally is up more than 56 percent. In developing the new site, which took about a year, Arlt broke it down into two halves: technology and people. "Looking at the technology side, it's almost no longer an option to not have a website, and it's becoming non- optional to not have a mobile- friendly or mobile-responsive site," he says. "On the people side of it, don't make it about your- self, make it about your guests. A website that serves your purposes doesn't necessarily mean your guests are going to want to go there." PG Technology California Fresh Market, San Luis Obispo, Calif. Festival Foods, De Pere, Wis.

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