‘Professionals’ engage on the sales floor

December 13, 2013

Private office settings could help raise the perception and performance of stores.

Retailers want to engage customers and stimulate new trips by breaking out of the sea of sameness.

How can they get to ‘wow’ without going broke or disorienting their core audience?

One way that could help, says The Lempert Report, is to create ‘professional’ areas within the store format.  These knowledge settings could anchor core departments, establish authority, and move the total store onto a more credible plane.  

For example, in-store pharmacies could develop new revenue streams in consulting if they designed private areas for these sessions.  This makes eminent sense to us, given the growth in new diabetes diagnoses, and the need for older consumers to be treated for multiple conditions.

Registered dietitians could advance the health-fitness-wellness image of stores by being visible in a credible setting – perhaps a wooden desk with chairs, partitions, educational content and imagery of people living healthful, vibrant lifestyles.  To us, the physical setting adds to the RDs’ appeal and contributes to the tone of each session; people judge if they should engage by the quality look of the area, so invest in the design.

We feel RDs and pharmacists should be apart from each other on the retail floor and work independently – though (abiding by HIPAA privacy rules) they should consult with each other when managing specific patients that receive pharmaceutical care and eat for specific conditions.

Against the backdrop of supermarket settings, well-designed ‘mini-offices’ would stand out.  Consider catering and event planning, meat, seafood, produce and bakery as other possibilities – where knowledge experts could build confidence in the store and attract incremental business.

In our view, it’s really all about imprinting how food and wellness – served up in particular stores – integrate into the lifestyle of targeted audiences.

Procter & Gamble developed The Men’s Zone not long ago to show how their products conform to the way males live.  Now Verizon Wireless launched its first lifestyle superstore in Minnesota’s Mall of America. It has lifestyle zones for fitness, music, business, fun and more.  “As much as people know about technology, there’s a huge opportunity to help educate customers” to do more than they currently are with their phones and tablets, Brian Angiolet, vp-marketing for Verizon, told Ad Age.

There are certainly vast gaps in food knowledge that supermarkets could turn to their advantage – and ‘professional’ areas are one way to do this, says The Lempert Report.