Time for Supermarkets to get some style

The Lempert Report
October 15, 2013

When you hear 'stylist' you probably think fashion. As we look at customer shopping habits the use of such stylists puts a 'tick' in the brick and mortar box.

When you hear 'stylist' you probably think fashion. Stylists as in those well-dressed folk who pull together looks for shoppers, convey knowledge of multiple lines, and suggest what works for specific occasions based on their knowledge of customers’ individual preferences. In sum, they filter what the store sells to simplify shopping, customize the experience, and raise customer satisfaction. As we look at customer shopping habits and the future of brick and mortar stores vs. online, the use of such stylists puts a 'tick' in the brick and mortar box. It makes the in store experience special and gives the customers a reason to shop in person. So, could the role of a 'stylist' be used by supermarkets as well? We think so. The Lempert Report feels supermarkets could generate trips and bigger baskets by similarly offering the services of personal food stylists. Practical advisors to assist people planning to entertain in their homes or looking to elevate their food experiences. Supermarkets with 40,000+ items can be challenging to navigate, especially if people are trying to plan for the holidays or for a special dinner party. Who wouldn't want the assistance of an expert who could help navigate aisles efficiently and offer food and product suggestions to help consumers pull together a great meal? We’re also heading into the time of year when home entertainment becomes a priority for many households. Especially in this economy, we believe many will go out less and party at home more. Personal food stylists could significantly help consumers gather a medley of tastes for occasions like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa. They could also help shoppers find options for guests who have special dietary needs, for example heart disease or diabetes, or want gluten-free dishes, or prefer foods from certain cultures, or prefer sweet over savory. If the addition of a "food stylist" year round seems a bit daunting at first, retailers could first use the holiday season as a test period. If this proves successful, retailers could expand their presence to year-round and uplift the role of the supermarket around Super Bowl, birthdays, graduations, confirmations, quinceaneras, and themed weekend get-togethers. As in the world of fashion, this service could help retailers differentiate and build performance especially if they target shoppers who surpass certain purchase thresholds. For operators with loyalty programs, this service could help excite cardholders and serve as a platform for new innovative services that help transform the shopping experience.