Albertsons launches new experience-focused banner
- Albertsons this week announced the launch of Market Street Idaho, a new banner offering culinary experiences and gourmet products to shoppers, according to a press announcement. The banner, which markets the tagline "Eat Life Up," will launch with two stores in Boise, near Albertsons headquarters.
- The two stores, both slated to open later this year, will focus on an elevated shopping experience, with in-store culinary events and classes, catering services, a restaurant-style food court and other gourmet features like a dedicated chocolatier.
- Albertsons has emphasized collaboration across departments with the new banner. “In our Market Street Idaho store, our dedicated chocolatier might partner with one of our scratch bakers to create an art deco cake for an exclusive event, or our Head of Catering might work with our sommelier and masters in our fresh team to craft an exclusive wine pairing experience with fresh fruits and cheeses," John Colgrove, president of Albertsons' Intermountain division, said in the release. "We’re elevating the idea of what a grocery store can be here.”
Albertsons is joining a growing list of supermarkets eager to give consumers an extra reason to shop in-store, versus online. Hy-Vee, Weis, Neimann’s and others have recently announced similar pilot locations with a strong focus on the in-store experience.
As consumers, especially millennials, grow bored with the traditional grocery store shopping model, retailers are turning to everything from old-fashioned soda fountains to on-site restaurants that churn their own butter, to attract them. Albertsons is now testing out a similar model to see if it drives new growth.
As one would expect, all of these food stations and other bells and whistles don’t come cheap. But the payoff comes when consumers spend more time and money in the store, and become more loyal to the company as a result.
In 2017, Research firm Magid found that half of American grocery shoppers visit three or more stores to buy food and household supplies, basically cherry picking stores for the best prices and deals. By giving consumers a reason besides cheap prices to visit their store, grocers could start re-building brand loyalty.
It's possible Albertsons will scale this banner to additional locations and markets. The true value of these stores, however, will be in what Albertsons learns and can apply to other locations. With just two locations, Market Street Idaho can afford to experiment with niche products and service offerings that might be too expensive and complicated to roll out across Jewel-Osco or Safeway.
Market Street managers might discover, for instance, a way to cost effectively run in-store cooking classes, or a better way to merchandise fair trade chocolate. The innovations would target high-value consumers. And they would take advantage of Albertsons corporate model, which focuses on decentralized management and collaboration.
In such a competitive industry, Albertsons' ability to share knowledge across its various chains is a major advantage. The Market Street format, as Winsight Grocery Business points out, itself came from Albertsons' United Market Street banner, which has proven very successful in Texas.