Wegmans, a supermarket based in Rochester, NY that's widely hailed as one of the best grocery stores in the country, can offer small business owners a model for how to entice and retain consumers through top-rate customer services.
A Forbes article highlights the numerous steps Wegmans has taken over the years to to win the hearts and wallets of shoppers, elevating grocery shopping from a chore to a premium experience.
Not all of the store's innovations have been successful — it introduced laundry and daycare services that failed — but other retailers could emulate some of its strategies for growth and improvement. These tactics include maximizing convenience, customer service opportunities, technology, private label products and participation within the community.
Neither shoppers nor employees ordinarily wax enthusiastic about a supermarket. But Wegmans shoppers and its employees do because the store does practically everything the right way.
Wegmans is often compared to Disney, and the two are similar in the way employees are trained. Both businesses want employees to believe their job is to provide excellent service to customers, and to create a positive, memorable experience. Wegmans also trains its workers to keep prepared foods areas spotless and educate consumers about the products they carry throughout the store.
While the majority of consumers demand convenience from their grocery shopping experiences, that doesn't mean that retailers should put customer service on the back burner. Instead, stores should look for ways to leverage technology with in-store services as Wegmans does. The chain introduced self-checkout lanes to its stores in 2016, but hasn't lost focus on the importance of quality interactions between customers and employees.
In-store offerings like salad bars and prepared foods are another good way to marry quality with convenience, and encourage consumers to lengthen their time in stores.
These strategies can help build a brand presence, and make it easier for retailers to successfully push their own private label products. Consumers no longer view private labels (if they are made and packaged well) as generic, and this provides grocers with a prime space to introduce new, on-trend products under their own name.