Queen of the Natural Glow, Suzanne Paul, lamented today on National Radio that she misses the days when you could go and buy milk. There are so many varieties nowadays, and in her household, they have to have three milk bottles—one for each member of the family—because of the different dietary requirements.
Her choice was to support her dairy—to our non-Kiwi readers a small convenience store which used to do a roaring trade in the pre-supermarket days. The local dairy, on the corner, was where you’d pick up your chewing gum, milk, newspaper and a copy of the Listener. At least that’s all I remember us getting from the local dairy on Adelaide Road 25 years ago. But you could buy Three Diamonds-branded sardines from Mitsubishi and Whittaker’s Peanut Slabs (a favourite of my maternal grandmother): that much was at my eye’s height. Size-wise, the stores are pretty small, usually helmed by a single person.
Simplicity, as everyone from Real Simple to Martha Stewart might tell you, is quite an attractive trait. People are, such as Ms Paul (no relation to Ru), willing to pay a premium. And some dairies do charge an awful premium, one reason that drove my mother to start shopping at Wardell’s when that opened in our ’hood when I was a kid.
So how about this for an idea: the dairy as a premium shopping venue? It would sell based on simplicity being something you would pay more for. One kind of milk, vetted by the retailer, as being the best—Sun Latte, which I spotted last week, claims as much (though I could only be enticed on being given a 30¢ coupon). The surroundings would be comfortable, but simple, too. While supermarkets’ variety is designed to keep shoppers in, the premium charged by the Simplicity Dairy would be saving shoppers’ time. Make your grocery list, like Mum used to. Then head over to the dairy, and pay around 15 per cent more—it’s in your ’hood, probably on your street corner, and not get stuck with useless goods that you would never use. An overall saving of money and time.
Of course, the little dairy will never have the marketing muscle of the supermarket, nor the buying power. We are conditioned to hunt for the lowest price and the 10¢ saving. But it only needs to market itself in one area. That means hitting the community newspaper and being visible in the area with eye-catching livery. It means using the visual cues of branding and turning its assets into pluses, especially as consumer tastes begin balking at the Wal-marts and foreign ownership of supermarkets.
Del.icio.us tags: repositioning simplicity branding marketing dairy supermarket retail FMCG New Zealand Posted by Jack Yan, 06:04
Hello Jack! Honestly, I usually prefer to buy in small stores similar in UK but sadly here in Norway it is almost not allowed to have like farmer selling their own stuff since of strict food regulations. Meaning that only this gigantic stores here can manage to sell food products but I dont like coz it's so generic unlike buying straight on your local farm.
Are these stores like the Coops in Sweden, Charles? You are right that these supermarkets are all the same: far too generic with no differentiation—which means it doesn’t really matter what brand they carry on the door.
I don't think your quality small store idea would fly here in the U.S. Jack. People don't shop much at those anymore. Here, most such shops have become what we call "convenience" stores. You go there when the baby is crying at 1 a.m. and you MUST have some formula or you're out of beer and you MUST have some beer. You pay a premium when you go to these stores but you expect that for being able to shop there at 2 a.m.
it's like monopoly, somehow. sorry forgot my economic terms. hehe. and the extra price you're paying is for the time you saved :)
Ron, maybe you’re right, but remember folks also doubted that the Volkswagen would ﬂy in the US because it wasn’t glamorous and complex. I think there will always be a consumer yearning for simplicity, but the key is to ﬁgure out when that is most trendy for economies of scale.
I know out in Calif. some folks recently turned down a Wal-mart application to build in their town in favour of retaining the Mom and Pop operations there. Not quite the same story, but a parallel?
Tin-tin, I know what you mean!
Charles sent me and I add hello again from Norway.
Btw: I'm kind of glad we have less options for milk here - I hate using to much time in the grosery:-)
Hi Renny! I do believe such a store could work here—and if the laws were different in Norway, it could work there, too!
Oh yes, simplicity! OK, I do not drink cow's milk. I do not have to to get the irritation that our super.marketed and super.branded commerce has evolved (devolved) to be.
They sound a lot like Spar stores in the UK, I really like them, to be honest. At 9:30 at night I don't want to go to the 24 hour supermarket, I want to nip out of the house and get what I need on the corner, likewise when I need a paper or chocolate or things. A few pence extra per item is fine, yet would soon mount up for the retailers.
I know many a village in Scotland where the Spar is the shop, and the owner knows everyone, knows what to buy, knows what to say to them when they come in, etc. I was only a holiday maker yet this guy soon got to know me and for years after whenever I went in would strike up a conversation as if we'd seen each other only yesterday.
I'm fussy, in a supermarket or big chain store I would rather not be spoken too, but little small shops like that the personal touch is what makes it.
# posted by amillionpieces: 7/25/2006 10:25:00 PM
Dannie, you are so right. The more these products are merchandised in supermarkets and the like, the less special they feel. I will get suckered in to low prices and will notice nice packaging, because of my conditioning, but when I think about it sitting here, I do not think in glowing terms about a lot of these goods. That, in reality, is where brand comes in—and a lot of these FMCG brands are not connecting to us.
Pete, darn! I wish my idea was original but I am happy to hear someone is doing it already. Spar does indeed sound like what I write of; and because of that personal touch I feel a lot better shopping there, among goods that may be otherwise impersonal. I shop at my local bookstore or photo shop for that same reason. Developing photos, in the case of the latter, is hardly a differentiated exercise—but for the service and chat with my friend Sevan.
Oh yes! There is Coop, Spar, Rema1000, Remi, ICA and Kiwi. Different stores but actually they are selling the same thing. It is quite boring actually!
I have to say that milk shopping (for me) is probably one of the simplest parts of grabbing groceries. I always buy Lactaid since the stuff takes almost a month to go bad. ;)Post a Comment
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