Of all the well established, larger-than-most retail, mega-stores,  Safeway, having begun 2016 in search of a bailout, and finally Albertson stores,  eventually succumbed to new management and to new merchandising ideas.

For those shoppers who view price as no object, the trip is short, in spite of the obstacle course that the grocery aisles have become; for those however who see to it that every penny is accounted for, low prices are one of life’s requirements; their shopping trip may take hours.

There is a Safeway in the Beverly Hills-esque neighborhood in which I live and work. Starting my workday in the Safeway environs I check the aisles for newly reduced items and then settle down in the restaurant area with a tall dark roast and discounted doughnut from the bakery; I pull out my pad and begin to take notes.

The coffee line is filled with customers with thin  young bodies who order expensive, and yes, fattening beverages. Most return to the parking lot.

Returning to ones transportation however, is quite a different thing for those choosing grocery items; the aisles are no longer  easily traversed. They are in fact, more like a maze.  The reason apparently is to slow the shoppers progress which has two obvious benefits to the store; The slower the shopping, the more crowded the cashier lines and a packed parking lot. And of course all of that results in a huge increase in impulse purchases.

A hidden benefit for Safeway is the intense effort to gather information with the purpose of efficiency as opposed to yesteryear’s method of motivating consumers to spend more. Offer your store card and get a discount. Those personalized cards are slowly being replaced with anonymous cards; efficiency being the ultimate goal.

This kind of merchandising is influencing retailing in every venue.

Notice the difference in airtime advertising and the changed appearance of internet home pages. The new Year hasn’t even begun and we are heady with the newness of life.

Accept the newness and pass it on.



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