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By Joel M. Albrizio, President

"Why do consumers shop a particular retail food location?"

When we take a look at how to best grow retail supermarket sales we most often overlook trust. Almost without exception most retailers think it's all about price. The right price or the right brand at the right price. Is that really true?

"Work On The Value Proposition While Incorporating Trust"

While most successful retail supermarket executives are concerned about price,  it's a concern about price as a value added ingredient while building trust that is most important.

The 'Old Saying In Retail" is on the holidays or special event customers shop the store they trust.

If we believe the holiday supermarket selection rests in part on trust, lets not forget how many other weeks are just as important? Graduations, friends coming over, family in town, etc.

So what is the right mix of price and trust. Lets work on trust first. If we put a hot retail on an easily recognized item the customer will understand that very quickly. Trust by comparison to price builds over time.

"When We Build A Brand How Is It We Develop Trust?"

Safeway Does It With "Ingredients For Life" & "FoodFlex"

Lets take a look at how Safeway began it's rebranding or "Trust" journey in 2005 which still remains effective today. With the concept "Ingredients For Life" Safeway levied the "Trust" card by branding trust though trusted brands.

Wait, what?  Yes, Safeway branded trust in part by working with trusted brands. By working with some of the most trusted brands in each retail food category Safeway created increased trust by leaning on the brands and their reputations it's customers trusted most.

Then Safeway adds information to the trust element with the "FoodFlex" program.

Safeway recognized as it's customers have, today we live in an ever expanding information age. A time like never before.  Understanding this, Safeway added "FoodFlex" an expanded web application intended to give the customer even more nutritional information than available on traditional packaging.

Easy to find, easy to understand nutritional information increases brand trust. The trusted brand is now tied through the use of otherwise unavailable information to "FoodFlex" and the retailer.....Safeway.

 Safeway inherits the trust through expanded brand information.

The more the customer is exposed to information the more likely he or she is to become a shopper who is likely to feel confident in not only its food choices but where to acquire those now chosen items. The informed shopper appreciates more readily what each brand has to offer.

The web is where the world goes for information. Safeway gives the shopper more reasons to look with confidence to the Safeway brand.

The retail food customer becomes vested in Safeway with trusted brands and more nutritional information than anyone could ever absorb. Safeway believes by adding a reasonable price point to all of the nutritional information Safeway has created its version of the value proposition.

Understanding what Perdue accomplished in it's initiative to brand chicken and how companies like Dole had the vision to brand vegetables, Safeway wisely chose a direction of branding "trust" with trusted brands.

Many retailers are concerned with any transition that takes the focus away from lower price points. This is why the high low mentality of retail has become the mainstay. However with a closer look at customer surveys we find two important pieces of information  standing in opposition to this thinking.

"Customers will always believe the "Big Box Retailer" is less expensive than the independent grocer"

"Retail Pricing Has Been So Pummeled, No Price Is Safe To Be Guaranteed The Lowest"

Let's now couple the previously detailed obstacles with less options on the  wholesale level in each category and we quickly realize the retailers who survive will be those who understand they must increase retail sales.

Mentioned in almost every one of my articles is the lack of "ideas" in retail food today. To increase sales successfully and maintain those sales increases the retailer must learn to view retailing differently. We must understand how to increase the mix of price and trust and become increasingly focused on selling.

Sales, sales, sales....the success we strive for will be found with the new ideas!

A change in focus towards innovation and a concentration on what it takes to sell. If we allow trust it's proper role in that equation we add to the likelihood the customer will give our retail location the benefit of the doubt on price. We and our customers then begin to understand what the value proposition is all about.

Thank-you for all of your ideas and support.