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Making the grocery shop easier

May 23, 2005

Food Lion is a grocery retailer that operates over 1,200 stores in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Last year they opened the first Bloom store. Bloom is a pilot project that Food Lion hope to expand over the next few years.

Bloom, is a great example of a project developed by listening and trying to understand consumer needs. It’s a response to Food Lion’s extensive research which revealed consumers found grocery shopping a hassle. Instead of just taking this information for granted, Food Lion decided to do something about it.

Food Lion’s goal with Bloom has been strip out the clutter and confusion and provide consumers with an easy and convenient way to shop. Bloom has a number of elements in store to make this happen.

“Table Top Circle” located in the front of the store. Here customers can quickly grab items like milk, bread, eggs, beer, soda and ready-to-heat meals there including meals by Boston Market.

Breakfast items are all merchandised together in a single section and there is a Natural Corner for low-fat and low-carb lines.

Less frequently shopped items like pet food and laundry are all together in one section so not to interfere with the main flow.

To make things easier, Bloom makes ample use of technology. Consumers can use personal scanners (that provide promotional information), self-serve scales print out bar-coded tickets ready for scanning and information kiosks located throughout the store provide recipe information.

One of Bloom’s most radical moves has been to get rid of all in-store advertising and point-of-purchase displays to eliminate clutter.

Finally, just to ensure Bloom is a true one-stop shop there are also; a dvd rental store, shipping services, a Western Union and bill paying services.

There is certainly a gap in the market for a “retail editor” that makes things easier for the consumer.

Time is the consumer’s most valuable asset and any retailer that understands how to help save it, will do well.

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