Each Destination Center Is a Theater for Engaging the Whole Shopper

By Margie Proctor
Hillphoenix Marketing & Design Specialist

Grocery stores are in a unique position to satisfy today’s consumer’s appetite for fresh, high-quality foods and engaging food experiences. Along with being a one-stop shop for household goods and pantry staples – something restaurants and farmers markets can’t offer – in-store Destination Centers cater to customers seeking a boutique wine or cheese experience or fresh, prepared dishes to eat in or take out. They’re also a store’s opportunity to captivate shoppers who came in for a few basic items, like milk and paper towels, and have them leaving with a bottle of the wine they just sampled at the wine bar or sushi they just watched the sushi chef prepare.

In other words, grocers have the unique ability to appeal directly to all five of a shopper’s senses and create an engaging experience that makes your store the go-to place – the destination – for what shoppers crave. Here we share some tried-and-true tips for creating that experience.

Merchandise to all five senses

Food merchandisers know full well the power of visuals – colorful product arrangements, attractive lighting and signage – and the value of offering samples to pique interest and stimulate the taste buds. But most traditional food stores fail to appeal directly to shoppers’ other senses.

The aroma of meat grilling. The sound of a chef’s knife on the cutting board, preparing fresh produce. The feel of a loaf of bread still warm from the oven. All of these sensory experiences are potent emotional triggers for shoppers. They conjure pleasant feelings and memories of a special meal, a favorite trip, a cherished holiday gathering. Once stimulated, shoppers want those good feelings to last, and Destination Centers provide them – in the here-and-now – with the ingredients they need to do just that.

Provide product theater

Product theater can be chicken rotating on a spit or food preparers at work where customers can see the action and interact with the experts. The activity of a sushi chef rolling sushi or a cheese monger slicing and displaying items conveys that food is freshly prepared, encourages sampling, and promotes engagement. This kind of product theater creates vivid impressions and makes customers feel more connected to the food and the staff.

Plug in to social media

Social media is far more impactful than store flyers or websites for engaging shoppers, and Millennials in particular like to hear about the experiences of their friends and family. By developing a strong social media presence and monitoring what others are saying, grocers can learn about customer preferences and offer the mealtime solutions and food experiences shoppers are looking for.

Click to learn more about Destination Centers by Hillphoenix.

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