Author Archives: Andrew McQuilkin

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Ten—Amenities

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

Customer amenities are the memorable extra steps that a retailer takes to understand and deliver on the needs of each guest. If done right, they bring true moments of surprise and delight. Grocery: It’s long been as basic as baggers offering to load groceries into a shopper’s car. Grocers have also successfully added other amenities […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Nine—Services

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

While physical stores can no longer compete with online retail for sheer product selection, the face-to-face conversations with experts and the services they provide are the greatest differentiator for brick-and-mortar retail. Whether the tailor or butcher, the personal connection builds a level of trust. As grocers adopt more of the traditional department store categories, what […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Eight—Check-Outs

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

The last major touchpoint for the guest experience is at check-out, where a problem-free, positive cashier experience can reinforce the brand for a consumer. Grocery: It’s taken more than 30 years for just one-third of grocery shoppers to adopt self-checkout kiosks. Now technology is being tested for automatic checkout that would eliminate the need for […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Seven—Planning

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

For most retailers, merchants wield a lot of power, battling over every square and linear foot of space for their department. It’s usually the last department merchant to touch the plan that gets everything they want. To make the customer journey work, the layout of each category and service needs to not only make business […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Six—Customer Journey

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

The customer journey is the intended story that unfolds as guests walk around and experience the store. This starts with the view from the street and the entrance, then continues with how they walk through the store, pay for their purchases and exit. It’s everything guests see and touch along the defined path, where each […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Five—Graphics and Signage

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

At its core, wayfinding graphics are meant to help guests easily navigate around stores. It’s critical that there be a graphic hierarchy for key brand messages, departments, classifications, promotions, pricing, and policy. Technology and “branded architecture” also plays an important role. Grocery: Differentiated department signage is king, as the signage stretches from the top of […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Four—Brand Expression

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

Are you trying to spotlight your corporate brand or the branded and private-label products you carry? Are you a “branded house” or a “house of brands?” Design and architecture play a major role in delivering your brand’s overarching message or minimizing it. What you should do depends on whether you’re trying to make your brand […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Three—Lighting

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

Great lighting is the best way to catch shoppers’ attention and sell more product. The best approach is a layered one. Start with functional lighting that ensures shoppers can clearly read labels and employees can perform their jobs. Then add more lighting to spotlight key messaging, displays, and architecture. Grocery: In most grocery stores, high-bay […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Two—Visual Display

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

Using your products to tell a story is a powerful way to inspire the imagination of customers. Whether customized at the store level or handed down from the corporate office, visual displays inform shoppers about seasonal trends, brand lifestyles, or product benefits—and engender confidence and purpose. Grocery: The best that visual displays get in most […]

Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson One—Merchandising

Posted on by Andrew McQuilkin

Everything starts with a store’s product assortment and how the various sizes, shapes, and packaging of products influence the fixtures on which they’re presented. For both department stores and grocery stores, these fixtures have become highly specialized. Grocery: The four basic loose fixture types include cold/frozen cases, produce bins, service cases and the versatile metal […]