Walking the isles

Being based in Sydney, I spent last week in New Zealand just so I could remind myself of what summer feels like in the southern hemisphere. CROSSMARK’s New Zealand office is one of our prettiest office locations in the CROSSMARK world, and that is saying something.

Our Texas head office stands on 20 acres, with one side overlooking a lake and the other overlooking the paddocks with buffalo and Texas longhorn grazing in the grounds. In NZ the office overlooks Takapuna beach and the channel into Auckland Harbour. So, last week, I worked while watching cruise ship the Queen Mary 2 arrive and leave with windsurfers in the foreground and the volcano Rangitoto in the background. I believe I was productive anyway.

During the visit, I spent an afternoon doing store walks with well-respected New Zealand media commentator and publisher David Gapes. David runs New Zealand AdMedia and was keen to understand the shift from traditional media to in-store media. So, in preparation for the store, I updated myself on the key stats around the New Zealand market.

Traditional retail, which includes grocery stores, convenience stores, milk bars, shoe and clothing stores, accounts for more than NZ$40 billion in annual sales, with grocery alone being a NZ$15 billion sector. The grocery sector is serviced through 3200 grocery stores via New World and PAK’nSAVE stores through the independent retail-buying group, Foodstuffs. The Countdown banner represents Woolworths.

New World stores and the newly refurbished Countdown stores are world class and provide as good a shopper experience as any Kroger, Tesco, Carrefour or Coles store. They are bright and airy, with a clearly defined store-in-store feel. However, they each offer their own very different shoppers and two very different experiences.

As an example, the health and wellbeing area in a New World looks and feels like a freestanding pharmacy even though prescriptions can’t be fulfilled in a grocery store. Its bright white lights and curved white fixtures, wide aisle and separate zones for men’s and women’s products, skin and hair, are a pleasure to shop in. While in a new Countdown store the beer and wine department feels like a top-level liquor store, but with great pricing. I have to say that Countdown’s walk-in chilled beer room with glass automatic sliding doors was fantastic: probably the best chilled beer selling area I have seen in a long time.

Walking the stores with David, I was reminded of every meeting I have ever had with senior retailers and how their minds differ fundamentally from senior manufacturers. Manufacturers are in competition with other manufacturers for a share of the shoppers’ dollars.

However, retailers aren’t in the business of trying to woo shoppers from other retailers. They are in the business of giving their loyal shoppers the best shopping experience they can in order to increase ‘dwell time’, the amount of time shoppers spend in store as well as increasing ‘basket size’; the amount of money their shoppers spend during each visit. And, if they do those two things well, then the shopper comes back again and again.

In his role as CEO of CROSSMARK, Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores. In this insightful blog, Kevin covers retail news, ideas, companies and emerging opportunities in Australia, NZ, the US and Europe. His international career in sales and marketing has seen him responsible for business in over 40 countries, which has earned him grey hair and a wealth of expertise in international retailers and brands. CROSSMARK Asia Pacific is Australasia’s largest provider of retail marketing services, consulting to and servicing some of Australasia’s biggest retailers and manufacturers.


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