Here in the Washington DC area, there are two major supermarket chains, Giant and Safeway. There are other smaller chains like Harris Teeter, and national chains such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. When I first moved to the area, I went to Giant. I was shocked and appalled–compared to the Publix in Florida, the prices were higher and the produce inferior. I pretty much abandoned Giant in favor of shopping in several other places. There doesn’t seem to be one place that has it all. Trader Joe’s has good prices but does not carry certain things and does not have good produce. Whole Foods has good produce at extremely high prices. And so forth.
Lately, Giant has been suffering from lost market share and has begun redesigning its stores, lowering its prices (supposedly) and now, redesigning its logo. The Washington Post reports that its old logo has been in use since 1963. It was certainly time for an update. The supermarket has also been advertising itself as the place for a bargain. The new commercials play on the economic climate. One of them says to the viewer that if he or she has been thinking of buying a cow to have cheaper milk, then he or she should just come to Giant, where milk costs XX a gallon.
Time will tell if the new look and logo will bring more customers in. And whether the store really has better prices. In a sense, supermarkets are in a hypercompetitive environment and apparently, customers are now looking for an “experience.” Safeway also redesigned its stores to have wood floors and more upscale look. Overall, I think consumers are looking to save a buck and find what they need in one place. Giant and Safeway can look prettier and more inviting, but if the food bill is still expensive, then they will continue to lose market share. For one, I want to check out the “new” Giant. But whether I shop there, remains to be seen.
P.S. This more “positive” shopping experience, with brighter colors etc., has been played up by Bloom Supermarkets. I blogged a while back about their weird commercials and their “happy” shopping experience.