News Feature | May 19, 2014

Food Lion Listens To Customers, Responds With New Approach

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Hannah Ash, contributing writer

New Approach At Food Lion

The popular supermarket chain, which operates over 1,100 outlets in the United States and staffs over 48,000 employees, has launched a new look alongside a new, customer-centric strategy.  In August 2013, CEO Beth Newlands Campbell stated she didn’t want her company to be  a “middle of the road” retailer, stating that the company needed to find a way to stand apart. Almost one year later, it seems that Campbell has found her solution: by emphasizing the customer as central to its retail commerce strategy, the new Food Lion is a lesson in crafting seamless customer shopping experiences.

What has changed, exactly? The tagline, for one, which sums up this new approach, “Easy, Fresh and Affordable...You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day." The easy component means larger register screens, expanded product lines, and new color-coded shopping bags (blue for cold, white for non-refrigerated). The fresh part includes a new walk-in cooler for the produce department as well as expanded deli options. The affordable component means that Food Lion store brand items will be expanded upon, bringing customers greater opportunities to save. Campbell states, “our customers have told us that they want a grocery experience where it’s easy to shop, easy to save and easy to figure out what is for dinner tonight. Based on their feedback and continuing to build on Food Lion’s longstanding heritage of low prices and convenient locations, we will work to own the easiest full shop experience in the Southeast…”

Next month, a wide-scale associate training program will be launched; the training will put the emphasis on how Food Lion employees can best serve its customers. Supermarket analyst Phil Lempert indicates the company needs to define itself clearly, saying, ““There’s always gonna be somebody who’s cheaper, somebody who’s prettier, somebody who has more service.” Since Campbell took over last year following a management shakeup, she has been focusing on turning the store around and rebuilding customer loyalty. The changes that are being implemented are based upon Food Lion customers’ feedback; perhaps by being a store that listens to its customers, Food Lion can stand apart from the pack.