Ahhh, Mariano’s…you’ve made grocery shopping so fun.
For readers in other markets – East and West coasts – you may not be aware but Mariano’s (Roundy’s Supermarkets) is shaking up the grocery retail space in Chicago.
Mariano’s has been expanding their presence over the past few years. And when Dominick’s (Safeway) decided to close all stores in the Chicago market, the race to capture their retail space was on.
But Mariano’s has been quickest to the plate – in acquisitions and also in new developments. That’s right…BUILDING new structures.
Their latest new building is in a former Sears Auto Center in the Ravenswood area. This space is shiny and new and FUN to shop. Even on their first Sunday morning, with lots of shoppers in the store, everyone seemed to be enjoying their experience.
As marketers, we know this is all planned on the retailer’s part. But Mariano’s succeeds in making the craziness of preparing for the week of lunches, dinners, snacks, etc. feel like an enjoyable experience.
Here are a few ways they’re doing this…
1. Shorter aisles – easier to see products at the other end
2. Open and low refrigerated sections instead of long aisles of refrigeration (where you have to open every door to see what’s inside)
3. Prepared meals beyond deli options. BBQ area and Oyster Bar, for example.
4. Fun ways to buy in bulk – creatively displaying bulk grains and spices
5. Helping with loyalty cards – having staff on-hand at kiosks to help new shoppers receive their loyalty cards
Aside from all this greatness, one thing was noticeably amiss– signage. Specifically, for the check out area.
I’m starting to wonder…could Mariano’s be the IKEA of grocery in Chicago? (i.e. You can get in, but you can’t get out)