Dear WinCo Foods,
In today’s tough economic times, now is your time to capture market share.
Sure, your competition offers fancy, well-lit displays; clear aisles; most name brands I like to consume; cheerful employees who offer to help me out to my car (OK, I’m not that old); and someone to bag my stuff. But I pay dearly for it.
I exchange convenience/experience for savings at WinCo — the supermarket low-price leader. I accept the fact that your idea of offering low-priced goods means that I get to suffer with grumpy employees who treat me like I’m inconveniencing them; unboxed goods in the aisle; bagging my own groceries; random inventory levels and product selection; and, in general, very little service. In exchange, I get to brag that I saved $50-100.
Studies show that consumers like to patronize less-expensive stores in tough times — and companies profit. Witness Wal-Mart’s growing profitability over the last year, compared to Target’s. Can you believe that Wal-Mart’s taking share away from Target? I’m thinking that you’re doing pretty well for yourselves right now. But your short-term gain is going to be your long-term loss.
Now is the time for you to make some cheap tweaks — engage your customers to find out what you could do to improve their experience and keep saving them money. Clear up those aisles and urge your employees to be more customer-friendly. Do it now. Once the economy begins to recover, you could have more fans and customers than at the start of these tough economic times.
For now, I’ll continue to shop at your store; smile at all of the grumps; wish for a better grocery world; and after paying for my groceries, text my wife to have that Session Lager cold and ready for my frazzled nerves when I get back.
PS — the ESOP link at the bottom of your home page does not work.