I took this picture a couple of years ago in The Hague in the Netherlands. The supermarket chain displaying this wheel of cheese complete with facebook sign prides itself in not accepting cash for payment! The Netherlands are a nation of cheese makers, cheese seller and cheese consumers. Seeing entire cheese wheels on display is therefore not altogether surprising. The facebook sign is, of course, a dead give away that the photo was taken within the last ten years and not in the nineties or earlier. Social media is a very powerful tool in the modern food marketer’s arsenal and whoever decorated this Dutch supermarket window achieved a breathtakingly simple execution of an incredibly complex strategic issue that is vexing the minds of supermarket owners the world over. How can the investment in brick & mortar stores not only be protected in the face of the relentless onslaught of the online shopping phenomenon, which said brick & mortar store operators have to join themselves in order to protect their overall market share? Retailers around the globe are experimenting furiously, as their investment in the traditional brick & mortar model. Consumers are naturally enjoying their new found freedom of existing supply channels being changed, reconstructed or realigned and entirely new channels emerging at a rate of knots.
Woolworth Australia seems to have cooked up an experiment in this category which is worthwhile keeping an eye on. The supermarket corporate has teamed up with eBay. eBay shoppers can now pick up their purchases in selected Woolworths stores…and will hopefully shop the store at the same time. More details here.
An innovative attempt to use existing distribution capacity, regardless of ownership. Competitors exploring selected channel fusion options based on exceeding consumer expectations. It doesn’t get any better than that.