As part of our retailer highlight series, we'll be focusing on various insights, thoughts, and relevant topics that our partners would like to share with the community. This month's spotlight is on: FoodFair.
FoodFair, also known as Forth Foods Inc., is a supermarket retailer with locations in the tri-state area of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Currently, the Grocery TV network is running in 16 FoodFair stores with 60 displays.
The slogan on their Facebook page is telling of the type of environment they've established: "Large enough to serve, small enough to care." We're proud to partner with a team that prioritizes giving back to their customers and maintaining affordable prices in their stores.
We recently had a chance to chat with Andrew Ardire, Store Manager at Deemer's FoodFair. He discussed COVID-19's varying effects, loyalty programs, and the importance of problem-solving within the community.
The Effects of COVID-19
Andrew started off by talking about the challenges COVID-19 caused, but also how it served as a reminder that retail is changing. "We have to keep up," he asserted, "Part of that is reaching our customers in new and creative ways— Grocery TV has been critical in modernizing our front end and helping us reach customers." He also mentioned the impact of launching online ordering and being able to engage with shoppers on that platform as well.
Supply chain delays were a prominent issue throughout the pandemic, and one that FoodFair grappled with, but Andrew acknowledged that having their own distribution center helped keep their shelves stocked. With the center being no more than an hour and a half away from any of their stores, they didn't have to wait as long for deliveries. Although cleaning supplies and meat products were difficult to obtain, customers still appreciated having many household necessities.
When it came to shopping trends, Andrew highlighted the growth of center grocery in particular, which was up about 40% for the year. People bought more canned goods, baking ingredients, and things that they can make at home. However, it's hard to predict exactly how much of those sales will be retained once restaurants become more accessible.
Implementing Loyalty Programs
According to McKinsey, more than 75% of consumers have changed their shopping behavior since COVID-19 began. This includes trying new brands, grocery stores, or shopping methods such as online delivery. Loyalty programs are an effective way to help retailers deepen relationships with their customers by rewarding them, encouraging engagement, and offering special perks. Andrew explained that FoodFair has had a massive response from their Cart Cash program.
The points program allows shoppers to earn rewards on all of their grocery purchases and, by signing up for the free additional VIP membership, they can get extra point bonuses, freebies, and coupons sent to their email.
Andrew pointed out that digital coupon usage and mobile app shopping definitely succeeded more among younger generations, but the appeal of earning rewards and redeeming points in stores was felt across the board.
Working Together as a Community
We finished off our chat by asking Andrew if he had any words of advice to share with retailers during this time. "Appreciating your staff, keeping your customers safe, and adjusting your buying habits to be more flexible is what really helped us through this," he shared.
Andrew also told us about a memorable experience from last year, during which his store purchased a shipment of beef from a local Five Guys restaurant. "Right before they temporarily shut down they had just received a truckload of fresh ground beef, and this was during the beef shortage," he explained.
"They couldn't open their store, so we purchased the beef from them because it's completely sealed, certified, and ready to go. Then we had ground beef when nobody else did."
By being adaptable and resourceful, FoodFair was able to provide a valuable product to their customers.
Our team at Grocery TV continues to see examples of how resilient, adaptable, and strategic retailers are across the country. We're all curious to see what new shifts and trends emerge as we head into the second half of 2021, but we can confidently say that there will be a supportive community to help each other along the way.
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Huge thanks to Andrew for chatting with us and sharing his experiences! We agree that flexibility has been essential throughout the pandemic, and being present for your staff and customers makes a world of a difference.
Stay tuned for more highlights featuring retailers from our network across the United States! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our blogs and exciting company news.