Matter Chatter

When opportunity knocks…and no one answers

The entire New England region was transfixed with the Market Basket drama. Like a miniseries, there was hardly a way to avoid the news coverage, protesting part-timers or the honking MB Groupies who made their opinion known about the family debacle.

This isn’t about any of them. It’s about the competition that did little to nothing to grasp the ring and take measures to try and convert the throngs of consumers who stayed away from Market Basket in a pretty remarkable demonstration of solidarity. Stores like Stop n Shop, Hannaford and Shaw’s all have significant stakes here in New England and, if given a lie detector test, the needle would definitely move if any answered, “No, we are not threatened or losing customers to Market Basket.”

So, why didn’t those big chains get proactive about marketing to the thousands of consumers who, even if begrudgingly, were now frequenting their aisles? What could they have done to make a positive impression on those new to the store or, loyal Basketers?

Here’s some thoughts, would love to hear your ideas as well:

  1. Make a connection – interact with your new visitors, ask questions
  2. Differentiate the difference – Talk about the quality of your produce, demonstrate the breadth of your offerings, the width of your aisles
  3. Start a loyalty program – When this all started, these stores should have offered loyalty incentives
  4. Lower your prices as a gesture of goodwill
  5. Ramp up your collateral – Increase mailings to the community with coupons and offers, increase in-store signage and instant coupons
  6. Show your support for the local community and communicate that in your stores

Now, the dust has settled as Arthur T. goes back to work. Far from losers, Market Basket not only survives this event but, it’s more likely that they come back stronger than ever.

  • adgramling

    In point of fact, speaking to the local experience, Shaw’s stepped up to the plate and delivered an outstanding customer experience, which is the best marketing around.

    Faced with a sudden three- to four-fold increase in customer traffic, Shaws a) kept their shelves stocked–no small feat, b) met the personnel challenge by hiring like crazy and bringing in employees from other stores (even housing them locally at nearby hotels), and c) kept their aisles neat and tidy.

    Their staff all knew they had lucked into a short-term windfall, but they didn’t belittle or speak ill of their competitor. They were gracious, smiling and helpful. MB will survive and thrive, but Shaws won back some customers with their response.