A totally different concept
Introducing a fresh new concept, supermarket brand SuperValu has brought forward innovation combined with strategy, delivering a flagship store in Blackrock, Ireland. December 2015 saw the launch of the exciting ‘food festival’ concept.
SuperValu is part of the Musgrave Group, Ireland’s largest grocery and food distributor, and with 222 stores throughout Ireland, SuperValu has served its people for over 30 years, having become a well established business across Irish communities.
With a strong ethos of ‘Real Food, Real People’, SuperValu has gained its success and positive reputation through offering fresh food, excellent value, constant support of local producers and the customer service it provides. Design consultancy Household collaborated with SuperValu in order to transform the exciting new concept on paper into reality, and enhance the customer experience within the flagship store.
Premier Retail caught up with Sian Novakovic, Customer Experience Strategist at Household, and Sarah Page, Creative Director and Founder of Household, to discover some key facts with regards to the new store concept and what the future holds. Sarah said:
“I think one of the important things is that SuperValu successfully steered through the recession, and for the past few years its focus has been primarily on value and promotion. There is a food revolution being driven throughout the whole of Ireland at present – SuperValu has always had at the heart of its brand real food and real people. It is very much about the quality of food.
“Now now that Ireland is coming out of the recession, SuperValu needs to refocus its business on this positioning – redirecting the focus on really good food, sharing food, delighting the senses, and bringing families together. It’s all about bringing that passion for food back into the store.”
According to Sian:
“It was only a 10-12 week project – we started by working on three trial sites – we used those as a trial to test different initiatives, before moving into the site at Blackrock – the ultimate flagship store for SuperValu.
“The concept idea was ‘food festival’ so the whole thing around this concept was about elevating quality, a sense of crafts, bringing more tactility, and integrating a sense of freshness about the products. We also wanted to really elevate the skill on the shop floor with the initiation of the butchers and bringing the fish monger out from behind his counter, as well as presenting views of the bakers making bread from scratch – which is quite amazing really – adding a theatrical aspect to the store.
“The materiality was all about bringing in textured woods, hand crafted tiles, and new modern materials that haven’t really been seen in food supermarkets before. This was much more about bringing a warmth and contemporary urban approach to the store and really elevating that sense of quality to the products.
“There is definitely an eclectic feel to the materials which is ideal as it reflects a festival theme, we have incorporated beautiful hexagon tiles, copper piping and mesh – which gives a much more lightweight feeling to it, yet still remains modern and sophisticated.
“We used rich colour palettes and the photography displays the experts in portrait style, really showing their skills and trade off, and this is what we use to navigate customers around the store; therefore it is much more about the expertise and skills within the store which is a huge point of difference for Supervalu.”
“I went to the store several weeks back and walking around it I felt so proud, it feels completely different to anything else that I have seen in the UK and Ireland.
“What’s fascinating with the store is that the butcher and the fish monger are walking about the shop floor so customers can interact with them and ask questions. We even have demonstrations such as the fish monger showing customers how to fillet a fish. Throughout the day there are a lot of celebration foods so SuperValu reels out a lot of tasting units, and different things are being cooked for customers to try – it is much more about the entire experience as a whole.”
When asked what it means to them to be involved in the project, Sian replied:
“I think it is the fact that we have managed to successfully combine the really good solid, retail elements of a supermarket with this really inspirational food destination – so we have elevated the standard of what a supermarket can mean to customers.”
Sarah responded with:
“I think for me – having worked with the brand for five years now – to actually see them get to a point where the quality and spirit of their brand can really live and breathe in the store environment and really connect customers at a different level; and we have done it in an incredible timescale and saved the brand money in delivering the store concept as we have done it in clever ways. The relationship with the client is fantastic, and it just ticks all the boxes really.”