Happy Foodie Friday! Today, I’ll wrap up our dive into my IDDBA17 presentation, Experiences that Engage, with part 3—hitting the experience “sweet spot”—and share a world-class example of how it’s done in the food industry.
When designing an experience, at each step of the process, you need to ask:
• What can be done to make the experience more fun and enjoyable?
• What do you want your guests to learn?
• How can you transport guests from one sense of reality to another?
• What can be done to make guests want to hang out and just be?
So, who’s doing this well in our industry? Who is hitting that sweet spot?
One of the best examples I’ve found is Eataly. My first encounter with Eataly was during a trip to Torino, Italy in 2010, and since then I’ve visited their locations in Chicago and in New York City, and I plan to visit the one in Boston soon as well.
I’ll never forget the first time I visited Eataly in New York’s Flatiron District with a group of friends. When we walked into the cheese department, we were completely immersed in the sights, the sounds, and the smells.
First, everywhere we looked, there were signs educating us about the cheeses. Then we were entertained and educated by a cheesemonger who was making fresh mozzarella right in front of us, and he even offered us a sample of the warm, delicious cheese.
After that, we went over to an area where it felt like we were in an Italian piazza—complete with standing tables—and they brought out a wonderful selection of Italian cheeses, salumi, bread, and wine, of course! It was great to be able to hang out and just talk and enjoy ourselves.
One thing I found really interesting: Even though this was just a few years ago, it was back before Instagram and Snapchat were so ubiquitous and people started regularly taking photos of their food. When I asked if it was okay to take pictures, they not only told me it was okay, they said to feel free to take pictures of their employees! They wanted us to share our experiences with others. Suffice it to say, it’s not your typical grocery shopping trip.
Now, it’s interesting to note that Eataly does have a website where you can purchase many of their items. But is it the same experience? Does it take the place of going to the store? Of course not! What do you get from going to the store that you can’t get from their website? The whole sensory experience—the ability to see, taste, and smell. Even more, you lose out on the ability to interact with the people.
The Eataly experience is carefully crafted to draw people in, encourage them to enjoy themselves, educate them, and then get them to stay longer so they will purchase more and come back again and again.
The bad news is that goods and services are being increasingly commoditized. But the good news for the Supermarket Dairy, Deli, and Bakery departments is that in our areas of the store, we have an opportunity to create engaging experiences that will draw customers into our stores and into our departments.
Now we need to start looking at our stores and our departments through the lens of the 4 E’s.
So, I challenge you today to ask yourselves:
What engaging experiences am I creating that will make customers want to come to my store?
What would make customers maybe even pay more for my products and services?
What about my department is worth sharing on social media?
What am I giving my employees and customers to talk about?
Now, put the 4 Es into play, and let’s go give them something to talk about!