The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 100 of 116

100  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2016 Kroger F or The Kroger Co., headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the only constant is change. As one of the world's largest retailers, the company is dedicated to regular assessment and refinement across its many brands, which range from supermarket Ralphs to multi-department store Fred Meyer to price-impact warehouse store Food 4 Less. The driving force behind Kroger's evolu- tion? Its customers. "Our go-to-market strategy is pretty simple: We listen to our customers and make every decision based on what they tell us," says Ryan McHendry, Coordinator of Category Management for the Wine Team at The Kroger Co. As one of the youngest department directors in Kroger's history, McHendry has made a significant impact since joining Kroger a decade ago. Nowhere is that impact more apparent than in Kroger's wine department. History of Listening Kroger, the largest wine retailer in America, is growing faster than the total United States wine industry. Through centralizing buying efforts, leveraging best-in-class shopper data, updating schematics to reflect consumer buying patterns, identifying trends and partnering with suppliers who help unlock the opportunities within those trends, Kroger has continued a historical tradition since its founding in 1883. As the first grocer to formally conduct consumer research in the 1970s, Kroger has continued to refine its approach to gather- ing customer insights; it drew on feedback from 9,661,855 customers in 2014. That's a lot of ears! From collecting shopper data, to conducting surveys and research, the company measures societal, economic and technological trends that shape the customer shopping experience. For more than a decade, a partnership with firm 84.51° has helped Kroger unlock and leverage these customer insights, while engaging customers and delivering personalized, relevant content in-store and on digital platforms. For McHendry, the other secret ingredient is the people: "In my current role, I have to say that I am the most proud of my wine category management team and all that we have been able to accomplish as a wine retailer, due to their hard work, drive and dedication to the business and to our customers," he says. Case Study: Wisdom in Wine Customer feedback inspired the team to overhaul its wine department, switching over from organizing wines by country of origin, to categorizing them by varietal. "The wine aisle can already be intimidating to our shoppers, and it was our belief that they deserved a better, easier and more efficient way to shop our wine sections," McHendry says. "After talking with our customers, we realized the best way to achieve this was to mirror the thought process our consumers already use when purchasing wines. They think about the type of wine they want to pair with a great meal or to celebrate an occa- sion, for example. Varietal sets just made it easier to buy wine in our stores." Keeping Up with THE NATION'S LARGEST FOOD RETAILER STAYS IN-TUNE WITH CUSTOMERS' PREFERENCES THROUGH INNOVATIVE METRIC SYSTEMS AND ONE REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY: LISTENING by Becky Tsadik / photos by Jacob Crews Ryan McHendry, Coordinator of Category Management for the Wine Team at The Kroger Co., based in Cincinnati.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - March 2016