- Woolies’ revamp cost hundreds of millions
- Customers concerned most food is imported
- ‘Woolworths: The Australian Fresh Food People’
STARTLING consumer research has shocked Woolworths into a nationwide store and image revamp costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
The revelation that customers believe most food is imported will see supermarket walls ripped down to expose the behind-the-scenes operations of each store, allowing customers to see butchers and bakers at work on-site.
The retailer will also change bakers’ work hours, roster bakery staff to work in daylight hours so that shoppers can see them at work and smell the aroma of baking bread wafting through the aisles.
Expert butchers will be carving meat and serving customers directly when they take over front-of-counter duties.
Woolworths’ director of supermarkets, Tjeerd Jegen, aims to fix his major gripes with the stores, including meat displays that are a “sea of red”, dim lighting that customers loathe, long checkout queues and lurid paint schemes.
Plans also include iPhone apps for customers to self-scan goods as they shop, multi-sized stores open around the clock, and ready-to-cook fresh meat and vegetable packages for full meals such as a Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
And the supermarket is altering its brand name for the first time in 25 years, with the word “Australian” inserted into its catchphrase to become “Woolworths: The Australian Fresh Food People”.
The move comes amid a growing demand among shoppers to buy locally grown or organic produce because they perceive it to be better quality.
It is also an acknowledgment of Coles’ success with the “Down Down” campaign and use of celebrity chefs to promote its fresh food lines, which initially saw Woolworths scrambling to catch up.
The first stage of the overhaul starts today with the launch of a national television, print and radio advertising campaign featuring real Woolworths employees, including truck drivers, farmers and butchers.
The changes are being driven by Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien, who took over the helm in March last year, and Mr Jegen, who joined the company in October. The pair commissioned focus groups and customer research studies to create a profile of the typical Australian supermarket shopper. They found that shoppers think most produce is imported, a view probably caused by import stickers on fruit and vegetables when they are not in season in Australia.
The overhaul will include providing shoppers with greater information about the seasonality of foods to explain why certain fruit and vegetables are at times sourced from overseas.