Waitrose to create “foodie shopping experience”

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th July 2008

Waitrose is investing £6M in a fresh design concept for its food shops, to strengthen the retailer’s foodie credentials and respond to customer demand for more authoritative information about food.Waitrose, a leading UK retailer, has undertaken extensive research to ascertain what consumers are looking for and found that, as people are cooking at home more often, many are looking for inspiration while more information about products is also desired.

High profile communication in store will focus on highlighting quality, seasonality, provenance, food expertise and their ethical credentials. A seven-week project is set to begin on July 20, with teams working overnight to give a bright new look to the entire Waitrose estate. The focus is on innovative design, with food counter imagery, seasonal images and welcoming displays all part of the plan to improve the information offered and the ambience of the stores. In addition, bold window displays will change on a seasonal basis focusing on key seasonal products, such as British fruit and vegetables.

Striking photography on fixtures and fittings will offer simple serving suggestions, as well as explaining the varieties and uses of specific foods. The messages will aim to bring customers closer to the origins of food by highlighting the provenance of products and the suppliers behind them. The updates by Waitrose coincidentally come soon after a report by Deloitte which outlined that consumers wanted to understand more about where their food comes from and what is in it. Deloitte even found that 73 per cent of consumers would be willing to pay more for greater label clarity and country-of-origin labelling.

Waitrose will be attempting to ensure each branch is reflective of the community in which it trades and a new scheme will allow every customer to have a say in how £1,000 a month is shared between community projects in their local area. “We want to make our branches fresh and enticing, as well as giving them a real sense of the communities in which they trade,” said Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose. “This new look will have a strong focus on telling customers about which products are in season, as well as giving more information about the provenance of their food and the farmers and suppliers responsible for producing it.”