Safeway Tests Ideal Departments

Safeway said it hopes to create a legendary experience for shoppers by redesigning certain departments to better serve customers. After testing 10 departments at single locations, Safeway has integrated all 10 at 100 of its stores across all divisions to determine how complex a chainwide rollout would be, including employee training. The company declined to provide further

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here said it hopes to create “a legendary experience” for shoppers by redesigning certain departments to better serve customers.

After testing 10 “ideal” departments at single locations, Safeway has integrated all 10 at 100 of its stores across all divisions to determine how complex a chainwide rollout would be, including employee training. The company declined to provide further details on the specific changes involved in the tests.

“We want to work out the kinks at the 100 stores before we go wider,” a Safeway executive told SN following a presentation during the company's investor conference this month by Diane M. Dietz, executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

“Our goal is to move beyond excellent service to create a legendary experience — that's the mission we're on,” Dietz said. “We want to go from an experience where consumers want to get in and out quickly to one that offers real opportunities. We've already ‘lifestyled’ the stores' perimeters — now we want to lifestyle the whole store.”

After talking with consumers, Safeway took 10 departments and tested what consumers indicated would be the perfect experience in each one, “and we found we could dramatically change the results by delivering exactly what the consumer wanted,” Dietz said in her presentation.

To determine if those principles could work across an entire store, Safeway began testing the concepts at 100 stores and got strong internal results, she said. “Every department had net positive results compared with the control stores,” she said.

Safeway officials declined to pinpoint what categories the tests involve.