Some say it looks like Trader Joe’s: According to this op-ed in Forbes, it’s about emotional connection — something the article says Trader Joe’s does really well. At TJ’s, there is no “loyalty program” per say. Instead, it’s about creating an original enjoyable experience, whether that’s shopping for products or interacting with employees. Certainly something to consider as inflation pushes prices continually higher. TJ’s also doesn’t have an e-commerce game and as far as we know, has no plans for one in the near future. But evidently the company’s not worried. As Bob Amster, principal at Retail Technology Group, says, “The store experience is the brand at Trader Joe’s. They are unequaled in their segment.” There you have it. —Chloe Riley
Where Walmart sees the pain of inflation: Shoppers are being more selective about their purchases due to the pain of inflation, and even Walmart with its emphasis on low prices is feeling the burn. “Dry grocery, processed foods and consumables are where the inflation’s most stubborn,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC. The company said people are also buying cheaper proteins like hot dogs, beans and peanut butter instead of more expensive meats. Shopping patterns are shifting: and it’s having a real effect — Last month, Walmart gave a more cautious outlook than even Wall Street expected. —CR
A mixed foodservice forecast: Supermarkets may see greater competition from the foodservice sector next year. In its predictions for 2023, Chicago-based research and consulting firm Technomic Inc. said years of social distancing and restrictions have created a pent-up demand by consumers for dining out and a return to on-premise restaurant eating will continue. The firm also projected that longer-term on-premise activity still will fall short of pre-pandemic levels and that operators will face the challenges of working with lower than ideal staffing levels and higher operating expenses. —Richard Mitchell
More places to ‘Just Walk Out’: Amazon’s planned implementation of its “Just Walk Out” technology in a Community Groceries supermarket in Kansas City, Mo., is touted as the first non-Amazon grocery store to test the cashierless checkout platform. It’s in several Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores, but the e-commerce giant has been busy rolling it out in other retail venues, including convenience stores at the Fiserv Forum In Milwaukee and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., in addition to previous arena and airport installations. The Community Groceries store is set to re-open with the new tech, along with the Amazon One palm-scanning checkout option, on Dec. 16. Checkout lines can be a nuisance, especially in places like sports arenas, but this may be the best test yet to see if traditional grocery shoppers will warm to the new tech. —Mark Hamstra
Fare thee well Disco Kroger: It’s the end of an era for “Disco Kroger,” a Kroger store in Atlanta, Georgia which got its name from its proximity to former dance club “The Limelight.” The store, which had been open for nearly 50 years, had a disco ball hanging at its entrance and an eye-catching mural painted on the side of the building. “All good things must come to an end,” a city council member said. “Disco Kroger is something people like remembering or thinking about, including me, and it’s another lost piece of history. I understand that, but it is what it is.” —CR
Trader Joe's may not have a loyalty program, but they do a lot to cultivate return shoppers. How are you actively building loyalty right now, especially with the state of inflation?