A High-End Retail Experience… at the Grocery Store



When you walk into a high-end retail store like Nordstrom, you expect to be treated to one-on-one service. When you make your way to the grocery store to pick up your weekly necessities, you may be used to a different experience, dealing with some minor issues during your trip.

When stores like your neighborhood Kroger can take those minor issues and create a positive, one-on-one experience, they’re sure to make a customer for life. Let me tell you about the Nordstrom-quality experience I had recently at Kroger.

Minor issue at hand: I can’t find my beloved thin pretzel crisps!

Every time I visit Kroger, these delicious pretzel crisps are featured on an eye-catching display. The brand is always introducing new, creative flavors, but I like the original flavor. Much to my disappointment, the past four times I’ve been to my Kroger, they have been out of the original thin pretzel crackers which have become my pantry staple!

After four trips and no luck, I took matters into my own hands. I had a chat with the Assistant Manager about the store’s plain pretzel crisp shortage. He recognizes the inventory issue and gives me his assurance that plenty of original pretzel crisps will be available by the next time I visit Kroger.

On my next visit, there are still no original pretzel crisps! I was fed up, about to leave for the nearest Marsh. It would be kind of a pain for me to have to visit a second grocery store that day, but paired with the store’s lack of the Triscuits I like that day, too, I’d had enough.

Minor issues led me to nearly walk out the door, and they do so for many other customers, too: these inconveniences make customers 5 times more likely to leave the store, without ever telling the business.

Instead of leaving right then and there, I talked to a stock person about my pretzel crisp problem. Because I spoke up, I got an experience I never would have expected from my grocery store! The associate took the time to search the store high and low for my pretzel crisps — while they did not have the full size package, they did have a 10-pack snack version. My Kroger store went above and beyond to remedy this situation for me — they gave me the snack pack free as part of their “Make it Right” program, and promised to set aside a few packages out of their next shipment for me that I could pick up on my upcoming shopping trip.

Kroger gets it! This is a store that recognizes the negative impact minor issues have on customer loyalty. Kroger realizes they are experiencing some difficulty getting customers to speak up about the minor problems faced on store visits, and are encouraging feedback with customer surveys at the bottom of every receipt.

Kroger has also empowered their touchpoint employees with the ability to “make it right” when customers inform them of these issues, in the same way that high-end retailers like Nordstrom does. These employees are a retailer’s best defense when it comes to spotting customer dissatisfaction — smart retailers give them the power to tack action!

Retailers who can recognize and resolve minor customer issues quickly are the ones that can make shoppers feel important in situations where they’d normally feel insignificant. This experience showed me that I could have a Nordstrom experience even at my local grocery store.


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