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    Blog: Publix's intangible and integral store brand

    Food writer lists retailer's service as her No. 1 reason for being 'the best grocery store ever'

    By Lawrence Aylward
    Publix has embraced superior customer service as an own brand. (Photo courtesy of Publix)

    Store Brands, which recently named Publix Super Markets its 2017 Retailer of the Year, isn’t the only one that thinks highly of the Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer.

    Recently, Meghan Splawn, the associate food editor for the online food magazine Kitchn, wrote about Publix in an article headlined, “10 Reasons Publix Is the Best Grocery Store Ever."

    “Publix was a new-to-me grocery store when I moved to Atlanta over 10 years ago, but before I ever had the pleasure of shopping there, I'd already heard whispers of the store's greatness,” Splawn wrote. “Now Publix is my regular grocery store.”

    In her 10 reasons for calling Publix “the best,” Splawn cites several examples related to the retailer’s private brands, noting that “having relied on the Publix store brand for everything from foil to frozen corn, I can attest to the awesomeness of their store brand products. This includes their deli and bakery items too.” On her list, Splawn also listed Publix’ “legendary” fried chicken which has become a brand in itself.

    But what caught my attention more than anything on Splawn’s list was her No. 1 reason for holding Publix in such high regard. She writes: “Every employee is incredibly nice and helpful. Customer service is a key component of the Publix mission statement that actually comes through in their stores. My go-to location has managers and cashiers who know me by name. Ms. Tina, my favorite cashier, knows both my children by name, and remembers the things I buy frequently and reminds me when they are on sale.”

    A few months ago, I spoke with Dave Harvey, Daymon’s vice president for global thought leadership, who stressed the importance of retailers looking beyond products to capitalize on store brands. Harvey’s point is that a retailer’s services — from nutrition consulting to simply treating its customers with the utmost respect — are crucial in helping to define its own brands. “This is really a new frontier for private brands,” Harvey said.

    Clearly, Splawn goes to Publix as much for its private branded products as much as she does for its distinguished service. “Personalization” is a term being used frequently these days as a way for retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition. In Publix’ case, “personalization” extends to an important intangible related to store brands — training employees to offer service that exceeds customers’ expectations.

     

     

    By Lawrence Aylward
    • About Lawrence Aylward Aylward is editor in chief of Store Brands.

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