Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 64 of 107

B rick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce will continue to co-exist in the future, although their roles will evolve to meet consumer demands, according to a panel of buyers at the Super Session called "Selling Specialty" at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June. A group of retailers sat down with moderator Phil Lempert at the Summer Fancy Food Show to discuss the evolving roles of physical stores and e-commerce in specialty food retailing. BY MARK HAMSTRA Retail's Future Cathy Strange, global executive coordinator, specialty and product inno- vation and development, Whole Foods Market, said physical stores "provide an opportunity for the consumer to have personal interaction and personal com- munication—an opportunity to touch and taste the product. It's part of the shopping experience in so many ways." Consumers, particularly those of natural and organic products, are con- cerned about transparency, and they establish a degree of trust with their retailer to help them make purchasing decisions in the store, she said. Brick-and-mortar retailers are also a more logical environment for merchan- dising perishables, Strange pointed out. "Buying a box of supplements is going to be a very different experience than selecting a cheese and having it wrapped in the store," she said. "Buying perishables online is an entirely differ- ent thing." For small, specialty retailers, one of the keys to remaining viable in a world increasingly inf luenced by e-commerce is to provide customers with a high- quality in-store experience, noted Scott Zoeller, vice president of deli prepared foods, cheese, meat, and seafood for Kings Food Markets and Balducci's Food Lover's Market. "People want that experience," he said. "They want to talk to that cheese- monger." Trip Straub, president and CEO of Straub's Markets, a five-store St. Louis chain, agreed that personal interaction, through well-trained employees, is an important aspect of satisfying custom- ers in the physical store environment. "We need to do a phenomenal job of training," he said. "We need to know what those customers are asking for, The buyer panel at the Summer Show Super Session, "Selling Specialty." Pictured left to right: Trip Straub, Straub's Markets; Monica Schechter, jet.com and Walmart.com; moderator Phil Lempert, The Lempert Report; Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market; Scott Zoeller, Kings Food Markets and Balducci's Food Lover's Market; Tony Stallone, Peapod. 62 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com buyer panel

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