I’ll begin with a brief history lesson about Meijer. It was founded in 1934 during the depression as a grocery store in central Michigan. In 1962, Meijer put a stake in the ground that ultimately redefined retail in the U.S., opening the first “supercenter” in this country. They combined a supermarket and a department store in one 180,000-square-foot building. According to Forbes, Meijer is the 19th largest privately held company in the U.S. with 242 stores across six upper Midwest states. Its operating philosophy is a thing of beauty: “Take care of your customers, team members and community … and all of them will take care of you, just like a family.” (Side note: Sam Walton opened his first supercenter in 1987.)
- There’s no better place to continue the story of Meijer family values than in its stunning baby care department. In addition to the “Food,” “Feeding” and “Changing” mini-departments, the baby clothing area is colorful, well-stocked and impressive. Also, I took note of the “better for baby” products – Babyganics and Once Upon a Farm (refrigerated products).
- The seasonal Halloween department at Meijer is spectacular. The mini-department was themed “Hallow & Hyde Co” and carried a more-than-full assortment of candy, scary outfits, gifts and garden gear.
- The theme on the wall overlooking the pet department is “Pets are Family.” This large department is like putting a full-size PetSmart inside the supercenter – 1,200 linear feet of shelf space, 20 shelf sets and 30 endcaps/pallet displays.
- The collaboration with brands extends into the digital environment as well. Check out the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day page on Meijer’s website. At top left of this image, you can see that the effort also extends into the store with an endcap.
- You can’t have a supermarket conversation today without discussing the perimeter perishable departments. Meijer’s produce, deli, seafood, meats and fresh bakery are beautifully designed and well-maintained, and they help create a wonderful experience.
- In terms of digital and e-commerce efforts, Meijer has been on target in the past. Its mPerks program was the first major loyalty effort that didn’t use physical cards, rather shoppers had to register with their phone numbers. The retailer now offers both home delivery and pickup. Most recently, Meijer introduced “shop & scan,” which allows shoppers to scan their items through Meijer’s app and move quickly through a self-checkout lane.
- With Meijer’s beer, wine and spirits department, I’ve never seen a better developed assortment of these products in a supermarket or supercenter. The area is integrated into the high-traffic grocery department, thereby delivering on impulse purchases with attractive displays.
- Walking the store, I couldn’t help but notice a number of national brand and Meijer collaborations. One of the most impressive instances is the work done with Yankee Candle in candles, fragrances and giftware. This picture only shows about 50% of the space devoted to Yankee Candle products.
- Across from the Halloween department is the Hyde St. Bake Shop, which carries a full assortment of themed kitchen ware. It’s difficult to walk down these main aisle exhibits without being lured to make a purchase.