Store of the Week: Coop (Italia)
This week’s effort might not be the most beautiful of stores that you will see, but it was certainly among the most popular that we encountered on a recent raft of store visits in Italy, probably only eclipsed by Lidl and Esselunga in terms of being mobbed by shoppers.
The store we went to was a run of the mill neighbourhood supermarket. While there was nothing to write home about in terms of store design or merchandising, boxes such as value, service and private label were all firmly ticked. Value was a consistent theme from the word go: a highly aggressive, if somewhat shoddily executed, display at the front of the store compared brand leaders with Coop’s own standard PL range, revealing that a PL basket would cost EUR39.02 compared to EUR54.94 for the branded equivalent. A great way of really annoying branded suppliers, but also an impactful demonstration to shoppers of the benefit of switching into PL.
The PL range itself was very well done. The well-designed standard range was augmented with organic, fair trade and eco-friendly variants and was accompanied by a retina-scorching bright yellow ‘smiley Euro face going into a money box’ economy range. Other value messages included general promotions, loyalty card-linked bargains and general ‘Conviene Coop’ signage.
Fresh produce was a great range housed in slightly less great green crates while the service counters at the rear of the store offered impressive variety and service for meat and deli line. Fish was all pre-packed but offered a reasonable variety of products for shoppers.
The broader grocery range was more than adequate. One negative observation would be the amount of clutter instore, with FSDUs, pallet trolleys, cages and randomly dumped merchandise rendering the store something of an obstacle course. Non-food was merchandised around virtually the entire supermarket, using fixtures placed above the grocery shelves. While this is an effective way to add a broader range, it also means that anyone wanting some light bulbs, a pair of scissors or a saucepan has to be a giant, Inspector Gadget or in possession of a trampoline.
Service was faultless all around the store, the checkout staff in particular dealing very well with clueless non-Italian speakers with great patience and courtesy. Overall, the store was simple to navigate with clearly numbered aisles and overhead signage offering a run-down of which categories were in each aisle. With a bit more attention to detail, and a possible rethink on GM merchandising, the store would have been hard to criticise. Regardless, the store’s very clear value proposition clearly resonated with shoppers and its location and range was ideally suited to cater for a variety of missions. Not a bad store at all.
Store design: 5
Customer service: 8
Private label: 8
Total score: 36