Giant Food’s recently opened supermarket in Silver Spring, Maryland, sits just a few doors down from an Aldi and across the parking lot from a Target. But while being located that close to two other food retailers might pose a hefty dose of competition to the storied Mid-Atlantic grocery chain, Giant officials are focused on what makes their new store stand out.
“For someone looking for truly the full-basket shopping experience, of the three I would fully believe that Giant is the only one to be able to satisfy it,” said Ryan Draude, director of loyalty and digital marketing for Giant, which runs just over 160 supermarkets across Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C. “So given that perspective, I think [the location] ultimately helps us, because there are some things that you're just never going to be able to buy at an Aldi or a Target that you would always be able to get at a Giant.”
To make that case to customers, the Ahold Delhaize-owned grocer has equipped the new location with a range of amenities that reflect Giant’s latest approach to laying out a supermarket. Still, while the location, at 12028 Cherry Hill Road, features the grocer’s newest approach to store design, the company is not positioning it as a laboratory for cutting-edge ideas.
“What you won’t see from us is creating a test store that is just all the wild ideas under one roof,” said Gregg Dorazio, the grocer’s director of ecommerce. “It's a more iterative approach for us. And that is taking the best of what we've done for 86 years and putting that in, and then tweaking, and then trying out maybe one or two new programs or expanding on programs we’ve been testing in other locations.”
During a recent tour of the store, which opened in August as a replacement for another Giant location, Dorazio and Draude noted that a key differentiating factor for the store is its 65,000-square-foot size, which provides more space to serve shoppers than other locations in the chain.
Giant has taken advantage of that square footage to showcase initiatives that it has been promoting to shoppers chainwide, including its loyalty program, heavy focus on value and efforts to spotlight locally sourced products. The grocer is also using the store’s sprawling footprint to house offerings like prepared foods that are less prominent in other locations in the chain.
“We've put prepared foods front and center. And so I think that is what you kind of lead into when you see the store itself,” Dorazio said. “Where it starts for me is very much this concept of bringing the freshness and convenience options to the forefront.”
Putting prepared options front and center
Shoppers have a broad view of the store’s prepared food counters as soon as they enter the store, representing an effort by Giant to present itself as a destination for people who don’t have time to prepare their own meals.
The store also features a selection of smoked meats prepared in the store every day using hickory wood chips. It sports ready-to-serve goods in boxes designed to make them easy for shoppers to take home for later consumption. Those packages can also be added to pickup and delivery orders without the risk of spills or leaks.
The store’s airy produce section grabs shoppers’ attention when they walk into the store and positions items that are on sale so people can easily spot them. Signage highlights offers that help shoppers spot discounts they can access using points earned in Giant’s loyalty program.
A place to grab a drink and or eat a meal
The Silver Spring store is one of 27 Giant locations that feature a Starbucks counter. The coffee shop is situated to the left when shoppers enter and is alongside the expansive prepared foods and produce sections, providing people with a view of the store’s broad assortment of food as they take time to grab refreshments.
A seating area is located next to to the Starbucks, giving shoppers a place to enjoy prepared foods and other items available for sale in the store.
A dedicated area for pickup
The pickup area is located at the front, making it easy for shoppers to collect e-commerce orders without having to walk further into the store.
Spotlighting local products
While Giant Food places special emphasis on locally sourced items across its fleet of stores, the extra space in the new location provides room for a dedicated display filled with products from the region. The company also promotes its local selection to online shoppers and lets people set filters to identify products from certain areas, a reflection of the chain's efforts to provide a robust omnichannel experience, Dorazio said.
A new location for a common feature
The pharmacy in the new store is located towards the front, just to the right of the entrance, rather than along the back wall where grocery stores often place that counter. The different location lets shoppers pick up prescriptions without needing to traverse an aisle.
Scanning units for self-service-minded shoppers
Giant was a pioneer in allowing shoppers to scan items as they walk around the store, and even though the grocer’s Scan It! service lets people use a smartphone to record purchases, the store also features a rack of devices specifically designed for that function. Giant Food is also working on features like digital receipts to serve digitally focused shoppers, Draude said.