The Evolution Of . . .

The Supermarket.

A Supermarket is just what it says on the tin: a self-service grocery store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise comprising meat, fresh produce, dairy, and baked goods with shelf space reserved for canned and pre-packaged goods as well as non-food items such as household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies.

The traditional suburban supermarket occupies a large amount of floor space on a single level and is usually situated near a residential area in order to be ‘convenient’ to consumers.

Its basic appeal is the availability of a broad selection of goods under a single roof, at relatively low prices.

Certain products such as bread, milk and sugar are frequently sold as loss leaders.
To balance the books somewhat, into profit hopefully, supermarkets attempt to make up for the negative margins by a higher overall volume of sales.

And since customers collect their own purchases and take them for payment to a checkout, there are obvious savings in staff costs.

Many supermarket chains are currently attempting to further reduce labour costs by introducing a ‘self-checkout’ system, whereby one member of staff could oversee four or five checkouts, assisting multiple customers at the same time.

While branding and store advertising differ from company to company, the layout of a supermarket remains virtually unchanged since John and Mary Sainsbury opened their first shop in London’s Drury Lane selling just butter, eggs and milk. In 1875  imported Irish bacon was added to the range. The Sainsbury’s high quality of food proved popular and by 1903 there were 100 branches in London.

Mr Michael Marks, a Russian born Polish refugee, opened a fine new store in Marble Arch, London with his partner Tom Spencer in 1930. And M&S was born.

Jack Cohen and TE Stockwell, a tea supplier, amalgamated their names to form a company called Tesco. Their first own brand product, Tesco Tea, hit the shelves in 1924. Stores began to pop up across the country until, in 1961, Tesco Leicester was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest Supermarket in Europe.

Although big companies spend time giving consumers a pleasant shopping experience, the design of the supermarket is directly connected to the in-store marketing that supermarkets must conduct in order to get shoppers to spend more money whilst there!

A simple product can become more saleable by the simple addition of a ‘celebrity’ face or image that somehow appeals to our communal psyche.

Ever felt like a mouse in a wheel?  A rat directed through a complex maze by a series of treat/threat conditions? Just wait for part two, Super-Marketing!!

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