Learn what some Amazon Prime members think of the new discounts available to them at Whole Foods Market.
Travel Notes from Japan | Market Observations from Grocery Retail
I was just in Japan for two weeks. I went to conduct some shopper research for a client and while there, had a vacation with my husband and our friends as well. I traveled all over Tokyo, took a bullet train over to Kyoto, drove a car to Mount Fuji and then back to Tokyo. I loved getting to know Japan (and will definitely be back,) had some amazing foodie experiences and learned a lot about Japan’s grocery retail landscape and Japanese shoppers.
Have a look at my photos below to see some of the many observations I made while working and traveling around in Japan.
Firstly, Japan makes a wide variety of specialty foods, some of which looks like good candidates to make it in America. More on that in this separate blog post.
Much like the American market, you’ll find a wide variety of retail outlets ranging from convenience stores (Lawson’s or Family Mart are everywhere,) conventional supermarket chains, independent specialty shops, specialty food chains, and high end food halls and shops inside luxury department stores.
In the cities people are making multiple trips per week to the grocery store. Most pop in by foot or on bicycle. Riding bicycles is huge here. You’ll see moms on their bikes carrying around two children – one in the front and one in the back, leaving very little space to tote around a lot of groceries.
Coffee culture is alive and well here. So glad about that as I’m no fun to be around unless I’m properly caffeinated in the morning.
Specialty bread is also a big deal here. Definitely ate the most expensive bread I’ve ever had and yes it was worth it! Seriously though, how pretty is this bread store? It looks like a jewelry shop. Not limited to just the specialty, expensive types of bread, regular bread is popular too. On several occasions I saw people wrapped around a city block in line for fresh bread at a bakery. With a specialty product like the one you see below, this is more for a gifting occasion instead of a regular purchase, so I’m told by shoppers.
Japanese love their beef. Everyone’s heard of Japan’s famous Wagyu and Kobe beef, both of which are delicious. I did some research on the meat category while there; look for another upcoming blog post soon just about the meat category in Japan.
Japanese shoppers enjoy a wide variety of meat cuts. Go to a butchery or open up a restaurant menu and you’ll see some cuts you may not be familiar with -- like beef tongue. Nice to see people willing to accept those “minority cuts of meat” so the entire carcass is used and nothing goes to waste.
Presentation is taken very seriously here. In the higher end specialty shops you’ll see beautiful merchandising. Staff inside grocery stores seem to take great pride in their work (that’s a nice change!) and obsess over the details ensuring products look perfect on the shelves. While checking in on some of my clients products there, I was very happy to find them in perfect order.
And if you’re like me, and are attracted to pretty, minimal packaging, you’ll find a lot of products that catch your eye.
I observed some organic products, but not a lot. Most of the shoppers I conducted shop-alongs with were not having organic or chemical-free top of mind. That said, what was top of mind is food cleanliness, safety and country of origin.
The USA, France and Australia have done a good job of promoting products from their countries here as the Japanese have an affinity for products coming from these countries.
I observed some unique flavors as ingredients in products like soft drinks, chocolates — basically anything had a version that was matcha green tea, wasabi, peach or cherry blossom/sakura flavor.
On the go eating is not common here as it’s considered impolite to eat while walking around or otherwise on the go. If you buy some takeaway food, it’s meant to be eaten near the vendor before going about your business. Despite that, supermarket shelves have a wide variety of interesting snack food.
Spotted some familiar products from back in the USA on supermarket shelves in Japan.
Does your brand want to launch into the Japanese market?
While in Japan, we took a deep dive into the grocery retail landscape and shopped-along with Japanese consumers, delivering valuable insights, feedback and recommendations for our client who we conducted research for.
Green Purse PR conducts shopper research all over the world and looks forward to doing more shopper research in Japan. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the Japanese market and consumers.
Or, are you from a Japanese company that wants to launch into the USA?
Good news — we’ll be back in Tokyo later this year and we’ll be bringing fresh insights from the American consumer market with us. I’m currently planning one of Green Purse PR’s Go To Market USA Workshops. These workshops are for exporters and focus on understanding the American consumer market to ensure export success. Each program is customized, but typically includes a half day or full day workshop covering topics such as: the American retail landscape, shopper insights, best practices in consumer marketing, competitive intelligence, resources and a brainstorming and Q&A session. Click here for more details on the Go To Market USA Workshops and contact us for details on the upcoming program happening later in 2019 in Tokyo.
- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR
Shopping Along With Japanese Women
Upcoming Shopper Research in Japan During February 2019
Green Purse PR is gearing up for our upcoming travels to Japan to explore what products #GetInHerCart. During the month of February 2019, our CEO, Lisa Mabe, will be working on an already commissioned research project to explore how health-conscious Japanese women shop for premium grocery products at grocery stores in Tokyo.
Our project will include:
Market & product category insights from several grocery store visits
Shopper insights from shop-alongs with Japanese consumers (along with a native Japanese speaking translator.)
Since we will already be in the market, we’re open to conducting more shopper research projects while there. If you’re keen to better understand the Japanese market, from a consumer insights and grocery retail landscape, contact us here.
We’re so looking forward to exploring the food and grocery scene in Japan!
Supermarket Tour | Thanopoulos (Θανόπουλος in Greek) in Athens, Greece
While in Greece recently on holidays, I took some time to squeeze in a bit of work. I've been to Greece several times before, (my husband is from Greece) but this was my first time doing a proper supermarket tour of Athens and conducting shopper research there.
Athens has some lovely supermarkets and one of my favorites is Thanopoulos, known for stocking a wide variety of products from all over the world and the place to 'see and be seen' apparently. For those not already familiar with Thanopoulos, it is a privately-held family business that has been around since 1877. Thanopoulos currently has three locations in Athens. I visited the Thanopoulos supermarket in the neighborhood of Kifissia (Κηφισιά,) an upscale residential and shopping district, and quite possibly my favorite place in Athens, other than the coast (Vouliagmeni is still my most favorite spot.) Have a look inside one of Athen's best supermarkets, Thanaopoulos, located at: N. Kifissia Ελαιών 38 14564 Athens, GR-A1.
If I lived in Athens, I would definitely shop here. It's a modern beautiful, store with lovely amenities and a huge variety of international products on offer. It's no wonder that Athenians are willing to drive out of their way (in some cases,) just to shop at one of the three Thanopoulos locations.
- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR
We recently asked our forum of health-conscious, millennial aged women about some of their favorite natural products they buy on a regular basis. We are launching a new series of blog posts, Natural Products Millennial Women Buy, where we will explore some of the products that ‘get in her cart’ and into her life.
Shop and Learn | You Don't Really Know a Shopper Until You've Shopped With Them
Next time you're in the grocery store, take a peak into your fellow shoppers' grocery carts. It's fun to see what ends up in shoppers' carts, especially if it is your brand, or in my case, a client's product. By the way, whenever I do spot a client's product in someone's shopping cart, I almost always strike up a quick conversation with them. I usually carry coupons from my clients and offer them a few as a way to thank them for their loyalty. It's a nice touch point that often goes a very long way.
My perspective is you don't really know a shopper until you've shopped with them. That’s one of the premises that makes Green Purse PR unique and why shopper research is fundamental to all the public relations and social communications work we do. Being successful in your consumer marketing starts with understanding the consumer – identifying how they learn about products, how your products are likely to fit into their lifestyle and how to better serve their needs in order to create and maintain a connection (or relationship, if you’re lucky) with those shoppers.
What can you tell about the shopper from this look inside her shopping cart?
Maybe she is gathering ingredients to make a special meal. Perhaps it's for a weekend celebration, a dinner party, or maybe it's a work-week meal for her family. Whatever the case, it looks like she has kids, or a lot of cats, because that's a lot of whole, organic milk in there.
I frequently conduct shopper research, shop-alongs, with women all around the world. Each time I shop with someone, I take into consideration every single product that gets in her cart. Taking into account what products #GetInHerCart, is one of the ways our shop-along research helps us uncover insights that later help us intelligently build successful consumer PR programs.
Some of the insights we learn from shop-alongs include:
- What products catch her eyes, and what does not.
- What other products (besides yours) she is buying and how those may even be used together.
- Why she buys particular products over others.
- What third party certifications, verifications or ratings she may be looking for.
- How she connects, or does not connect, with brands and retailers.
- How your product fits into her lifestyle.
- How best to build and foster a relationship with consumers like her.
The list goes on and on.
Do you think it sounds smart to plan and implement a consumer marketing program or campaign without first bothering to do a little research on the very people who are hopefully going to buy your product? No; that's not smart at all, but that's exactly what a lot of companies do.
Be the savvy company that DOES invest in understanding its target shoppers, and gets things right the first time. When you do, the insights you learn and connections you start, will deliver value both in the short and for a long time to come.
- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR
Want Green Purse PR to shop with your consumers and garner insights to help you better connect with health-conscious women?
New Guide Uncovers How Female Whole Foods Market Shoppers Think, Behave, Buy & Share
Some big changes have been happening recently for Whole Foods Market. Being acquired by Amazon means changes at the store level and potential for change amongst consumer behavior. Green Purse PR's new report takes a look at how brands sold at WFM can best connect and engage with shoppers now to drive awareness, sales and buzz.
This report is one of Green Purse PR's first digital information products, sold under our new #GetInHerCart Innovation Studio. Our report was created for brands whose products are already sold at WFM, or for companies intending to get their products onto WFM shelves. Scroll down to learn more about our new report, Guide to Winning with Whole Foods Market Shoppers.
You don't really know a shopper until you've shopped with them.
So we do just that, shop-along with the type of shoppers are clients are keen to attract. All of our public relations consulting is driven by our unique understanding of shoppers resulting from our shop-along research. Shopper insights derived from our in store research and online communities equip us with current understanding of what influences consumers' purchases, how they shop certain categories and how specific products fit into their lifestyles. These insights are important because they direct what our consumer marketing communications programs ultimately look like.
Good time to learn more about WFM shoppers.
With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market by Amazon, our clients are seeking to better understand how WFM shoppers learn about products, identify purchase influencers and how best to reach influential female WFM shoppers.
Green Purse PR just conducted our own research with WFM female shoppers to identify how they currently think, behave and buy, and share. Our new report, Guide to Winning with Whole Foods Market Shoppers, is designed to give brands insight into the retailer’s shoppers in general, as well as actionable steps they can use to take their consumer understanding to the next level. The shopper intelligence we share in this guide is based upon our shop-along research, one-on-one interviews, social listening, online surveys and questions in our private community where we are constantly learning from health-conscious mothers.
Here are 10 things you can expect to find in our new report:
1) List of media outlets and blogs she reads, follows or subscribes to.
2) How she connects online with WFM directly, as well as the brands sold on their shelves.
3) Who she follows on social media + a list of influencers.
4) How Instagram influences brand awareness and purchases.
5) What catches her eye inside the store.
6) The journey new mothers go on to cleanse their diet and lifestyle in an effort to get healthier for themselves and the baby.
7) What she loves about Whole Foods Market. Coffee seems to be pretty high on the list!
8) How WFM + Amazon fulfill her need for healthier options that fit her on-demand lifestyle.
9) How she looks to WFM to curate the best products for her, so she does not have to do as much homework herself.
10) Direct shopper quotes from women who report WFM as their primary grocery outlet.
Click the 'purchase now' button below to purchase and download our new digital report, Guide to Winning with Whole Foods Market Shoppers. Look for other related digital products, such as our new Whole Foods Market Instagram Account List, on the #GetInHerCart Innovation Studio.
How well do you know your female millennial consumers? Unless you're shopping alongside your consumers, you may have no idea how they learn about products, who influences their purchases or how your products fit into their lives.
Read on to download our new #GetInHerCart Workbook all about health-conscious, female, millennial shoppers.
Green Purse PR's Lisa Mabe Back in Sydney
It was so nice to be back in Sydney during June to speak at conferences and meet with some of Green Purse PR's clients. Being previously based in Sydney, many of our clients are in Australia and it's a place I absolutely love.
Below are some photos showing a visual recap of my recent business trip. Highlights of the trip included speaking about marketing to millennial consumers at the Naturally Good Business Summit, and Naturally Good Expo / Fantastic Food + Drink Show. More on those trade shows + links to my presentations here.
While there, I toured some of the local grocery stores, and visited some of my old stomping ground. Have a look at some of the grocery stores we visited here:
The Australian market continues to be a major focus for myself and Green Purse PR. Australia has a lot to offer the world in terms of natural and organic products. I'm keen to help those companies be successful in markets like the USA, Middle East and Asia. Learn more about our expertise and capabilities here and contact me if you're keen to learn more.
- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR
Curious to know what women in the USA think about products from Australia?
Watch this video I produced, featuring our shop-along research, for the Naturally Good Expo.
I recently returned from a business trip to Sydney, Australia, where I used to be based. I was in town to speak at the Naturally Good Expo and Naturally Good Business Summit. While there I had a look at some of Sydney's grocery retail scene, including some of the stores I used to shop at when I lived in Sydney.
One of the stores I visited was Woolworths in Crows Nest. This 'Woolies' store just reopened in April 2016 after two years of major renovation. I shopped at this Woolies during my time in Sydney; last time I was here it was still being demolished. Now, $52 million later in redevelopment, it's a completely different store. Previously it was a very tired, soulless, one-level store -- the kind that's so unpleasant, you can hardly wait to get out of it. Now it's shiny, new and includes multiple-levels.
Below are some photos I took of Woolworths located at 10 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065, Australia.
Such a beautiful structure on the outside. Crows Nest is an adorable community, but it could use some updating. The new Woolworths helps modernise the community.
Main level includes lots of grab & go options.
Spotted several products featuring the Australian Certified Organic bud, Australia's most recognised organic certification amongst Australian consumers.
This Thomas Dux corner on the first floor made me sad. I'm glad Woolworths still managed to let the brand live on in some form, but I'm disappointed that the stand alone stores no longer exist. Thomas Dux Grocer closed about two years ago. There used to be an outstanding Thomas Dux right around the corner from here; it's now a different store, called About Life. Read my blog post, photo tour of About Life here.
Watch health-conscious American women tell us their impression of products from Australia and New Zealand
For companies keen to export to the USA, it's critical to understand the retail landscape and how consumers shop for products in their category. Before coming to Sydney to speak at the Naturally Good Expo, we crafted a short film featuring 'woman-on-the-street' style interviews.
We specifically targeted health-conscious women, asking them about products like fresh beef and lamb, as well as baby products, body care and healthy snacks. Watch the video below.
We regularly conduct shop-along research with female shoppers around the world. Our clients (and their retail customers) value the insights and practical recommendations we garner as a result of shopping with women who already shop at retail stores where our clients' products are sold.
We know Australia and New Zealand have a lot to offer consumers at home and abroad. Both countries have exceptional reputations for producing high quality, clean and green products that appeal to those looking for healthier options. The better you understand your shoppers, the more successful you can be to serve up the right kinds of marketing content at the right times and in the right places.
Contact us to learn more about our shop-along research and how we use shopper insights to build and execute successful consumer-facing PR and social communications programs.
For those who attended Naturally Good Expo's Business Summit in Sydney, view Lisa's presentation, 'Get In Her Trolley,' and accompanying video below.
Fill in your contact information in the form below and press 'submit' to receive a link to our presentation.
We're happy to chat to you about the value of getting to know your female shoppers, in the Australian market, as well as in export markets like the North America, Middle East and Asia. Contact us to learn more about our shop-along research service.