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Visit the Giant flagship store: the future of supermarkets?

New trends in retail are often to be found on the other side of the Atlantic. This article presents the Giant flagship store and its innovative food offer. This Giant store features a new and oversized self-service beer bar concept. It foreshadows what will be the supermarkets of the future, multi-use stores where service will be ever more critical.

This article was made possible thanks to Olivier Delangre, CEO of the well-known company Amoobi. It is part of a series we have dedicated to other innovative retail concepts: Starbucks and Amazon GoAmazon FreshGoogle store in ChelseaLego store New York.

The Giant flagship store: a grocerant?

Opened in March 2021, the Giant flagship store covers 65,000 sqft or about 6,500 m². Giant is one of the brands of Ahold Delhaize in the United States (ex Ahold), which should not be confused with Giant Eagle (another supermarket chain).

What is remarkable in this store is the “food” offer. In the strict sense of the word, it is not a supermarket but rather what I call a “grocerant” (grocery + restaurant), a hybrid between a supermarket and a restaurant.

The food hall of Giant is indeed huge. You can find everything: sandwiches prepared to order, pizzas, Mexican dishes, sushi, salads. This assortment is crazy. The marketing mix of the Giant flagship store is therefore unique.

Bier on tap at flahship store Giant Riverside in Philadelphia

The incredible self-serve beer bar in Philadelphia’s Giant flagship store

100 self-service beers in a supermarket: never before seen

This effort to differentiate is also found in the beer section, particularly in the “beer bar” (see photos above).

There are nearly 100 types of beer available for self-service in this immense space, which is disproportionate to what the United States can be. The payment method used is also original for a supermarket. Indeed, you have to wear a bracelet to keep track of what you consume.

The screen above each beer pump gives information about the product (see photo).

In short, the supermarket is being transformed. It is no longer a place where people just come to do their shopping. It is becoming a meeting place where people come to spend (even) more time.

A cleaning robot

robot flasghip store giant philadelphiaLike another store we have already talked about on this blog, the Giant flagship has a cleaning robot. Note the efforts made to give it human characteristics, including big eyes. This is called anthropomorphism. Giving human traits to technological devices allows them to be better accepted by humans, for example, in the case of connected speakers.

A specific vegan section

Finally, we must discuss the vegan (“plant-based”) offer. The latter is particularly rich. Contrary to a traditional supermarket where these products are scattered among the more conventional ones, here a section is reserved for it. This choice raises questions. It raises questions about the customer experience and opportunity purchases. Does the customer come to the store specifically to shop vegan, or does he let himself be tempted by these alternatives while buying conventional products?

plant based department falagship store Giant Riverside Philadelphia

The second possibility disappears by grouping all the vegan products in the same department. Therefore, the Giant flagship store has chosen to attract a clientele that is already openly vegan and may not visit the rest of the sales outlet.

Olivier Delangre AmoobiOlivier Delangre’s opinion

Giant Riverside may well be the future of retail. I had lunch in this store, and I must say that the choice was complex as the options are numerous! An extensive and well-presented supermarket offer combined with a wide selection of restaurants. I was particularly impressed by the beer on tap offer, even if the principle of testing beers in a supermarket is still weird for me.

I also liked the sales outlet itself. For example, I liked that the frozen food offer was positioned next to the corresponding fresh food offer, and I also liked the ‘Plant based’ corner where all the elements are grouped in one area. The gluten-free was also well marked. This sales outlet is full of good ideas: the seasonal next to the snacks/chocolate for impulse, complimentary fruit at the entrance for the kids, a Kombucha bar at the entrance, clear signage for organic, really top execution!

Far from the concept stores of New York, this sales outlet is clearly worth the detour and shows the best of what is done!



Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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