California Centers

MAY 2017

California Centers Magazine serves retailers, developers, shopping center owners, investment sales brokers and tenant representation firms throughout the state of California.

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22 California Centers Magazine | May 2017 C C feathers, as Mondez notes. "How does the sushi restaurant feel when the grocer adds a sushi count- er?" she asks. "It can create competi- tion with shop tenants who are most likely paying much more rent than the grocer. Landlords also have to be care- ful with the exclusive language they allow in their leases. Grocery stores are looking for more exclusive uses, which is challenging, as the landlord wants those same uses outside of the grocery store and in their small shop spaces. And with fewer retail shops and more food and service tenants, duplicating these uses is even more critical to filling the center." GET THEM OUT OF THE STORES While some grocers are investing in ways to keep customers in the store, Raley's is working on ways to get them out. Fast. That's why the super- market chain rolled out its eCart pro- gram at 95 Raley's, Bel Air Market and Nob Hill Foods locations throughout the Bay Area. The service now allows customers to order groceries online and pick them up curbside. It also al- lows Raley's to compete with ecom- merce programs like AmazonFresh. "As customers' needs evolve, so does the way Raley's delivers grocer- ies," says Chelsea Minor, director of public relations and public affairs for Raley's Family of Fine Stores. "What makes Raley's program unique is the personal relationship our stores have with their customers — shoppers have the ability to specify produce preferences, which are hand-selected by their personal shopper." A tech-savvy market like the Bay Area might seem like the perfect place for such a rollout, though Minor con- tends Raley's was motivated by more than just the gadget-loving mentality. "More frequent grocery trips, with less time in-store is an increasing de- mand for our customers in this area," she explains. "By expanding eCart to the thousands of families that we serve in the Bay Area, we distinguish ourselves from the competition by providing the same level of value and quality products our customers have come to expect, but in an online ex- perience." This amenity can be an obvious next step for grocers as the entire retail in- dustry is trending toward buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS). Landlords, however, may need to take a step back. "Watch the curbside delivery," Mondez warns. "The curbside deliv- ery eats up parking or shop space, and the grocery stores don't want to pay the landlord more for those areas. The delivery mechanism can also sometimes come in the form of a drive-thru. This can immediately eat up shop space in an area where land- lords can command higher rents." For those who venture into the store, Raley's has also introduced in-store nutritionists and wine stew- ards to provide one-on-one advice centered around a customer 's needs, wants or questions. Another added service that can get busy people in, out and on their way. After all, in this day and age, it's all about informa- tion at your fingertips. "Customers are requesting more transparency," Minor says. "They want to know where their food comes from or how it was made. Marketing and sharing the story of where food comes from, whether in-store or on- line, is important as our customers shop at Raley's." Part of that transparency comes from the company's Let's Begin cam- paign, which educates customers on the store's produce, where it comes from and how they can make a more informed decision when purchasing food. Raley's often features campaign stories on farmers, ranchers and ven- dor partners on its website and mo- bile app. Technology used to inform consum- ers is not just beneficial for the person buying that organic apple — or the farmer who raised it — but for the entire cycle of participants involved, Coslik believes. "Technology is a deep topic that touches on many aspects of the gro- cer 's business," he says. "The most important function and goal of tech- nology is efficiency that increases the pace and volume of merchandise through the store, while decreasing store inventory levels and waste." Who knew one bite of the apple could taste so sweet? CC Kogi is a barbecue-taco concept from local chef Roy Choi that has launched in some Los Angeles-area Whole Foods locations.

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