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Interview with Brad Cope, Head of Marketing for Fred Meyer

For PDX Executive Podcast episode 39, Brad Cope, Marketing and Customer Communications Manager for Fred Meyer, shared insights on what he envisions for the future of grocery shopping, and one-stop shopping, a concept that Fred Meyer pioneered. Speaking with Brad at Fred Meyer’s headquarters in Southeast Portland, I learned that while Amazon is shaking up the grocery world, Fred Meyer believes its competitive strength still lies in brick-and-mortar, and the company is working to thoughtfully evolve the in-store shopping experience to appeal to both ‘foodies’ and those who don’t mind grocery shopping, while also adding conveniences that online shoppers seek.

Here are some highlights of the podcast:

What Fred Meyer’s acquisition by Kroger means to the northwest: “The biggest thing was taking everything that Kroger had to give as far as national purchasing power, but being able to maintain that Fred Meyer community feel. The stores still feel like a community store, and we’ll always be Fred Meyer.”

On the future of retailing:

“Everybody wants to look at Amazon as a template for what they’re going to do. But we realized quickly that we’re not Amazon. We’re a brick-and-mortar company, though we can offer a lot of conveniences to the customer like ClickList (that’s what we call our curbside shopping service) where you can get online, place your order, and go pick up your groceries without having to leave your car, or having to get your kids out of the car. For a lot of people, that’s real important. And the other thing we have now is home delivery.”

On making shopping quicker and more convenient:

“We’re looking at the in-store shopping experience, and it’s all about ‘how quickly can we get you out of there?’ We’re launching a service called ‘scan, bag, go’ right now. [It allows you to] come in with your phone, scan every item, put them in your cart, and then just pay at the end and walk out, and you don’t have to talk to anybody. It’s those types of experiences – how can you make it a little bit different, but keep that nice ‘foodie’ environment.”

On exploring interesting new advertising channels:

“They pop up daily. A lot of them are traditional digital email, a website that you can visit – we’re really trying to grow our acquisition of folks that are just digitally engaged – but also geo-targeting. So we’re experimenting a lot. But we are very cognizant of that fine balance of traditional advertising, tv, radio newspaper, and this thing that’s called digital. Because a multi-channel (approach) is what you’re really looking for out there.”

Listen and subscribe to the PDX Executive Podcast series here to hear the full podcast.

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