Meeting the ‘Lifestyle’ of Customers

SPAR Millennium Walkway
Dublin, Ireland

After operating for more than half a century, in 2018, SPAR Ireland took a hard look at its business. Using market research, focus groups and an extensive competitor analysis, the company refined its offer to become more in line with what its core customers want. The analysis identified four different customer profiles: lifestyles, markets, my usual and everyday needs.

“We decided that each profile requires a retail offer that is more focused, more relevant and in line with what the shopper needs,” the company said. To bring that strategy to life, SPAR Ireland and SPAR International teamed up to develop a flagship store to target each profile.

The first of those concepts, SPAR Millennium Walkway in Dublin, Ireland, addresses the lifestyle customer. With food being a major reason these customers stop in, the store houses the new SPAR Deli and a wide range of new in-house food offers. The Pitta Project serves healthy options, such as salads and pitta sandwiches, while Food Junction’s hot and cold self-service covers all day parts. The menu at 6th Avenue changes seasonally and ethnically throughout the year to keep up with current street food trends. Shakers, an indulgent treat concept, can also switch out its menu to accommodate changing tastes. I Scream soft-serve ice cream, Subway and Insomnia Coffee round out the foodservice.

Technology is integral to the concept. SPAR Millennium Walkway suspended printed materials in favor of digital communication methods, such as display boards and shelf signage. WiFi and USB chargers and sockets give customers easy ways to stay connected.

The store’s layout provides an “Enjoy Now” option at the front, while the back caters to the “Enjoy Later” shopper. To train its employees, SPAR Ireland launched the SPAR Academy, which has a formal educational program, a hands-on practical training center, an online virtual academy and an innovative “gamification” training approach.

Customers have reacted positively to the new concept, with foodservice sales rising more than 30% and the overall shop margin jumping 2 percentage points. Also, the average basket spend rose 7%. “This newly expanded and redeveloped store fulfills the needs of local shoppers and utilizes striking design features, impact lighting, digital signage and projectors to create a truly world-class retail experience,” the company said.

The new SPAR concept will be rolled out across Ireland and beyond. About the SPAR Millennium Walkway, the company said, “The reaction from the customers has been absolutely fantastic. It is a wow effect and we’re very proud of what we’ve done here.”