Interesting....

Not too much about design, but this has more to do with marketing decision.

Meijer is a K-Mart-like store but much better, and has its stores distributed in the Mid-West. Last year I read an article that they’ve got the biggest ( physical size) grocery store in North America, which implies that it’s the biggest in the world and it’s in Traverse City.

I took a trip up to Northern Michigan and dropped by Traverse City. So it was getting dark and my buddy and I were reading the map to see where to go at a grocery store parking lot. A lady saw us and offered some advices. So I asked her about Meijer and she said it’s indeed the biggest, but that’s also the reason why she’s not shopping there. “It’s too big”

That night we decided to stay at Traverse City and checked the store out. It was indeed big, about 1.5~2 times bigger than a regular store. The moment you walk in, you see a ceiling that extends to the horizon (exaggeration). There were 42 cashier aisles.

It’s not that they have more variety, but simple had more things on the shelves. The lanes were wider, so it takes more time to walk from one section to another. I didn’t see that many people shopping there… perhaps it wasn’t a weekend.

So I got back and send an email to Meijer customer service asking why was that store so big. I got a reply saying that they have no knowledge about that issue and it’s best that I contact the store. Nay, not gonna take that trouble.

So my point is, a big store may sound cool, but ironically, it’s also the same reason why people prefer somewhere else. Size does matter… always.

I find it hard to believe its the biggest in the world. Carrefour (a French chain) has a strong presence in Central/South America:

http://www.carrefour.com/english/groupecarrefour/amerique.jsp

They are referred to as “hypermarkets”, not supermarkets and are rather large.

They are also joined by companies like Extra in Brazil which are also classified as hypermarkets:

http://www.extra.com.br/por_dentro_extra.asp

Nobody seems to be complaining about their size - must be an American thing…

I know Carrefour and have been to one in Asia.



1/5 of the store is not in the picture




The cashier aisles take up about 1/3 the width of the entire store accessible by customers.

Still doesn’t look as big as some of the Carrefour’s I’ve been to in Mexico and Brazil.

What’s really sad is that any supermarket in the US has rougly 20-50% of their cashier lines manned at any given time - why would more make sense?

It is a completely different story in Brazil though - most cashiers will be manned and you will have lines at every one.

I see this all the time at fast food chains as well. In the US, maybe 1 or 2 of the 5 or 6 cashiers is open at any given time at McDonald’s - again, not the case in Brazil or Mexico.

I think it is the American “more is better” mentality - hence our problem with obesity. I truely believe that the mass American populous value quantity and size over quality. How many times have you (or seen someone) buying the gi-normous pack of crappy paper plates just because there are more of them? (instead of buying the better quality ones in which there are less plates) This goes the same for fast food- why eat a smaller meal when I can get all this food (low quality food at that) for less money?

When you pair the “more is better” with the “just in case” you get all the added checkout stations.

In Taiwan the cashier stations are always busy, every single of them. Of course that’s due to the density of the population.

Size does leave an impression. Imagine opening a smaller more compact store that has just as much to offer in the middle of nowhere. I mean, only in the US where you will see the parking lot being bigger than the store itself.

A year ago I was in this media studies project and we decided to “investigate” how the media uses fastfood chains, such as McDonald’s as a target. Well through the research we found that certain restaurants increased the distance between the table and the fixed chairs so that bigger people can get in. They also raised the height of the tables so that the food is now closer to the mouth and in a better position to be consumed. It’s almost like chicken/ducks/pigs being locked in position for feeding.

Wait this is going away from the topic.

I think it’s nice that in the middle of nowhere you can still get everything you need/want especially in one single stop. I was just curious about how does the marketing decide how big things should be, and in this case, what went wrong in that decision making?

I was just curious about how does the marketing decide how big things should be, and in this case, what went wrong in that decision making?

Good question.

Based on my experience to date with marketing people, I honestly think they don’t have a clue! Decisions made on a daily basis by both commercial and product marketing at the company I work for blow my mind!

I think I agree with something I was told by my father who also worked in R&D/Product Development - “If you have no skills whatsoever, you get a degree in Marketing”.

Ouch- that is a bit harsh.

Marketing is extremely important if it is done well. Just like any profession, there are people who excel at their careers and those who don’t.

I wonder how well designers do with a MBA in Marketing? Anyone know anyone who made the switch?