business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last Friday we had a story about how H-E-B has signed on with Looma, a shopper education company, to use a network of smart tablets to tell stories about beer and wine products in a way that will inform purchase decision and connect customers to the people behind the products.  Which I found great, though I did argue that retailers ought to be able to do it without technology (Feargal Quinn was doing it decades ago), and should be telling more stories in more departments.

One MNB reader responded:

Agree with you regarding telling a story about products in many departments.  I’m sure as a Stew Leonard’s customer, you’ve seen the signage in their stores talking about the dairy that they get milk from, the butchers that they source poultry and beef, and the local organic farmers supplying produce. 

When you humanize the efforts that go into the food you buy, there is a sense of pride and a feeling that the retailer did more than shop the most convenient supplier to stock the shelves.  We all know of a favorite farm stand, bakery, or brewery that we like because the products and the producer speak to us.  No reason a retailer shouldn’t capitalize on this as well, when it is a story worth telling.

And from another reader:

I think Whole Foods used to do this too, but with shelf signs. They would tell people who the brand owner was and a quick snippet of their product. They would also include a picture of the owner. I don’t know if they do this anymore, but I found it helpful.

Consumers are looking for info on brands, and ultimately want a reason to connect with them.

I think HEB and Looma have found a way to expand on this idea. I can only see more and more of this coming down the road.