Tim Lowe, president of Lowes Foods, is borrowing a page from Walt Disney's playbook and giving his southern food chain a makeover complete with dancing chickens.
Thanks to the help of branding expert Martin Lindstrom and his team, the 60-year-old grocery chain embarked on a test to re-energize the brick-and-mortar experience to better compete in an online marketplace.
Lindstrom's answer to how to survive? Create an "in-store sensory experience and a sense of community that can't be packaged and delivered by mail, or perhaps by drone, in the future," Lindstrom told CNBC.
Lowe admits that he was not immediately sold on Lindstrom's ideas to revamp his 99 locations across the Carolinas and Virginia. But now a store in Clemmons, North Carolina, serves as the test location for the reinvention of the shopping experience. The outside looks like a greenhouse and the inside a mix of a farmers' market and theme park, reported CNBC.
Lindstrom went as far as hiring writers from Walt Disney to create a story line articulated by visual installments throughout the store. One example is the "chicken kitchen," where a chicken dance is performed every time a chicken comes out of the rotisserie. The "beer den" lets customers sample local brews. There's also a community table for events such as recipe sharing and speed dating.
Since implementing the store's changes in January, basket size has increased 7 percent and transaction volume is up 23 percent, according to the grocer.
With everyone from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) jumping into the grocery sales business, brick-and-mortars are changing how they package their stores to compete. Otherwise, convenience and lower prices could continue to push customers online.
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