Kroger knows that consumers have a lot of choice when they make the decision about where to shop for their groceries. Between competition from other brick-and-mortar locations and the threat poised by online grocery delivery services, it is easy for any one, specific grocery chain to get lost in the shuffle. Determined to set itself apart, Kroger has decided to make its associates the not-so-secret weapons in its play for future success.

At a recent annual shareholders’ meeting, Kroger rolled out its new “Feed the Human Spirt” campaign, which highlights the impact Kroger makes on local communities. Highlighting benefits such as providing jobs, supporting environmental causes, and donating food to those in need, Kroger seeks to remind its patrons and other stakeholders that the grocer is a part of the larger community and that it gives back to those who choose to shop there.

In the same effort, Kroger also is promoting and highlighting the in-store interactions between its employees and customers. In particular, it encourages team members to interact closely with customers, in an effort to create a connection with these fellow members of their community. Kroger notes its confidence that its associates are some of the best in the grocery business. With the support of management, it believes these individual resources can set the chain apart from its competition and lead to long-term success.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Can Kroger’s new emphasis on its employees and CSR initiatives like employee involvement with the community create a sustainable competitive advantage?
  2. Would these initiatives prompt you to shop at Kroger?

Source: Tom Ryan, Retail Wire, June 26, 2017