While supermarkets have become the most important destinations for residents to purchase their daily and weekly needs, the increasing number of supermarkets owned, managed and franchised by people of Indian origin has demonstrated their ability to stand the test of time, quality and most important of all, competition.
The foremost among them is Food 4 Less Supermarket, which opened its first branch in Hamilton (and third in its chain), on July 20, 2013, bringing an extensive range of food and other items to the residents of the Waikato and neighbouring regions.
Located at 674, Te Rapa Road in the heart of Hamilton, this would arguably be the largest Indian Supermarket in New Zealand, occupying an area of 2600 Sq metres.
As well as stocking groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen products and an ever-growing list of items, Food 4 Less Supermarket has a well-designed interior, with elegantly placed shelves to augment convenience of customers and value to manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.
Shoppers who visit various chain stores such as Countdown and Pak N Save would find Food 4 Less in the same class, not only in variety and quality but also the way in which they stock their products.
This new Supermarket has followed the ‘easy-to-access’ and ‘easy to identify’ method in its arrangement of products. As experts in the field say, arrangement of products is science in itself; the science of persuading people to buy things; a science that, thanks to technological advances, is beginning to unlock the innermost secrets of the consumer’s mind.
We have heard many readers telling us that it takes a while for them to get into the shopping mode even walking into their favourite supermarket.
This is why the area immediately inside the entrance of a supermarket is known as the ‘Decompression Zone.’ People need to slow down and take stock of the surroundings, even if they are regulars.
In sales terms, this area is a bit of a loss, so it tends to be used more for promotion. Even the multi-packs of beer piled up at Countdown or Pak N Save (many Indian supermarkets do not sell beer or wine) is designed more to hint at bargains within than to be lugged round the aisles.
As a routine, all supermarkets stock fruits and vegetables at the entrance.
Positioning is everything: people typically spend at most a minute selecting a grocery item, and if they cannot find it, they would move on to something else. The best slots are at adult eye-level, so that is where relatively expensive products are put, often to the right of popular items (to increase the chances that right-handed shoppers will pick them up). Shelf positioning is an important aspect of supermarkets, which play on consumer psychology. Branded products from big producers are always arranged at eye-level, with the supermarket’s own-label products, while cheaper ones may find themselves at a lower level.
While many stores reckon eye-level is the top spot, some think a little higher is better. Others charge more for goods placed on ‘end caps’, displays at the end of the aisles, which they reckon to have the greatest visibility.
Food 4 Less Supermarkets follow the pattern set by their more affluent European counterparts. Having walked to the end of the fruit and vegetable aisle, shoppers arrive at counters of prepared food, the fishmonger, the butcher and the deli.
Then there is the in-store bakery, which can be smelt before it is seen. Mostly these bake pre-prepared items and frozen dough, and they have boomed even though central bakeries that deliver to a number of stores are much more efficient. They do it for the smell of freshly baked bread, which makes people hungry and thus encourages people to buy not just bread but also other food, including frozen stuff.
The ‘Bulk Foods Section,’ comprising dispensers of cashew nuts, walnuts, and other items attract buyers, although they may not be cheaper than those sold in sealed packets.
Food 4 Less in Hamilton has more. As well as providing a large area for fruits and vegetables imported from Fiji and obtained locally, it boasts of Halal Section, with a qualified and renowned Butcher. The Supermarket prides itself of selling premier quality Halal meat, whole chicken products, whole lamb, forequarters, shanks and chops. Those in the market for frozen and ready-to-heat or boil snacks, can look for the section which offers vegetables, samosas, spring rolls, hot chillies, Fiji cassava, taro, crabs, fish and other items.
Those with religious proclivities would find the special area dedicated to Pooja items of immense interest. Apart from catering to the varied requirements of devotees who visit Temples or conduct Poojas in their home or at special assemblies, this Section contains photographs and idols of Deities, ornaments and other items.
Indian supermarket owners have become sophisticated in their approach and understand the significance of external marketing and point-of-sale display.
As a Supermarket promoting the tastes and preferences, Food 4 Less also makes available a wide-range of kitchenware. These include items required for everyday need and for parties and social gatherings.
Price is the deciding factor today and almost all shoppers leaving a supermarket can recall exactly what they paid for individual items.
Today, the average customer is sensitive to price increases and has a keen eye for goods that are sold at low prices.
According to Consumer Affairs, ordinary New Zealanders do not compromise quality but would certainly seek better value for money.
This is another area in which supermarkets owned and operated by people of Indian origin continue to score, registering impressive growth in a comparatively short time.
In many ways, Food 4 Less Hamilton is a one-stop-shop for fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, grocery, beverages, rice, wheat and a host of other items.
There are so many items on offer that all you need is a list of items that you would need for the week. You would easily find what you are looking for at this Supermarket.