James Jones was successfully managing Crave Fresh Markets in southeast Washington when he was struck by a compelling realization several months ago. “We were doing it exactly like everyone else in the business,” Jones said. “We were not differentiating ourselves at all.”
Jones concluded that differentiation could take his micro market division to another level. To help distinguish Crave Fresh Markets from the competition, Jones turned to Fixturelite, the industry’s leading supplier of micro market retail displays, equipment and design tools.
No More “Cookie Cutter”
“We are not the cookie cutter solution, and we make that clear in our sales presentations,” said Jones. “Our goal is to create the ultimate breakroom experience.” This approach has also strengthened the company’s office coffee service division and vending, as each component can sometimes be part of the formula for creating the ultimate break room.
“James Jones has a thoughtful approach to putting together micro markets in the sense that he understands that markets are supposed to be a destination,” said Fixturelite cofounder and chief executive Troy Geis-Hernandez. “Based on their growth since partnering with us and seeing the quality of locations that they are securing, their approach has been quite successful.”
Seeking big accounts
When it comes to landing new accounts, Jones said he pursues large companies who are interested in providing excellent amenities; companies who are focused on the employee experience.
Jones dismisses the idea that it takes a lot longer to land big accounts. “It doesn't,” said Jones. “It's all about how you approach those accounts and what value you bring to their business, because from an HR's perspective, there has never been a better time to focus on employees than right now.”
The Crave success formula starts with the look of the micro market. “We use Fixturelite displays because they provide a great value to us as an operator and an outstanding experience to our customers. We subtly incorporate our brand into our markets because we want people to associate exceptional breakrooms with our company,” said Jones.
Sometimes, less is more
Jones said that while his prior supplier provided acceptable fixtures, the emphasis on the customer experience and design was not there. “The fixtures we had were all over the place - a little too ‘in your face’ from a design standpoint,” he explained. “Now, with Fixturelite, we have a very clean look, a design-oriented approach, along with high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.”
“The focus should be on the consumer's experience in the market. The layout, the design, the lighting strategy, and the merchandising are just a few of the elements that are very important when crafting it and are often ignored. Retail research confirms that creating an exceptional consumer experience leads to greater consumer loyalty. Loyalty is what keeps the consumer on-site for their needs and a loyal consumer will spend up to 2.4 times more than one who is not. More frequent and larger consumer spending creates greater revenue for the operator.” said Geis-Hernandez. “That is our thought process as we integrate so many proven retail strategies into our micro market designs.”
Earning the business
Jones said Crave is willing to break down the boundaries when it comes to delivering the ultimate break room, which can mean bringing in comfortable furniture. “If we have to invest in extras to make a client very happy, that is well worth it,” said Jones. “That isn’t buying the business, that is earning the business by helping them create a space designed for their employees.”
Along those lines, Jones likes the innovative approach of Fixturelite’s “Off the Wall” collection. “James gets it,” said Fixturelite cofounder and president Steve Orlando. “He understands the importance of design, a true retail mindset and how much it resonates with prospects and clients.”
Confidence in Fixturelite
Jones said he enjoys using the Fixturelite Design Tool, especially when he is working directly with a client. “Clients appreciate being so involved with the design process. The Fixturelite Design Tool is powerful.”
“I appreciate the relationship with Fixturelite and their willingness to provide innovative solutions,” said Jones, who added that working with Fixturelite gives a sales rep confidence.
“When you go into a meeting, when you go against a competitor, you know that from a design standpoint, from an interactive sales standpoint, and from an end product standpoint - with Fixturelite in your corner, you have a competitive advantage,” Jones said.