Grocery stores have begun feeling the competitive pressure from online retailers and other unconventional stores that have begun selling groceries. Lowes Foods has felt this pressure, and after closing 13 stores since 2010, they have come up with an interesting approach on how to keep customers coming back.

Founded in 1954, and now with 99 locations, Lowes business model is focused on having fresh foods from local farms and businesses. Their goal has always been to make the customer feel at home and that the grocery store cares about them. Recently, Lowes partnered with Martin Lindstrom, a branding expert who specifically focused on improving the stores sensory dimensions, and writers from Walt Disney to help make each customers visit an exciting experience that they will remember. The first store remodeled was in the company’s headquarter city of Clemmons, NC and is considered ‘ground zero’. This store has become the model for which all other stores will follow.

As a result of Lowes efforts, five departments have been added and branded in order to make the customer excited to visit. These Lowes Foods Originals include: the Chicken Kitchen, Sausage Works, Pick & Prep, the Beer Den, and the Beef Shoppe. In the Chicken Kitchen customers can choose from six flavors of rotisserie and three kids’ meals, and all the employees in the department perform the ‘chicken dance’ every time a fresh chicken comes out of the oven. At Sausage Works, the Sausage Professor is preparing sausage recipes from locally raised pork, beef and turkey. At Pick & Prep, customers can choose fruits and vegetables and have a Pick & Prep Professional cut, slice, and dice the selection while the customer finishes shopping. There are also pre-cut fruits and vegetables that customers can choose from and great recipe ideas available. At the Beer Den, customers can meet the Den Master and try samples on draft, find information on new and special beers, and have any beer question answered. Finally, at the Beef Shoppe customers can get ‘pure bred, corn fed, triple inspected, never injected, USA raised, aged to perfection, and perfectly marbled beef.’ Beyond these sections, each store also has a community table which hosts events for local residents, sections specifically for locally grown or made food, and a section for pet foods.

Since January the store has reported a 7 percent increase in basket size and a 23 percent increase in transaction volume in the rebranded stores, but the remodeling process was not readily accepted by everyone and as a result the company lost 30 percent of its executive team. The company plans on remodeling 10 more stores this year and is hoping the improvements and new atmosphere will increase sales and strengthen connections with customers that will keep coming back for another 60 years.