Enterprise Marketing & Promotions Management

Kiss Me, I’m Shopping: How Lucky’s Market is Reimagining the Shopper Experience to Deliver Customer Loyalty

By / March 2017


The first Lucky’s Market opened recently in our area. A somewhat short, just over five-ish miles from my house, Lucky’s is exponentially farther from my driveway than four other grocery stores. Though I recall seeing the grand opening on the news and in social media, and heard people talking about Lucky’s in the gym and at church, it was open a few weeks before I stepped foot inside my newfound, and now favorite, bi-weekly destination.

Immediately, it was as if I felt like I had betrayed my longstanding customer and brand relationships with Publix, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Target. Restraining from engaging in an affair and bypassing any trial separation period, I seemingly went straight to filing for divorce from the Archer Farms, Market Pantry, Great Value, and Trader Joe’s and Publix brand products, and immediately became an überly loyal customer and an instant bride, with no honeymoon, and married to everything inside my Lucky’s Market. Unsolicited, I’ve told everyone in my circle and beyond about Lucky’s. I became one of those people and I needed to figure out why.

Was it the sheer newness that had me enamored from day one? Was it the plethora of organic, non-GMO, grass fed, gluten free, heirloom, all-natural, or homemade options? In. Every. Aisle. Was it that I could see every inch of the store from any location in the store? Was it the perception that this store was a perfect offspring of a Publix, Trader Joe’s, Native Sun, farmer’s market, butcher shop, and bakery union?

Cause                                                     Effect

Make it effortless                                 + happiness quotient

Make it memorable                             + visitation

Make me feel valued                           + spend

Make me feel appreciated                 + word of mouth


A recent poll by Albuquerque Business First showed that 46% of consumers are more likely to shop local neighborhood stores over big box stores. Numerous studies show that a more favorable economic multiplier effect, as much as four times higher in some communities, occurs when consumers shop locally owned, independent businesses. Fortunately, my Lucky’s is close to my house. If it weren’t, I have no doubt I would still drive further to shop there. From the parking, the entry, the store layout, to the signage, visibility and access to team members, the entire start to finish experience is easy and stress free. Since the arrival and my adoption of Lucky’s Market, I now grocery shop twice a week — Wednesdays for double ad days and Sundays for extra discounts on produce — instead of every week or so.


In another study reviewing top trends defining grocery retail in 2017, results intimated that customers will increasingly value their shopping experience over price. Case in point, look at what Steve Jobs and Apple have done to transform the retail experience. Jobs recognized that the business of retail computers wasn’t just about sales, rather, it was about making great products and then providing an awesome purchase and support experience. The average size of a Lucky’s is 35,000 square feet, whereas the average Publix is 45,000 square feet and Walmart an average of 104,000 square feet. Lucky’s delivers memorable moments with every shopping experience. The free product samples. The readily available engaging employees found every few feet. In. Every. Aisle. The daily or weekly specials. The hominess feeling of the store. Not overwhelming or underwhelming in size. Just the right size. The wow factor of learning about a new product that seemed to be in the store “just for me.” With smaller store, shelf, and rack sizes, products seem to be turning, stocked and restocked ever so frequently. What you need or want is never not in your cart as you leave. One can easily visualize a pleasant, memorable shopping experience immediately and long after they leave Lucky’s.


By a long shot, the Apple Store generates more revenue per square foot than any other retailer. In doing research for their retail stores, Apple leaders were studying Ritz Carlton’s customer service champions and their delivery of an exceptional guest experience. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said, “When a company starts with the vision of enriching lives instead of ‘selling stuff,’ magical things happen.” When companies like Apple and Lucky’s value enriching lives over product sales, they hire differently (personality vs. proficiency), they design stores to facilitate product interaction, and they value one to one relationships.6 With companies that touch the hearts of customers, profits are bound to follow. Apple is proof of it. Lucky’s seems to be setting itself up in similar fashion to administer long term success with its people, processes……and profits.


Best-selling author Carmine Gallo noted, “People don’t want to be sold to. They want to feel good. They want to be inspired. They want elegant and simple solutions to their problems. They want to feel appreciated.” One of the key ways Lucky’s shows appreciation to its customers is by empowering employees, also a top trend listed in the recent defining grocery retail study. What struck me from the first time I entered Lucky’s was the desire for many employees to know my name. On. Day. One. No one ever asked me my name at Publix, Trader Joe’s, or Target or Walmart. Lucky’s employees also seem to be so well cross trained, meaning the produce stocker on the floor can walk with you to the bulk item bins and answer your questions about nuts, candy or coffee beans. The employees go out of their way to be observant. Inquiring about the ingredients you need for the recipes you are trying to read as you push a cart. Approaching to offer advice when they see your look of consternation while deciding which of the eight apple types to purchase. Or giving unsolicited tips on how to select a perfect pineapple. Every Lucky’s customer leaves feeling truly appreciated with a heartfelt “thank you,” or a “see you again soon,” or “next time I’ll remind you to try the almond butter,” or a “come back on Wednesday when we have those on special.”

Contributed by Barbara Emener Karasek, Owner, Karasek Enterprises

An accomplished executive with 20+ years of experience leading B2B and B2C marketing, e-commerce, retail, licensing, sports and entertainment marketing, and business development ranging from market leading brands to high growth startups. Having lived in 8 countries and traveled to 15+ countries during her career, she is now a sought after keynote speaker and panelist to motivate global audiences about sales and marketing alignment, leadership, intrepreneurship and entrepreneurship. As co-owner of Karasek Enterprises with her husband, she is an investor and strategic business growth advisor to a variety of companies and social enterprise organizations, and is working on her first business acquisition. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Furman University, where she attended on a four year, Division I volleyball scholarship and was a standout player and team captain, and earned M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of South Florida, which honored her in 2008 with its Outstanding Alumnus Award. She completed coursework in Strategic Marketing Management at Harvard Business School, Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification, SalesForce leadership training, and is involved with many industry associations. She and her former professional basketball player husband, Tony, stay busy with sports-related hobbies, philanthropic activities, and a never-ending search for the perfect fishing spot. She can be reached at barbarakarasek@yahoo.com or connect on LinkedIn.


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