Rosie retailer Q&A: The Market at 25th
April 27, 2021
We recently sat down with Derek Houston, Business Analyst, and Norm Gold, Developer and Operator, at The Market at 25th located in Richmond, VA. They shared with us what makes their "market on a mission" so special and how they recently upgraded to the Professional Tier to reap the benefits of Rosie's digital merchandising features and more.
Tell us about the experience of shopping in-store at The Market at 25th.
Derek: We opened our new store in April 2019, with the goal of serving quality products and experience with the community. We’re located in an area where there’s not a lot of good quality grocery options, so people mainly shop at corner stores. We wanted to build a store that feels good to be in and provides everything you’re looking for, especially healthy food for this neighborhood. We’re proud that our team members are from the community. They know their neighbors - it goes beyond customer service. It’s an authentic experience our customers are having. When our pickers are fulfilling online orders, our customers are trusting us with the food they’re going to feed their families. As independents we’re here to accommodate every individual, so that personal approach to service is very important to us.
You have a successful in-store program. Why did you initially choose to work with Rosie for grocery ecommerce?
Derek: Our online store went live at the very beginning of March 2020. We heard about Rosie through Libbie Market, another independent retailer located in Richmond who works with Rosie. We had been considering going with Instacart, which had a long waitlist. Ultimately though, we were impressed by the format of Rosie, which allows for a greater level of retailer control - an area that is important for independents to maintain their brand and customer experience. We could see the possibilities and everything we would be able to do, which works for us because we’re very particular. We want to do things in a certain way that works for the Market at 25th. Rosie allows us to do that.
Norm: It didn’t feel like Instacart really wanted us to be partners with us. Everyone we considered either over complicated it for independents or didn’t make any special efforts to work with us. Rosie has embraced our quirks and our passions, resulting in a positive working relationship that's a win for everyone involved.
You recently made the move to the Professional tier. What were some of the reasons you decided to make a change?
Derek: The main thing we wanted to improve is being able to present our products and merchandise in a way to serve certain goals. To change our recommended list of items was good, but it wasn’t meeting the industry standard. When we look at Collections, it’s a superior version of an in-store end cap, in that it allows for mixed temperature products with a click of a button. Our catering business and deli is important for us as well, and we wanted to be able to offer that in a more user friendly way. People are getting more and more comfortable placing orders online, and with the additional lead time, it seems to be a simple way to handle catering. Another feature we’d like to get more use out of is the clickable ad. We don’t want anyone to miss out on something we’re doing in store because they shop online. We’d like to merge and match the experience we’re able to create in-store.
At the Professional tier you receive account management. Can you give some examples of ways your account manager has helped your team scale your ecommerce program?
Derek: The account management team worked with us from the beginning. They’ve served as a way for us to reach into the industry, and help us get to know the best practices that someone else has paid the price for learning. We talked with them about our goals for the year and they came back to us with a project plan that we’ll be using to launch some of our initiatives.
Norm: I can be very pushy when there’s something I want for the store, when I see something that can help the store be successful. They will listen and help us out because they understand the urgency in creating something successful and sustainable. I’m convinced that the more we can do with Rosie, the more successful we can be.
What features do you have access to now as a Professional retailer have made the most difference in your online business?
Derek: My mind goes first to ‘what would hurt the most to have it taken away?’ and for us, that’s the way Rosie handles product data. The ‘crowdsourced’-style data information is very helpful, as well as the store mapping to help configure our picking, which is extremely important for efficiency.
What do you see in the future with Rosie?
Derek: Online SNAP is a priority, since we want independent stores to be a part of this initiative. Our goal is to be the first in this area to offer it. We currently only do delivery, not curbside pickup, so as we move forward and take EBT payments online, we’re going to start offering curbside. It will make a big difference to compete with Walmart, because right now they own that project. It will also make a big difference in our business being sustainable.