Harris Farm sets retail benchmark

For fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution in Asia
John Baker

BY JOHN BAKER

Harris Farm sets retail benchmark

Incorporating concepts from top US retailers, Australian greengrocer chain’s flagship store creates a unique experience for Sydney consumers

Harris Farm sets retail benchmark

The store provides inner city residents with experiences that are much more 'market' than 'supermarket'

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Leading Australian independent retailer Harris Farm Markets has set a new benchmark in fresh food retailing, with the opening of its flagship store at Drummoyne in Sydney’s inner-west

While the store is underpinned by a major focus on fresh fruit and vegetables, other sections include a deli, coffee shop and sandwich bar (via Salt Meats Cheese), specialist butcher (via Hudson Meats) plus a fresh seafood section and eat-in Raw Bar (via Sydney Fresh Seafoods).

In addition, the store features a cheese and entertaining cave, a nut butter station and extensive flower and pot plant section. The Drummoyne outlet is also the first Harris Farm store to offer a boutique wine and craft beer section.

Visited by Produce Plus today, the store is the biggest Harris Farm Markets has opened in its 44-year history and takes inspiration from its recently extended artisan market-style store in Bowral, in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. It also incorporates a range of concepts and ideas taken from a recent fact-finding mission to the US East Coast.

“We had a multi-functional team of managers visit the US, and they investigated trends, innovations and what top retailers were doing to create a point of difference with customers,” explained director of marketing and customer experience Martin Walters.

Some of the key findings from visits to retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes included innovative use of signage, latest merchandising techniques and providing ‘quick and easy’ healthy food solutions to time-poor customers.

“In-store signage has been developed to communicate a range of messaging to customers, creating a unique personality and positioning for the Harris Farm Markets brand,” Walters told Produce Plus.

Signage has been developed to communicate the personality of the brand, as well as being relevant to customers in individual stores. Natural materials, such as timer and hessian, have been used to enhance the messaging.

Merchandising innovations include the latest in fresh produce display techniques and technology, such as ticketing and POS systems. The store also incorporates new display equipment and best use of colour, to enhance visual appeal in fresh produce displays.

Catering to convenient meal solutions, the store features a ‘good to go’ section with ready-made meals, juices and yoghurts, plus a ‘Chop Chop’ section with pre-prepared chopped fruit and vegetables.

Luke Harris, Harris Farm Markets’ co-CEO, said the latest store is a continuation of Harris Farm’s goal to provide inner city residents with innovative world class food experiences that have an authentic village feeling, and are much more ‘market’ than they are ‘supermarket’.

Store operations manager Brad Maguire said customer response has been outstanding, including fresh produce sales. “Customers have told us they’re enjoying a pleasurable ‘journey of exploration’ from the time they enter until they depart the store," he commented.

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