Thursday, April 30, 2009

iKristen Buys Her Fresh & Easy Bag(s) -- and It's Almost the Right One: A Tale About the Power of Social Media Sites For Grocer-Consumer Interaction

iKristen saw the Fresh & Easy reusable shopping bag pictured here on the grocer's flickr.com site and wanted it. When she went to her neighborhood Fresh & Easy market it didn't have her desired bag. But she bought two of the reusable bags pictured above at the store anyway. [Photo Credit: iKristen from Twitpic.]

Grocers & Social Media: iKristen and Tesco's Fresh & Easy

In a story this week [Monday, April 27, 2009 Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A flickr.com Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr] about Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market adding the flickr online photo-sharing media site to the portfolio of social media sites it's currently using, we highlighted the potential power of social media sites for grocers by including an exchange on flickr and on the micro-blogging social media site Twitter.com between iKristen, a user of both sites, and Tesco's Fresh & Easy, which has a feed on Twitter in addition to its page on flickr.com.

iKristen, who says she shops often at a Fresh & Easy market in her neighborhood, spotted a picture of a Fresh & Easy reusable canvas shopping bag she liked on Fresh & Easy's flickr page. She posted a comment on the picture at the Fresh & Easy flickr site, asking where she could buy the bag.

She also did double-social-media-site-duty by posting a "Tweet" to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Twitter.com feed, asking the same question: Where she could get the reusable bag she liked.

A member of Tesco Fresh & Easy's marketing or public relations team responded back to iKristen on Twitter, suggesting how she could find the reusable bag she wanted.

Since Fresh & Easy Buzz uses Twitter.com we posted the April 27 piece [Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A flickr.com Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr] on our Twitter feed. [www.twitter.com/freshneasybuzz.]

And fellow Twitter-user iKristen saw and read our post in which she is mentioned.

In addition to being an avid social media site user, iKristen also has a Blog, "Mom of 2 Girls: It's complicated and It's simple,"which we just recently learned about.

After reading our April 27, 2009 piece in which we mentioned her exchange with Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market over her desire to find out where she could purchase the reusable bag, she decided to post a "thank you" to Fresh & Easy Buzz about our mentioning her in our story in her Blog.

[Read iKristen's April 28, 2009 post headlined: "I Feel Special" here.]

IKristen now informs Fresh & Easy Buzz via Twitter.com that she has bought a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market reusable bag -- two in fact, she says. See her "Tweet" (Twitter-talk for a post) below:

iKristen@freshneasybuzz I got my bag 2 in fact! But I bought them :) http://twitpic.com/47zyu from TwitterFon.

iKristen's comment in her "Tweet" about "buying" the two bags has to with a suggestion we made in our April 27 piece that Tesco's Fresh & Easy should give her a free bag in return for all of the positive social media "word-of-mouth" awareness she created for the bag, and thus Fresh & Easy.

But sadly, iKristen wasn't able to get the original Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market reusable bag she liked and much desired on the grocer's flickr page. View that bag here (at the top of the page). The two bags she bought are the "Organic" version pictured at the top of our story and here.

The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market store where iKristen shops -- her neighborhood market -- didn't have the version of the bag she wanted -- the original one from flickr.

Below are iKristen's "Tweets" to Fresh & Easy Buzz explaining what happened when she went shopping for her Fresh & Easy reusable bag:

1. iKristen@FreshNEasyBuzz the lady that worked there didn't seem to know what I was talking about lol. from TweetDeck in reply to FreshNEasyBuzz. (We had asked her via a "Tweet" a bit earlier why she didn't buy the bag she wanted. She had earlier "Tweeted" us a link showing the bag she bought.)

2. iKristen@FreshNEasyBuzz I bought 2 of the organic, I like those too. my F&E stores didn't have the ones from the flickr page. from TweetDeck in reply to FreshNEasyBuzz

Even though she couldn't get the original reusable bag of her desire -- the one she liked from the flickr page -- good Tesco's Fresh & Easy customer that she is, iKristen still bought two reusable bags from her neighborhood Fresh & Easy store -- the "Organic" version Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market reusable bag. (Pictured at top.)

But it just so happens that the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market employee from the retailer's marketing or PR staff who "Tweeted" back to iKristen regarding her flickr and Twitter inquiries about where she can get the bag told her this:

@iKristen you can get the tote with the apple clock up where the rest of the canvas bags are sold (by the check outs). Its my fav bag too! from web in reply to iKristen.

But, not only wasn't the bag in that spot in iKristen's neighborhood Tesco's Fresh & Easy store -- it didn't exist at all in the store.

And since Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market concept is a "neighborhood" market, a customer should be able to get a bag pictured on the retailer's flickr page at her neighborhood Fresh & Easy store, rather than having to drive all over looking for it at other Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market units; and perhaps still not finding the bag. At least we think so.

Having to drive all over looking at other stores outside of her neighborhood sort of defeats the "neighborhood" concept of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market for iKristen and other shoppers, after all.

Therefore, since the well intentioned advice to iKristen from the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Twitter "Tweeter" was a bit of a bum steer (unintentional of course), and sense the bag also happens to be his or her "fav," wouldn't it be nice -- and good best practices marketing and customer service -- for that Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Twitter "Tweeter" to locate one of those reusable bags -- the one iKristen wanted to start with -- and send it to good and loyal Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market customer iKristen for free? We sure think it would be a good move.

iKristen isn't asking for a free bag (she has no idea we are mentioning her again in a post let alone focusing this one on her social media interaction with Tesco's Fresh & Easy). She bought two bags and appears happy.

But... it would be nice, not to mention good marketing and public relations, for the Fresh & Easy Twitter "Tweeter" marketing or PR person to do so. anyway. At least we think so.

And -- by the way, locating the original reusable bag -- the one that got iKristen excited to start with -- and sending it to her for no charge would also be......well, down right good neighborly.

Epilogue

We think the story is a cute and interesting one.

But it's not just about cute and interesting. We think it illustrates just how powerful -- and how much more powerful the phenomenon will become -- of a tool social media sites are and can be for grocery retailers. It's all about retailer-consumer interaction without a filter. A conversation. And in this particular case it even led to a sale for Tesco's Fresh & Easy.

With the advent of social media, it's no longer your grandfather's -- or even your father's -- food and grocery retailing world any longer. Stay tuned.

Grocers & Social Media: Related Stories-Posts:

>April 27, 2009: Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A flickr.com Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr

>January 25, 2009: Twitter Me This Batman: Are You Using Twitter? If Not, You Probably Should Be

>January 18, 2009: The UK Telegraph Reports on Tesco Fresh & Easy's Use of Twitter.Com; Since Fresh & Easy Buzz Was First to Report it, We Offer Some Added Value

>January 19, 2009: Sweet Tweets: Popular laist.com Web Site Picks Up Fresh & Easy Buzz's Buzz On Tesco's Fresh & Easy and Twitter.com; Adds A Little Buzz of its Own

>February 4, 2008: Social Media and Sense of Place: Phoenix, Arizona Fresh & Easy Market Site on Brightkite.com; 'Kissmecait' Does Some Retail Anthropology & Geography

>March 11, 2009: A Fresh Freebie: Tesco Fresh & Easy Offering Online Coupon Good For Free Reusable Canvas Shopping Tote Bag

>January 26, 2008: When Social Media Goes Bad - Maybe? Tesco and Waitrose Store Workers in the UK Use Facebook Sites to 'Diss' Store Customers

>February 18, 2009: Individuals, Society, Business, Grocery Retailing & More: 'Tweetminister,' 'Tweet Congress' and the Rise of 'Tweetocracy'

>September 10, 2008: Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Politically-Connected Public Relations Firm APCO Worldwide

[Follow Fresh & Easy Buzz around on Twitter.com at www.twitter.com/freshneasybuzz.]

13 comments:

Kristen said...

Thanks again for the post. I really would like the bag, if only I could find it. :)

Anonymous said...

My God yes, find her a bag Fresh & Easy. She is so sweet. And read her Blog. She's a big fan of the stores.

F&E Gal said...

Hey Kristen!

I sent you a Flickr Mail also :)

We have these bags at my store, they come in much smaller quantities at a time, I'm sorry our store was out.

Send me your address, via flickr, if you'd like. I'd be thrilled to send a bag your way!

(p.s. They're my favorite ones too!)

Simone said...

I like the Organic bag. Can someone please tell me what it retails for? Can I get it at any fresh & easy store?

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

From Twitter.com

FreshNEasyBuzzi-iKristen gets a bag offer from the famous F&E Gal@http://freshneasybuzz.blogs...
less than 5 seconds ago from web

www.twitter.com/freshneasybuzz

An-F&E-Store-Employee said...

Did Kristen and F&E Gal hook up on her getting the free bag?

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

Kristen, F&E Gal, others:

He wants to know if the "Organic" reusable bag is made from organic cotton/material. We don't know. Can you help him with an answer?

mtc@FreshNEasyBuzz Is the bag organic?
about 15 hours ago from Nambu in reply to FreshNEasyBuzz

Kristen said...

F&*E Gal is nice enough to send me the bag! Thank you again.

The bag is made from 100% Organic Materials, and its recycled materials.

It retails for $2.99

Mike The Food Broker said...

I've been following this thing and it's super interesting. F-E Gal, don't know if you are store manager or what but what you did shows total class and dedication. If brokers called on Fresh & Easy stores would buy you lunch. I checked Twitter and noticed the PR people never responded again to Kristen. Sad. But F-E Gal stepped in. Store people always come through.

Simone said...

Bought 2 of the Organic bags today. Also wanted one like your original Kristen but they didn't have it at the store I went to either. So settled for the two organic ones. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

F&E Gal is a great employee. Dedicated. They're fortunate to have her.

Bardmike said...

I do a blog on Bnet.com, the CBS Interactive web site and I chronicled the tale for our management audience as a little object lesson in social networking, thanks to a little prompting by Mike the Food Broker. http://industry.bnet.com/retail/10001686/tesco-twitters-its-way-to-family-success-at-fresh-easy/#comments

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

Fresh & Easy Buzz Editor's Note:

Below is the link to the post mentioned above by Bardmike; the one he wrote on the Bnet.com Web site about Fresh & Easy Buzz's coverage of the iKristen-F&E Gal reusable bag story.

Post Title:
"Fresh & Easy Employee Twitters to the Rescue"

Link:

http://industry.bnet.com/retail/10001771/fresh-easy-employee-twitters-to-the-rescue/

The link on his comment post is to a previous post he wrote about Tesco's Fresh & Easy and its use of Twitter.com. That post is titled "Tesco Twitters its Way to Family Success at Fresh & Easy."

(Note to Bardmike: Since Tesco just recently reported a full-year loss of $200 million on sales for Fresh & Easy of just $300 million, that performance suggests (following on the theme) considerable more "Twittering" must be needed to arrive at the destination called "success.":)

Thanks for your participation, and the information, Bardmike.

Here's what he says about F&E Gal:

"F&E Gal is getting a little recognition here. And hopefully, Fresh & Easy will extend some, too"

We agree.