Perks or price, where do you shop?


The "Business Week" series on innovation takes on the topic this week, but has a pretty blah take on what could be really interesting.

The article touches on how differentiation is increasingly the key to winning customers. Supermarkets are all pretty competitive on price, so they will start using technology, service and unique products to gain loyalty, according to the story.

First, are supermarkets really all about the same when it comes to price? I recently wrote about Albertson's reducing prices in some markets and WalletPop readers had some pretty passionate things to say about pricing and the little things that have won their loyalty.

It seems that grocery pricing still varies dramatically and that stores have long engaged in innovative practices to set themselves apart.

As for future innovation, well RFID is promising but we've been promised it for a decade now. RFID refers to radio frequency identification tags that are being added to packaging and products to better transmit information to retailers, letting them keep shelves stocked and ultimately letting shoppers zoom through the checkout without taking a thing out of the cart. The tag will just register and a debit or credit card on file charged for the total.

But this is still in the future, the way future. Some RFID benefits are on display at Disney's Innovations Dream Home. Put a bag of groceries on the kitchen counter and a get a display of recipes that utilize the ingredients inside, illuminated right on the countertop. But that's at Disneyland, not Publix.

Innovation is so important, especially in our everyday lives. I just wonder what people are really making basing their store choices on: price or perks?