Dan Naden

Learning from Central Market: Sights, sounds and smells that make you spend

Watermelon juice

High-quality, corn-fed Angus beef

Fluffy, moist Blackberry muffins


Central Market in Austin, Texas makes shopping a dazzling carnival for the senses.

Who can say no to this sensational spread of veggies?

It’s not shopping; it’s experiencing. The idea of ‘how much does that cost?’ is quickly replaced by thoughts of:

  • Look at all those kinds of salsa.
  • Can you believe they have Green Chile gelato?
  • I’ve never seen such fresh-looking fruits and vegetables.
  • Look at the impressive seafood selection.

Before you know it, your cart is full and your belly growls in anticipation of some delicious treats.

You may glance at prices, yet once it’s in your cart, it’s a done deal.

This freshness, selection, variety comes at a premium; you may sense a ping of buyer’s remorse as you exit the stunning grocery layout. But how did Central Market do it? How did they get me to spend generously for many ‘run of the mill’ grocery items?

They got you, the buyer, to move beyond the basic, caveman question:

  •  How much does it cost?

Instead, you were thinking:

  • That’s the freshest swordfish I’ve ever seen. I always wanted to grill swordfish. Let’s do it.
  • Wow. There are like 20 different salsas there. There has to be one that I like. Look at how vibrant they look. I already have a few bags of chips at home. Sold.

Central Market, like other smart grocers, brought emotion into the sometimes mundane, routine world of grocery shopping. Many a shopper has ditched his list in favor of splurging on pastries, gelato, fresh pizza, gourmet beer. This wasn’t just clever end-cap positioning, but a comprehensive store and concept layout to tickle the senses.

Let’s step away from the grocery store for a minute. Can you bring emotion into play with your unique selling proposition? Can you get your buyers away from the fickle world of price comparison and into the world of problem-solving and pain reduction?

Think before and after. Before: I have catastrophic, costly network issues that could cause my business to crater. After: I lead without stress because I have a valuable system in place to keep my assets secure.

  • How much does the problem that you are trying to solve cost a business? (example: without network monitoring software your company’s network will seriously underperform, penalizing your business by about $XXXXXX/year)

You may not be selling delectable blueberry muffins, yet you can vividly experience the problems that your customers face and be there to guide them to safety.

Back to the grill; our Central Market pork tenderloin is ready to be turned.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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