M&M MEAT SHOPS—USING DEMOGRAPHICS TO DRIVE DECISIONS Known as the store with hundreds of meal ideas but only one aisle, M&M Meat Shops is Canada’s largest retail chain of specialty frozen foods with over 470 locations coast to coast. The demand for “ready-to-heat food” is increasing as more and more households are finding that they just don’t have time to make a home-cooked meal. This is an important demographic dimension for the company. The first M&M store opened in October1980. It was based on a consumer insight by founders Mark Nowak and Mac Voisin that it wasn’t possible to buy restaurant quality steaks in retail outlets.
Neither Nowak, a lawyer, nor Voisin, an engineer had much marketing experience, however when the company started offering franchises, they did recognized the need to have a segmentation methodology to help them assess potential new locations. The M&M Concept The M&M concept is simple: provide our customers with the finest quality products at affordable prices in the most customer-friendly way. Each store is set up with one convenient aisle and large, glass-door freezers to display products. Customers can easily view the entire selection, making the shopping experience much easier compared to visiting several aisles in a large grocery store.
In addition to the ease of finding products, M&M’s fully trained, certified Product Consultants, will answer any questions customers may have, as well as provide helpful preparation tips and meal suggestions. M&M offers more than 375 products, the majority of which are flash-frozen. Flash freezing ensures retention of natural flavour and nutrition, and allows meats to be aged perfectly before being frozen quickly. Fruits and vegetables are frozen at their height of ripeness. Products are portioned for ease of cooking and before anything reaches our stores, all of our products undergo vigorous quality testing.
M&M Meat Shops uses demographics, to gain insights into their geographic trade areas, their customers, and to help refine M&M Meat Shops’ understanding of who has the best lifestyle fit for the company. Demographic data helps the company understand if a trade area has potential or not. It is demographics that highlight if an area is, for example is experiencing growth or decline in population, if the area is home to more apartment dwellers than home owners, as well as what the dominant language that is spoken.
Segmentation helps to define neighbourhoods more thoroughly. Two neighbours with similar incomes, religious backgrounds, and housing can have very different lifestyles and buying habits and it’s vitally important for a marketer to be able to identify these differences. Using information produced through segmentation analysis efforts, M&M Meat Shops selects which target markets to pursue. Its target customer is typically a woman (35 years +) with a family with a very active family life that includes two or more children.
These consumers are time-starved and need convenient food options. Having identified the best target markets, the company turns its efforts to finding more consumers who fit the profile and determine how to reach them with relevant campaigns. In Ontario, for example, one of the top market segments for M&M Meat Shops is known as “Wine with Dinner. ” This group is university-educated, athletic, and lives in single-detached homes with larger than average families. They have average household income of $70,000 and spend a lot of money on home decor and gardening.
As the country becomes much more multicultural, ongoing analysis is conducted to understand the changing Canadian population. According to the 2006 Census, the face of Canada continues to change at a fairly rapid pace. In the five years between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, 1. 6 million new residents called Canada home, of which 1. 2 million, or 75 percent of those residents, were new immigrants. These new Canadians are a potentially huge market for retailers, one that is anticipated to grow. By 2017, 1 in 5 Canadians are expected to be a member of a visible minority.
Armed with such insights, M&M Meat Shops has begun to research the complexities of ethnic marketing. Although M&M Meat Shops is predominantly a suburban chain, it is starting to launch a new M&M Meat Shops uses urban concept called M&M Meat Shops Uptown. The first location is in downtown Toronto and features a more modern decor than the suburban outlets. This new concept is designed to fit the urban lifestyle with extended hours of operation as well as the inclusion of specialty products such as indoor grills and computer kiosks to help customers create their own menus and download recipes.
Other expansion plans for M&M Meat Shops include a venture into the U. S. Determining where to open the first U. S. stores is a massive undertaking. One step in this research is to compare the company’s top Canadian segment clusters to those in the U. S. to check for similarities in lifestyle. (The Canadian and U. S. clusters are totally different) M&M’s also knows that it pays to retain loyal customers and now offer the MAX program which rewards its most loyal customers. Customers who join the program receive exclusive MAX savings and offers on flyers and in store specials.
The program also provides the company with valuable consumer insights. M&M Meat Shops says that 94 percent of all sales transactions are tracked through the program and that 93 percent of customers, or . 7 million Canadians, have a MAX card. Data collected from the card, such as postal codes, are used to understand how far customers travel to outlets—useful information when determining locations of new stores. It also helps more narrowly focus advertising efforts to reach the core customer profile.
Segmentation data and loyalty program data are provided to franchisees to help them increase market penetration in their trade areas and even to determine what mix of products to stock. M&M’s approach adds value to franchisees, helping them to first attract and then keep their best customers. This appears to be a company that is doing everything right. What must they do in order to stay relevant and keep customers coming through the doors and continuing to spend their money? M&M Meat Shops Mission Statement “Hundreds of meal ideas. One aisle. ” M&M Meat Shops Guarantee At M&M Meat Shops, our guarantee is our word. If you’re not completely satisfied with every product you purchase from us, we will replace it or give you your money back. We’re confident that our products will meet your high expectations. But if there is ever an instance we don’t live up to your standards, we want to know about it. Please come back and tell us, and we will correct any problem to prevent it from happening again. Simply return the unused portion of any unsatisfactory product along with the box or package, to the M Meat Shops store it was purchased from.
At the store, a Product Incident Report will be completed in order to document your concerns, as well as record any other important information. This form will then be sent to our Head Office for evaluation and follow-up. You will be offered a replacement product by the store. If no product is acceptable to you at the time, you may have a refund for the full price of the product. It’s all part of our commitment to complete customer satisfaction. ” (M&M Meat Shops website) Source: Marketing – Canadian Edition. Grewal, Levy, Persaud, Lichti. McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd, Toronto. 2009