See Andy's other stuff:

RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

Newsletter #1002: The “Lessons from a Texas Grocery Store” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

If you’re from Texas, you’ve heard of H-E-B. It’s the central Texas grocery store that people are actually proud of. It’s not because they’re a locally-sourced, organic-certified co-op. It’s because of all of the little things they do to earn customer love and word of mouth.

Here are three examples:

1. A sense of belonging
2. Customer experience
3. Take care of your people
4. Check it out: Instead of TV, you should watch…

1. A sense of belonging

H-E-B is a grocery store for Texans. Tons of salsa and barbeque sauce varieties, Shiner baked beans, Whataburger brand condiments, Mexican candy, Texas-themed coffee blends, shelves of Texas-brewed beer, and other stuff Texans love that you can’t find at just any grocery store. H-E-B capitalizes on Texan pride in just about everything they make and sell (including crackers, cheese, tortilla chips, and almost anything you can think of shaped like the state). They even send out a “Texan Guide” in their mailers.

The lesson: Everyone likes a sense of belonging — a sense that someone gets them. How are you showing your customers that you understand what makes them special?

Learn more: BuzzFeed

2. Customer experience

A lot of grocery stores have samples. But not many of them have their own mini kitchen in the middle of the store giving live cooking demonstrations while they hand out samples. This is just one of the ways H-E-B focuses on your experience in the store. They also make fresh sushi, agua fresca, and handmade tortillas inside the store. On some occasions, they’ll even throw crawfish boils or grill burgers in the parking lots.

The lesson: Your product isn’t just what you sell, it’s also how you make your customers feel. The more of these little happy moments you can sprinkle into their experience, the more great things they’ll have to say about you.

Learn more: Forbes

3. Take care of your people

H-E-B calls their employees “partners.” But it’s not just lip-service — they actually care about the people who work for them. One example: A quick Google search of “H-E-B benefits” will bring up employee blog posts describing how well they care for their staff. Just check out their Glassdoor and Indeed ratings — where even the most beloved companies have a hard time, H-E-B has an average of four stars on each.

The lesson: When you take better care of your employees, they’ll take better care of your customers. H-E-B employees are nice because they’re happy to work there. You can feel it when you walk through the door.

4. Check it out: Instead of TV, you should watch…

Instead of watching Wheel of Fortune, wouldn’t you rather learn why the earth spins, how microwaves work, or what sponges and octopi have in common? This site brings up random educational videos that aren’t just about science. You might also stumble across videos on the French Revolution, the Olympics, or the history of birth control.

Check it out: Instead of TV, you should watch…

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.


  1. James Young August 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Great Brand! Great Points!

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again