Last week the P!NK GOLDF!SH rolled into Memphis and we celebrated the patron saint of P!NK GOLDF!SH 2.0. His name is Clarence Saunders. 105 years ago Clarence challenged norms by doing less than all the other grocery stores.
We call this P!NK flawsome strategy “Withholding.”
Before 1916, groceries were sold at stores where a clerk would fetch goods for customers. They’d measure out flour, sugar, and ground coffee beans. Then the clerks added up the prices and write them in pencil on the back of the sacks.
This wasn’t just Mom and Pop shops. Even the big chain stores used clerks. Although the chain store model kept costs down, clerks were expensive.
Saunders defied normal and developed a self-serve model that cut these costs. Customers selected and transported their own items to checkout. Shoppers on that first day did see some employees stocking shelves, but according to the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, “They politely refused to select merchandise for visitors.”
As normal as this seems now, it was unheard of at the time.
By the end of that first year, there were nine locations around Memphis. Saunders called his unique stores Piggly Wiggly. Today, the chain has over 500 grocery stores in 17 states.
Why the weird name? According to the Piggly Wiggly website, “Someone once asked him [Saunders] why he had chosen such an unusual name for his organization, to which he replied, ‘So people will ask that very question.”
Being weird and different made Piggly Wiggly remarkable. Customers loved it.
Five years after opening the first Piggly Wiggly, the company had grown to over 600 stores. Buoyed by this success, Saunders began construction of a pink marble mansion in Memphis in the 1920s. He named it the “PINK PALACE.”
Unfortunately, Saunder would get involved in a campaign to counter a bear run on Piggly Wiggly stock in 1923. It crushed him financially and he was forced to give up the Pink Palace, resign as President, and give all of his stock in Piggly Wiggly to creditors.
Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.
Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.