While a new ship is christened by breaking a magnum of champagne on its bow, Rustan’s Supercenters Inc. (RSI) celebrated the transformation of its supermarket at Shangri-La Plaza into the Marketplace—not just with the bubbly but also with the finest wines from top wine-producing countries.
Last weekend, Rustan’s gave loyal clients of the old supermarket and visitors at Shangri-La Plaza the chance to stock up on their favorite wines and some new discoveries by holding the three-day “A World of Wine” festival, with discounts on the different labels on display.
The wine sale is ongoing till Oct. 8 at the new Shang Marketplace.
Ana Punongbayan, RSI assistant vice president-marketing division, said the renaming of the Shang supermarket into the Marketplace was driven by the kind of customers the store drew. “The Shang market, from what we see, is young, hip and (willing to explore new things and experiences). This matches the value proposition of Marketplace.”
Punongbayan said the Marketplace has more new things for customers to explore and experience as the brand shop with “non-mainstream” products exclusive to Rustan’s. “We wanted (this to be a) big leap in the shopping experience of Shang customers.”
The transformation involves more than just a change of name. Different design elements have been introduced to give the store a totally different ambiance.
“The overall design is different,” Punongbayan said. “Rustan’s Supermarket is very masculine, using mainly black, while Marketplace is more feminine with softer design elements.”
The new store is brighter and bigger, with wider aisles for easy navigation and state-of-the-art showcases and refrigeration facilities with less carbon emissions. Energy-efficient LED (light emitting diodes) lights are used all over.
The design is customer-driven and many Marketplace amenities are based on customer feedback. One feature that is not in the supermarket is the brand shop.
“There are categories with an extended assortment of (products) compared to the supermarket,” Punongbayan said. The number of items included in a category will depend on the size of the store.
Aside from the wine selection, Shang Marketplace will have an extensive cheese section and improved ready-to-eat unit.
“We have an intelligent and customer-driven procedure in making sure assortment will match the primary market,” Punongbayan said. A bigger space will not necessarily mean more new products. “We make sure we focus on what the customers would need and what they would want.”
Other Rustan’s supermarkets may undergo the same transformation depending on the primary market, she said. Where the clientele is younger and hipper, there will probably be a Marketplace.
Chief executive officer Irwin Lee said during the wine festival that shoppers would find that “the world is at Marketplace,” as the store will carry brands and products from around the globe.
The store’s extensive international gourmet selections are curated and categorized for ease and convenience—Fresh World, Cooking World, Breakfast World, World of Indulgence and Snacks, Ready-to-Eat, World of Cheese and Deli, and daily bakes from Lartizan.
The Wine and Spirits World, which has been expanded, also carries rare, top-tier selections. Australia’s ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said during the festival that Rustan’s carried about half of her country’s wine labels.
Marketplace by Rustan’s has exclusive partnerships with British supermarket chain Waitrose and major French retailer Casino, as well as exclusive brand offerings like Stash, Wild Harvest and Stonewall Kitchen. The store also brought in a wider range of paper, personal and cleaning products from Seventh Generation, a pioneer in formulating plant-based products designed with human health and the environment in mind.
Marketplace likewise has its own Supergoods line, a selection of responsibly sourced local products from social enterprises such as Human Heart Nature, as well as organic produce from Holy Carabao, snacks from The Cracking Monkey, Sabanana and Pili & Pino, chocolates from Theo & Philo and Coco Dolce, and refreshments from Bayani Brew, Wellness Water and Hope in a Bottle.