EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-loannou is extending his no-frills experiences to the supermarket. By next summer, he will be offering a food shopping experience like no other when he opens the first easyFoodstore in southeast London. A “test drive” store will be created in Croydon for focus groups to help determine products and price points.
So what makes this different? First, there will be no brand names. Most everything will be packed generically so boxes will say Coffee, Beans, Butter, or Pizza. Think store brands without the name of the store. They will also offer a few fresh staples such as milk, bread, and a limited selection of fruit.
Like UK competitor Aldi, easyFoodstore will offer a reduced variety of goods, focusing on items that have high turnover. The ultra-budget stores will be smaller than general supermarkets and located in areas that appeal to price conscious customers. While the new chain will accept cash initially, the plan is to accept cards only because, he claims, it is actually safer and less expensive than dealing with cash.
Probably not as popular, Sir Stelios also says that wages will be on the low side, too. However, this would be consistent with his previous no-frills ventures such as easyJet, easyHotel, easyCar, and many others.
So what does this have to do with travel? It brings home a reminder message that while we bloggers on BoardingArea often talk about flying in first class and staying in ritzy hotel suites, a significant number of travelers are really quite price conscious. Entrepreneur billionaire Haji-loannou is well tapped in to this market, proving that price drives more than just decisions about travel. There is a very large segment of the populace that wants to enjoy similar benefits but at a reduced cost because of limited budgets.
Since Haji-loannou is still a very young 47 years old, there is every reason to believe his easy* brand will move forward in other areas. I can easily imagine apartments and other housing, home goods, and maybe automobiles to name a few. The good news for travelers, the more price becomes the deciding factor, the more there will be pressure on travel providers to keep costs down. Of course, the other side of this is that services also will be more limited but this is standard procedure in a competitive economic environment.