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It is almost unfair to Stew Leonard's that I keep coming back to the retailer - where I have been shopping on a weekly basis for close to 40 years - as an example of how to do a lot of things right.

Chief among the qualities that I cite is the company's ability to communicate effectively to shoppers in a way that keys into the customers' concerns.

In the new "Around the Store with Stew" online newsletter, which you can read in its entirety here, the company offers four ways to save money - which include telling shoppers to "stay away from our demos! We do 40 demos per week in each store. Sales usually double or triple when you get to taste a product before you buy it."

KC's View:

Let's be clear.  Stew's can tell shoppers to stay away from the demos, but that's almost impossible - they're around every corner.  (I went to the Norwalk store the other day with the intention of picking up stuff for both dinner and lunch, but had so many samples that buying lunch would've been redundant.). But he's being transparent about why the samples are there.

The "How To Shop Smart" section also manages to emphasize Stew's differentiated strengths - direct connections to suppliers (especially fresh food sources), extensive, less-expensive private label offerings, and app specials that will, in the long run, give Stew's more actionable data about shopper behavior.

All really, really smart.