Buy On Behalf Of Your Customers

March 3rd, 2011
Steven Howard

Lest We Forget For Whom We Work

Albert Heijn, who turned his family's grocery chain into the international conglomerate retailer Ahold Group, passed away at age 83 in January.

He had a great motto, which more retailers and distributors should practice: "You don't sell on behalf of your suppliers, you buy on behalf of your customers. I want my customers to feel fun, convenience and trust."

What a great philosophy. No wonder his stores, such as BI-LO, Giant Food Stores and Stop & Shop have been pillars of customer loyalty.

When he retired, according to newspaper reports, Heijn donated a statue that still stands outside Ahold's headquarters in Holland. The statue is a customer carrying shopping bags and bears the inscription: Lest we forget for whom we work.

Hence I am not surprised when I looked at Ahold's Company Values on its website, I found "Putting the Customer First" to be their number one corporate value.

I wish they had a supermarket in my neighborhood!


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