Let’s Take A Step Back with Eric Poiret


1. Looking back at your previous experiences, how have they shaped your approach to retail and leadership? 

Over time, experiences and continuous learning shape one’s approach. I’ve gained a solid understanding of the industry, yet personal development remains crucial. Agility is key, especially in diverse multicultural and multigenerational settings. 

Having been exposed to various retail environments globally, I’ve learned to navigate diverse settings. 

During my retail tenure in the Middle East, particularly in UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, I encountered entirely new experiences. Working with Filipinos abroad proved beneficial when I transitioned to the retail sector in the Philippines. My initiation as a retail business owner in Dubai marked a pivotal moment. I sought guidance from mentors who played a significant role. 

Moving from a corporate executive to a retail business owner shaped my approach to retail and leadership. I learned foundational management values —understanding that retail thrives on teamwork, not individual efforts. It’s about leading the team while nurturing them, fostering a culture of quality work and output. Leadership by example and being a team player became my guiding principles. 


2. You’ve transitioned across different countries to your current role as Chairman at Euroasia and Co-founder of Heyday. What motivates you to seek new challenges and adapt to different environments?  

I am deeply passionate about retail. I maintain a constant curiosity for emerging industry  

trends and opportunities, consistently seeking out innovative concepts and process 

developments. Our commitment to enhancing our customers’ future necessitates ongoing creativity and innovation. This drive inspires us to continuously explore new ideas and approaches that will propel both our business and our stakeholders toward greater success and prosperity.  

Our customers serve as my primary motivation. Observing them both inside and outside the store, witnessing their consistent presence, and studying their behavior deeply resonate with me. I derive immense satisfaction from pleasing customers, witnessing their happiness, and observing their reactions. There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing the positive impact of our efforts. Learning from customer feedback is invaluable, as it informs our continuous improvement efforts while being physically present in the store enables us to identify areas for enhancement firsthand. 

Identifying the Gap

3.  What inspired the management team to create Heyday in Manila, a new retail concept? Was there a specific gap you identified in the existing retail landscape? 

We aimed to introduce a fresh perspective on health and wellness, providing an experiential retail lifestyle environment that transcends mere shelves and shopping carts, ensuring customers feel uplifted by both the store and its staff. Our goal was to unveil a new health and wellness concept that caters to all market segments. 

Personally, I place a high value on health and fitness, maintaining a disciplined regimen in sports and nutrition. As we ventured into developing our concept, we discovered a striking statistic: nearly 8 out of 10 Filipinos acknowledge their unhealthy lifestyles. Despite a growing demand for health-conscious products, we observed a lack of comprehensive shopping options offering a complete range of health and wellness products in the market.  

Furthermore, we recognized the necessity to provide a retail experience centered on sustainability, not only in terms of products but also in the practices within the store and the community we serve. This commitment serves as our primary differentiator. 

Innovation Spark

4. Can you walk us through the process of developing your innovative retail store features? Where did you draw inspiration, and how did you ensure they addressed customer needs?

After completing the feasibility study phase, we convened a workshop with our management team to establish our purpose, which forms the foundation of our endeavor. To gather inspiration and innovation ideas, we extensively traveled abroad, studying existing concepts in countries such as the US, France, Singapore, Japan, and Thailand, among others, to identify concepts suitable for implementation in the Philippines. 

Additionally, we conducted a thorough market study to understand our customers’ needs deeply. Upon opening our first Heyday store, we continued to gather valuable insights through daily feedback from our product specialists. Our customers are integral to our range and concept developments, actively participating in shaping our offerings. 

We prioritize daily feedback from customers and our team, personally reviewing all input spanning product offerings, services, store ambiance, and overall experience, including any complaints. From feedback to immediate action and brainstorming new concepts, customers shape the store’s concept and drive business growth. Customer service stands as a critical pillar, hence, we are committed to providing continuous training. 

Store Concept Development Stages

5. What are the main stages you see in a new store development concept? 

In our overall process, we begin with an in-depth market study, followed by a feasibility study and brand development phase. We then enhance our approach through targeted market research and travel to gain deeper insights. These insights inform our meticulous concept and design development, store planning, sourcing of products and service offerings, and finally, the execution of our vision. 

Collaboration is critical to maintain consistency in our vision. Every department works towards the same goal, ensuring that each aspect of the business delivers on the vision, rather than the other way around. 

Building from Scratch

6. What were the biggest challenges you faced in building a supermarket from the ground up? How did you navigate the complexities of supply chain, logistics, and staffing? 

With only one store, importation volume is constrained, necessitating the cultivation of trust and the development of lasting partnerships with stakeholders who share our long-term vision. 

During the construction phase, we acknowledge room for improvement in our administrative process and have since learned valuable lessons from this experience. 

Furthermore, Heyday operates as a people-oriented concept, where customers expect expertise and guidance from our product specialists. To meet these expectations, we proactively hired and trained employees in advance; however, we identified and addressed certain gaps upon interacting with customers during the initial month of our store’s opening.  

In addressing these challenges, effective project management is crucial, involving regular monitoring of timelines and progress. Additionally, implementing risk management strategies is essential. 

Customer Journey Focus

7. Did you map out a specific customer journey for your retail store? Can you elaborate on how your design and features enhance that journey? 

Despite our extensive study of health and wellness concepts locally, regionally, and internationally, we consciously avoided limitation. Instead, we drew inspiration to develop our own unique concept, thinking outside the box to create an unconventional layout and innovative features. 

Our store’s visual concept is designed to be warm and relaxing, blending elements of greenery and wooden accent fixtures, complemented by interactive LED screens. Visually appealing storefronts and engaging content establish a lasting brand impression, while clear navigation ensures a seamless experience for customers. 

Upon entering the store, the ambiance is bright and immediately evokes a sense of wellness. The store’s wide frontage provides expansive views and showcases thematic seasonal offers. 

Spanning over 538 square meters, Heyday boasts an extensive selection of local and international health and wellness brands, catering to all customer needs. Customers are treated to a diverse range of vitamins, minerals, and supplements, including our own private label products. Our in-store pharmacists and nutritionists are readily available to assist with product selection. 

Our unique concepts, such as the refillery stations, delight customers with a wide array of food products like spices, nuts, coffee, tea, and eco-friendly non-food items like liquid detergents and soap packaged in sustainable containers and jars. We also offer naturally grown produce directly sourced from farms at affordable prices. 

To minimize environmental impact, we have eliminated single-use plastics by packaging goods in 100% plant-based, water soluble cassava bags, ensuring a sustainable shopping experience for our customers. 

To enhance the experiential journey for our customers, we invite them to provide feedback through our customer feedback app. This valuable input helps us continually improve and adjust our store offerings and services to better meet their needs. 

Evolving Expectations

8. How do you stay ahead of the curve in understanding and anticipating evolving customer expectations in the grocery shopping experience? 

We ensure daily collection of customer feedback and promptly respond to various queries. 

Regularly, we analyze data to grasp customer traffic patterns, product popularity, and purchasing behaviors within our store. This analysis includes a specific focus on our Heyday Club members, who account for a large pie of our sales.  

We consistently conduct market research to stay updated on retail industry trends, as well as advancements in health and wellness and technology. The analyses and research findings are transformed into actionable plans and implemented accordingly. 

Based on this feedback loop, we plan store enhancements and concept improvements. In fact, less than three months after opening, we will adjust 25% of our store space to better meet our customers’ needs.  

To broaden our offerings, we actively seek out new products and concepts to introduce to our customers. Our operational approach entails continuous testing and refinement, as we firmly adhere to our mantra: “You don’t visit the same Heyday twice.” 

Beyond Products

9. Your store offers a unique shopping experience. What role do you see the physical store playing beyond just selling groceries? 

We view the store as a dynamic platform for evolving experiences. Each week, we  

encourage customers to explore, sample, and provide feedback on our new product lines, engaging them as true stakeholders in our offerings. Additionally, we provide technology-driven devices that allow customers to assess factors like weight or skin type, aiding them in selecting the most suitable treatments. 

Our physical store goes beyond groceries to promote holistic health. We offer educational resources, wellness and fitness events, and health-conscious products to support customers’ well-being. 

We are committed to sustainability and social responsibility. Our store prioritizes eco-friendly practices, sources locally from farmers and manufacturers, and engages in community outreach to create a positive impact. 

Personalization Power

10. Do you see a future for personalized experiences within your retail format? If so, how might you implement that? 

From our perspective, the personalized experience begins with tailored customer service, recognizing that individual needs and expectations vary greatly. That’s why we have staffed the store with dedicated product specialists for every trajectory. 

As part of our strategy, we intend to collaborate with preventive medicine doctors to recommend specific regimens tailored to each individual. Additionally, we plan to showcase fitness equipment and provide one-on-one instruction for personalized exercise routines. 

Analytics form our Heyday Club are essential for understanding individual patterns, preferences and expectations, allowing us to address them effectively and strengthen customer engagement and loyalty. 

Our customers demonstrate a steadfast commitment to our brand, showing unwavering loyalty and trust in our products and services. This strong brand loyalty is evident in their repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth referrals.  

Our social media platforms serve as inspirational hubs, featuring testimonials and fostering community engagement. 

Future of Retail

11. What predictions do you have for the future of the grocery retail industry? How will your innovative approach position you for success in the future? 

The future of retail grocery lies in multi-experience and multi-channel platforms. Innovations will focus on simplifying the customer experience through technology-driven solutions such as RFID, self-checkout systems, and streamlined payment processes. These solutions are already in existence and will continue to evolve. 

We anticipate the emergence of concepts that display product images on shelving, providing an experimental supermarket feel. This approach eliminates queues, reduces waste and pilferage, lowers costs, and promotes environmental friendliness. 

Stores will increasingly transform into versatile, playful environments where customers can engage with products through experiences like testing, tasting, and trying before making purchases, a trend that is gaining popularity. 

AI and robotics will play pivotal roles in streamlining processes, enhancing accuracy, and ultimately improving customer service. 

Finally, stores must actively prioritize sustainability and social responsibility, responding to growing environmental concerns. This includes implementing food waste reduction programs, eliminating plastic bags and containers, supporting direct-from-farm sourcing, and adopting materials and practices to reduce carbon emissions and electricity consumption. 

Lessons Learned

12. Looking back, what are some key lessons you’ve learned about understanding and exceeding customer expectations in the grocery retail space? 

It is crucial to invest ample time in understanding customers, as being a data-driven decision-making organization is paramount. 

Often, the best solutions to your challenges are brought forth by the customers themselves. 

Act swiftly on opportunities for permanent evolution within your business. 

Embrace technology to boost productivity and efficiency. 

In closing, our steadfast commitment to understanding our customers, embracing their insights, and leveraging cutting-edge technology underscores our dedication to continuous improvement and innovation. Additionally, our emphasis on collaboration, team spirit, and working towards the same vision ensures that every member of our team is aligned and motivated to deliver exceptional experiences. By staying agile and responsive to market dynamics, we are poised to drive sustainable growth and set new benchmarks in the retail industry. 

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