2016 has been a busy year in the AWG Marketing department! Through dynamic and evolving programs, we continue to push the boundaries of what independent grocery retailers can do when it comes to their marketing programs. Let’s take a quick look back on some of the highlights:
- AWG Brands Digital Growth – From giveaways to a content calendar, we are continuing to build ways for you to showcase Best Choice, Always Save, Clearly Organic, & Superior Selections. Giveaways revolved around fun activities such as camping and picnics, seasonal events like Back to School, and even food holidays like Peanut Butter Day and Coffee Day. Short recipe videos met the consumer demand for quickly-consumed video content in social channels and digital coupons were introduced to coincide with the growth in that area. The brand websites were rebuilt to be mobile-friendly and optimized for search and the revamped awgbrands.com aggregates the brands’ social channels, making them easier to share.
- New Website Platforms– In mid-2016, we introduced new options for retailers wanting a new website. Webstop and Media Solutions joined Brick as AWG preferred partners for websites. Webstop and Brick are options for retailers looking for template-based websites, while Media Solutions gives retailers wanting more customized features an avenue to achieve that result.
- Online Shopping Explodes – It has been a busy year for retailers wanting to get into ecommerce. AWG not only has four providers with varying options for retailers, but also continues to build the resources necessary to make these programs effective. The AWG Brands image and description data is being improved rapidly, payment and POS providers are becoming familiar with what’s needed to launch these services, and the advertising necessary to make them effective continues to grow.
- Gift Card Promos Drive Sales – The Blackhawk gift card program experienced significant growth in 2016 despite the challenges with EMV compliance felt by many retailers. AWG built more seasonal promotions than ever, offering Valentine’s Day, Easter, Moms, Dads & Grads, Back to School, September Birthday awareness, Date Night and Holiday promos into the marketing calendar for the year. Upwards of 400 stores participated in 2016, more than any other year. We offered a Holiday shipper including gift card packaging as well. One retailer is now live with online gift card sales and merchandising teams are helping high-volume stores keep up with planogram compliance.
As only some of the programs offered through the AWG Marketing department, these 2016 highlights are only scratching the surface of what we were up to in 2016, but rest assured, we’re looking forward to 2017 and how we can continue to help independent grocery retailers thrive. In 2017, keep an eye out for these exciting programs:
- Nutrition Revamped – A new nutrition offering from our partners at NuVal will be available to retailers in early 2017. This CORE offering will feature NuVal scoring for select products at a lower price-point than the full-scale NuVal offering currently available. Consumers will easily be able to see the nutritional value of the most important products in their pantry.
- Ecommerce Expansion – While many AWG retailers are just dipping their toes into the online shopping space, as more retailers decide to offer the service, both service providers and consumers will evolve. Our focus will continue to be on getting retailers live on the platforms quickly and in the most financially advantageous way possible, while not compromising on features and benefits. Our AWG Brands resources will grow and partner programs such as digital coupons, CRM and nutrition will become integrated and seamlessly connect in the eyes of the consumer.
- SEO & Mobile – Having a website is no longer enough. We’re working on further optimizing the sites managed by AWG Marketing to work well with search engines and mobile devices. Consumers demand information on the go, and websites maintained by AWG Marketing will meet this need head on. Google Places will be an important initiative early in the year, as its importance is critical in the most popular search engine.
- New Email & Text Programs – As one of the most critical programs for retailers, email programs continue to grow in popularity as consumers are asking stores to communicate via this channel. Weekly ad emails alert customers when new offers are available and provide other valuable information. The new text program will give retailers the ability to send their own text alerts to consumers without the assistance of AWG Marketing if they would like. AWG Marketing will continue to manage the program for retailers wanting that service.
We’re confident 2017 will be full of exciting changes in the world of independent grocery retail, and we’ll continue to meet the needs you, and your customers, place before us.