The Market Hall in Rotterdam

Tips for Grocery Shopping

This morning a blog post was shared on my Twitter timeline, 50 Tips for Grocery Shopping. I figured anyone who took the time to come up with a 50 item list had put some serious thought into things. I wondered how retailers could use the tips from this family of seven to improve their shopper experience. Check out the full list, but here are some of the highlights

1. Always go with a list. If you go without a list, you may as well just throw your money away. Better yet, donate it to me — I probably need it more than you. 🙂 Seriously, though, you need to prepare a list of everything you need, pulling from your weekly menu (next tip) and checking to make sure you don’t have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Make sure you’re not forgetting anything. Now stick to that list.

The number one tip was about list making. In fact, 10 percent of the tips were list related. How are you making it easier for customers to make lists? Most retailers offer some sort list creator on their website. If you don’t you need to start. However, let’s move past simply offering a place to make lists.

5. Do a rough running tally. Related to the above tip, if you want to stay within your budget, it’s best to know where you’re at. Then, when you can see you’re going to go above it, you can decide whether you really need that 10-lb. box of bon bons. I keep a running tally on my grocery list, just rounding off so I can do some quick math. An item costs $1.85? I say $2. Then I don’t need a calculator or all those complicated math skills.

Shoppers would appreciate the ability to see a running total of what their items as they make a list. This is an easy feature that will save them time and hassle. No need to do mental math in the aisle if they already know what their desired items will cost.

48. Prepare your grocery list by aisle. If you regularly shop at the same stores, organize your list so that you can easily find and check off items as you walk down the aisle. We always shop from right to left, so we’re not constantly running back and forth in the store.

I have been shopping at the same store for a couple of years and I still don’t have all the aisles memorized. It would be good to include aisle information with the items and have it automatically added when making a list.

19. Clip coupons. I know, sometimes they seem like too much trouble. But it’s not really that hard to clip a few coupons and toss them in a coupon envelop to take on your grocery shopping trip. And you can save 10-20% of your bottom line with coupons. Check store entrances, newspaper and flyers for coupons.

Make clipping coupons a thing of the past. No one wants to actually cut them out then have to remember to bring them. Digital coupons are the better answer. They can drive people to your website which is always good. Better yet, allow people to load digital coupons to their loyalty program. Don’t have a loyalty program? That brings us to the next tip.

44. Use store savings cards. These can add up to big savings over the long run.

Start a loyalty program. Customers will appreciate the savings, and you will appreciate all the data you can gather. Loyalty programs allow you to track every purchase customers make. Use that information for targeted advertising. Customers expect individualized deals and this is how you make it happen. Allow customers to load digital coupons to their loyalty accounts and then automatically apply the savings at the register. This will save everyone a lot of time.

28. Go during slow times. One of my favorite times to shop is late at night. But during working hours or other non-peak times is good too. Avoid right after 5 p.m., on paydays and near major holidays.

This tip makes me consider a few things. First, off hours are the perfect time to try and engage customers. Use this time to build a connection. Show off local products or suggest items they might not have considered before. Often times customers who shop at these times do it because they want a more leisurely experience.

There are obviously going to be times that your store is going to be busier than others. What are you doing to make this time easier for people? Are the check lanes fully staffed? Is your parking lot equipped to handle large crowds? Understandably, some problems are easier to fix than others, but they are all important to think about. People know that right after work is the busiest time, but they still choose to shop then. All employees need to be ready to help regardless of their usual duties. Reducing customer stress during busy periods will keep people coming back.

50. Pack healthy snacks for the kids. Whole wheat crackers, popcorn, cut-up fruit, raisins, and other kid-friendly snacks are much better than the junk you often see in kids’ lunches. And cheaper.

You have a store full of food. Provide a free snack as customers enter the store. Place a basket of fruit and some water near the entrance. It is a nice touch that shows you are thinking about kids. Parents like eating them too.

These are some simple things that could be implemented relatively quickly that would all improve shopper experience. This shopper could be one of your customers. Readers of the blog could be as well. Real people are talking, and every day retailers aren’t doing something to improve shopper experience is a day wasted. Let us know what you are doing in your store to make the experience better for your customers.

Sean is a web specialist. He runs the email marketing program, helps in website design, manages social media accounts, and uploads weekly ads. In 2017, Sean started Grocer Podcast, a month show that intends to be another way to get information to retailers. Prior to joining AWG, Sean spent three years as a high school teacher. Sean is an avid cook, sports fan and Kansas Citian.