A Look Ahead to 2018

Attracting and retaining consumers to independent retail brick and mortar locations didn’t get any easier in 2017, but as we look ahead to 2018, there’s good news for retailers in the grocery space. Programs are evolving, consumers are becoming more educated, and manufacturer partners have more ways than ever to help independent retailers compete with the biggest players in the industry.

Here’s a look at what AWG Marketing/Advertising will be focusing on in 2018:

Online Shopping
Retailers both large and small are jumping into online shopping in efforts to bring consumers convenience. Online shopping providers continue to introduce features that consumers want such as shopping directly from a weekly ad, recipe integration with shopping lists, and suggested items based on past purchases. Providers are integrating with other digital media companies, streamlining the use of frequent shopper programs, digital coupons, and email. Their diversifying their offerings with supplemental services like meal kits and offering special discounts to help retailers participate. Plus, AWG Marketing continues to pursue online shopping program extensions that offer deliver and algorithmic manufacturer offers based on a customer’s online activity.

The Shopper Engagement Platform gives retailers a way to understand customer behavior and tailor deals and offerings to that behavior, just as major competitors are doing. Using that data, manufacturers and retailers can target special offers and segment customers to ensure pricing, product selection, and service offerings resonate. Digital coupons loaded directly to a customer’s unique identifier provide even more discounts to a retailer’s shoppers. The Shopper Engagement Platform also helps retailers gather consumer email addresses, giving them the ability to drive consumers to websites that house weekly circulars, online shopping platforms, digital recipes, and links to social media properties.

In Store
While not a new program in the industry, in 2018, AWG retailers have the opportunity to get a Coinstar kiosk in their store thanks to a new partnership between Coinstar and AWG Marketing. Coinstar kiosks provide consumers convenience while leading to bigger basket sizes for retailers. The service is turnkey and 45% of the cash vouchers are redeemed inside the store.

Additionally, the AWG In-Store Marketing team continues to build the Blackhawk gift card program to include more promotional offers from card partners. 2018 promotions will include offerings around Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Graduation, Father’s Day, Back to School, and Black Friday. Seasonal shippers will offer incremental floor space and card offerings.

AWG Brands Promotions
Best Choice, Clearly Organic, Always Save, and Superior Selections will continue to be supported throughout the digital landscape. Digital coupons offered by AWG Brands extend deeper discounts to consumers and can be used by retailers on a variety of different digital platforms. Social content helps consumers connect their day-to-day food making decisions to the AWG Brands carried in store. Emails remind consumers to try new AWG Brands products either through entering giveaways, using special coupons, or getting tips on nutritious living. The Clearly Organic “Ask A Nutritionist” gives retailers a resource for reaching out to health-conscious consumers.

2018 is sure to be full of changes. As the year evolves, expect new program offerings, platform evolutions, digital expansion, and who knows what else. The AWG Marketing & Advertising teams will be at food shows across the AWG membership to talk through opportunities and find programs that fit into the retailer’s go-to-market strategy. The team will also be present at the AWG Innovation Showcase as digital programs are part of the focus of this 3-day event.

Have confidence, though, that whatever comes along the way, AWG Marketing & Advertising are poised to help independent retailers compete and drive sales and engagement in their marketplaces.

Why do I work at AWG? “I value the opportunity to work with family businesses. My dad owned his own business for 35 years, so it is what I know and cherish. Plus, I love food, so thinking about it everyday is a huge plus.” -Kate