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  • Author: Kate Favrow
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Evergreen Content is Key

There’s a lot going on in a grocery store. There are thousands of products to advertise, both new and old, specialty and every-day. There are service offerings like fresh butchers, floral arrangers, and gift cards. There are programs like online shopping or email newsletters. All of these components compete for both consumer and retailer attention. As a retailer, it sometimes gets old to talk about the same things over and over again. But, while all of these features of stores are standard for those working in the store, it’s important to remind consumers of the products, services, and programs that help define the value the store provides to them. Define Value If you ask independent grocery retailers what value they provide to consumers, the answers align around the same core features: product variety, customer service, and right price.  Others that play a factor are convenience and community involvement. No one wants to slack on any of those. Yet, if everyone in the market is using all of them as their value proposition to consumers, its good to help define what…

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Inblog

All in the Experience

You can’t be in retail these days without hearing about how consumers are migrating to experiences instead of things. As evidenced on a panel at the Retail Innovations Conference, a good place to start when thinking about this topic is to align expectations about what “experience” means. While Kasey Lobaugh of Deloitte showed data that consumers aren’t necessarily shifting spending from retail to travel and entertainment, panelist Doug Zarkin of Pearle Vision challenged that the shift might not be as apparent as money moving to different categories. Instead, Zarkin argued, customers are migrating toward brands that integrate experience into retail.  The good news for grocery retailers is that grocery stores already have quite a bit of experience built in and generally, going to the grocery store is already an experience. Experience isn’t necessarily something considered with intention though, at least according to Tom Demetriou of Dimensional Innovations during his AMAKC presentation in April. He outlined six ideas that marketers can take into account while thinking through how to reach consumers looking for experiences. I took those ideas and translated them…

Retail Innovation Conferece Recap

There’s one thing that’s for sure about retail today: it’s changing. There’s a debate to be had about how and to what capacity this change is happening and it certainly impacts different industries differently but what’s not debatable is that brands and retailers are frantically trying to keep up. This past week, I attended the Retail Innovations Conference to see what brands in all industries are doing to try and keep up with the evolution. Two days of content are hard to distill down to a short recap but here were the themes I saw emerge.   Not Your Old Loyalty ProgramsIn the age of data, loyalty programs are not only still alive and kicking, they’re going strong and evolving to fit the needs of retailers striving for meaningful connections with consumers. Shinola talked about how they reconsidered their program with their brand promise in mind. Macy’s Style Crew re-envisioned a program inclusive of consumer viewpoint and a new reward attainment structure. Personalization for Born shoes is driven by consistent acquisition of consumer online activity behavior data. Hershey’s hasn’t ever collected…

Possibility in Perishables

While online grocery shopping continues to gain steam, a mysterious and myth-riddled sector of the store often gets talked around. Perishables is the most under-penetrated category in online grocery shopping. So how do retailers help customers feel comfortable shopping this important category online? Recently, at the Home Delivery World Conference in Philadelphia, I hosted a panel of industry experts in this area. The panel consisted of Duane Snyder of Seasonal Roots, Ben Chesler of Imperfect Produce, & Mike Demko of locai solutions. We talked through how to attract customers to the perishable category, how to deliver what customers are expecting, and how to gain confidence and repeat purchases. Tempt TrialSome customers are hesitant to try online shopping for their entire grocery basket. While online grocery continues to grow, customers sometimes need a little nudge to try the service. A popular statistic in the space says that customers don’t become an “online customer” until they have tried the service three times. That means you need to get them to try it. Some will based just on word of mouth. Some need…

Inblog

We’re Hiring!

Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving over 3,800 locations in more than half of the states in the country from ten distribution centers. The Sales Services department is hiring a Shopper Engagement Platform Specialist. To learn more about the Shopper Engagement Platform, read this recent article about the program. Position Summary The Shopper Engagement Platform Specialist will assist the SEP Supervisor in building a strong relationship with vendors, category management and retailers. The SEP Specialist wiil be responsibile for weekly follow up with retailers, assisting in launch of new programs and execution of promotions. Position Responsibilities * Build, grow & cultivate strong relationships with vendors and category management team to generate support in retailer shopper engagement platform* Facilitate art for new launch, assign design work to artists and get approval from retailers, work with artist to ensure order completion. * Lead the development of multi-touchpoint shopper marketing initiatives and campaigns based on shopper insights and strong understanding of retailer strategy. * Gain alignment with key internal stakeholders by defining…

InKate

Shoptalk 2019

Overwhelming or energizing. Four days in Las Vegas at Shoptalk could elicit either one of those feelings depending on your perspective. For me, it’s a healthy mix of both because the overwhelming part demands focus and introspection into the practicalities of applying everything I just tried to absorb from the biggest and best in retail. The energizing part comes in seeing how we, and the industry, respond to all this great information. Brick & Mortar isn’t dead. But it is changing. Historically, grocery stores were designed to meet the needs of walk-in customers. Instacart’s Chief Business Officer Nilam Ganenthiran talked though about how that may need to change in the future. Rather, owners should consider designing expedite e-commerce fulfillment. Crate & Barrel CEO Neela Montgomery talked about enhancing their stores with in-store dining options. Helena Foulkes, CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company, showed before and after pictures of Saks Fifth Avenue store completely redesigned to have natural light by the makeup counter, easier access to the second floor for efficiency, and expansion of handbag category. All of these retailers are responding…

Inblog

Print to Digital: A How-To

“I want to get out of print.” That’s a statement I heard from multiple retailers recently. While print continues to be the go-to vehicle for most grocery retailers, more and more, retailers are looking for a way to shift dollars and take advantage of digital platforms. I’ve talked to retailers who cut print cold turkey and seen no changes in sales. I’ve talked to retailers who planned out a transition away from print for months only to have mad customers once the ad stopped being distributed. What’s the right path? Frustratingly, the answer is “It depends.” So where do you start if you’re a retailer wanting to get out of print? A good place to start is to assess where you are now. The only way you’ll know whether getting out of print will impact you is if you measure it. Take a look at where sales are currently. Pull numbers on customer count and transaction size. Think about what your current ad distribution looks like and how you could optimize it. You also want to make sure you know…

Time to Get Strategic

Let’s just all admit it: Marketing in 2019 is hard. While there are multiple programs and strategies and ways to spend money reaching out to consumers, the way we talk about marketing doesn’t make it any easier. We have traditional and digital, marketing and advertising, data and insights. It’s all just a big jumble of everyone trying to understand what is going to work and what isn’t and none of us have a crystal ball. Now that we’ve all had our moment to vent, what do we do about it? The only answer is to start with the basics and focus on a strategy. The tricky part about that proposal? Having a strategy. Let’s think through were to start. No marketer worth her weight starts to build a strategy without doing some research. That means understanding where the brand is currently, what it means to consumers, what you WANT it to mean to consumers, and what avenues are in place currently to help connect those ideals. Sometimes, this means doing research; sending out consumer surveys or talking to consumers in…

The Practicality of an Idea

If you’re like me, I get a lot of sales pitches about new products and services. It’s hard to understand which one to grab onto and which ones to push to the back burner for now. While I always do at least some cursory investigation into new opportunities, there’s no way to do everything. All of this can be overwhelming if you don’t have a way to narrow down where you should focus. At Groceryshop back in October, Wayne Duan, VP of eCommerce for Constellation Brands provided a good way to think about any business opportunity. Below are the questions to ask about this opportunity and my two cents on how I think of these when working with retailers. Does it Solve a problem? This seems like an obvious question but it’s amazing to me how many people decide to dive fully into implementing a program without thinking about whether a problem exists that needs to be addressed. Is it better than the Status quo? While we’re always wanting to push the needle and continue to evolve, sometimes it’s good…

Making Marketing Data Work

Big data. Little data. Shopper data. Transaction data. Data. Data. Data. By now someone has said you need data. The trick is knowing what kind of data you need and what you should do with the data once you have it. Knowing many independent retailers have these questions in mind, I attended the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association presentation recently from Blake Hodges of Alight Analytics. Hodges had some important reminders for those of us trying to figure out how to solve the two part data problem: aggregation and reporting. Fundamentally, before aggregating and reporting on data, you have to have it. Data comes from all different places. You likely keep track of some of this data but maybe not all and potentially not in a way that helps you make future decisions. According to Hodges most of us spend around 80% of our time prepping data but only around 20% analyzing it. This insight really calls into question the whole reason we have data. To address this imbalance, Hodges broke down four levels of performance insight from data and…