Going the Distance in Grocery: Building True Brand Loyalty
The grocery industry continues to prove the fact it lives in an increasingly crowded space – where consumer brand loyalty gets sliced and diced at every turn. The winner of the grocery game will be the one who wants it more, and who will be willing to make the necessary, and sometimes out of the box, adjustments to capture shoppers’ brand loyalty. All shoppers have their own “stories” that make up their shopping behaviors and preferences, but how do grocery retailers begin to peel back the layers of their customers to build meaningful relationships that result in lasting loyalty?
Understand Shopper Demographics
To help determine what shoppers want, a good place to start is by identifying the high-
level purchasing habits of different generations. A 60-something Baby Boomer, for example, most likely does not have the same shopping preference as a 20-something Millennial. Centennials shoppers, as we know, are born as digital natives and prefer to conduct most of their research online, but are more likely to buy a product at the nearest brick-and-mortar store location. Understanding the buying habits of different generations will help grocery retailers hone their marketing plans to best influence the different demographics.
Step Up Loyalty Programs in the Store
The ultimate goals of loyalty programs are to generate goodwill with existing customers, entice customers to spend more money to increase awards, and if done right, improve a retailer’s insight into the spending habits of the customer. But what good is a loyalty program if it takes on a blanketed approach, and doesn’t offer personalized offers to the customers it was intended to reach in the first place? Sophisticated CRM tools connected to Bluetooth-enabled (BLE) electronic shelf labels (ESLs), for example, can send targeted, location and contextual offers directly to shoppers’ phones making a loyalty program much more effective. Enticing shoppers to join a loyalty program is one thing. The key to keeping them on board is to provide a personalized and rewarding experience that shoppers historically enjoy online, in the store.
Make the Store Experience Relevant and Memorable
Technology can also play a pivotal role in keeping customers coming back to the brick and mortar store. By harnessing the power of smartphones, grocery retailers can greet shoppers as they enter the store or send store associate assistance via a “help” button on a grocer’s mobile app. Through the use of ESLs, grocery retailers can also make ratings and reviews available to shoppers, as well as critical information about where food was sourced or potential food allergens.
The grocery industry is on the cusp of major change. Who will the winners be? Time will tell, but if history has taught us anything, it will be those who are not afraid to transform the store experience through sheer innovation and ingenuity.