The retail space has always been competitive, and today is no different. What has changed in recent years is the media through which retailers – and grocery stores in particular – are reaching out to potential customers. New media platforms have taken the world by storm. Consumers are no longer beholden to newspaper circulars, yellow pages, or even TV and radio ads. Today, they look to other sources for information.
There are a number of new media platforms in which grocery stores are reaching out to customers today, including:
1. Social media sites.
Twitter and Facebook have become, for many consumers, the primary way they navigate the Internet. They read news articles when friends post them as links. They connect with companies to learn about their products, and even to get customer service.
Social media sites represent a tremendous opportunity to connect with customers. Via social media you can inform customers of new products, advertise sales, and even offer coupons that are exclusive to the particular site.
The key here, however, is to use social media profiles properly. If your grocery store’s Facebook page only ever includes advertisements or links to your website, you’re going to lose follower interest (and have fewer followers, as well).
You need to be sure that your social media updates truly offer something of value to the customer. That might mean a coupon; it might mean advertising a special that’s only available to Facebook friends or Twitter followers. It might mean providing detailed product information, or even advice about nutrition. Listing the necessary ingredients for a heart-healthy breakfast, for example, will pique customer interest more than simply listing the fact that you carry egg substitute.
Finally, remember that social media is all about interaction. If a customer asks a question on your social media profile, go the extra mile in answering it. Not only will you be encouraging that customer, you’ll also be telling everyone else who can see the conversation just how you’re devoted to customer service.
2. Text messaging campaigns.
Another medium grocery stores are taking advantage of is text or SMS messaging. Via text messaging, you can accomplish a number of things, many of which are similar to what you can do with social media.
For example, you can have a weekly text message that offers a specific free product or a discount on the user’s total grocery purchase. Text-based coupons are a quick and easy way to get your store’s name in front of customers, and to immediately associate it with value.
Because of the advent of smartphones, you can incorporate text messaging into other online marketing efforts. For example, you can include a link in the text message to you store’s website, or to a web-based coupon.
Text messages connect with customers when they’re at home and on the go. This has the advantage of, in many cases, reaching a customer directly at the time of need, and results in an immediate visit to the store.
3. Email marketing lists.
One of the oldest forms of “new media” is email marketing. Email marketing can be effective, but it has to be done right. Consumers are so used to weeding through spam, you need to be smart about how you gather your email marketing list, and about the content.
As with social media, the content of your email marketing efforts needs to add real value. It needs to be something that the reader can truly use. If it’s just a “look how great our grocery store is,” the email is going to be deleted.
You can approach this from a number of different angles. For example, your weekly emails could focus on a specific issue, such as organic foods. You might send out a weekly menu plan, along with a list of all of the groceries necessary to make the items on the plan. If you organize the list by department or by store aisle, you make it tremendously easy for the customer to shop, and will most certainly drive additional traffic.
As always, email marketing is a wonderful place to offer exclusive discounts or coupons, as well.
The grocery world is changing. It’s not enough to just be the corner grocery store anymore. You need to be able to connect with customers where they’re at, and you need to offer them a good reason to shop with you. New media marketing techniques let you do all of this and more.