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    Selfie Service

    Don't just encourage shopper selfies, post some of your own, as well!

    By Joe Tarnowski, Stagnito Business Information

    People love seeing themselves online, as evidenced by the proliferation of selfies across the various social media platforms, which was given a boost by Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscar selfie, which generated so much traffic it shut down Twitter for a couple of hours.

    Retailers have recently been capitalizing on this craze, with contests involving customer selfies around a specific topic, product, or theme.

    Albertsons and Coca-Cola earlier this month launched a “Summer of Selfies” campaign  which gives consumers a chance to win a $75 Albertsons gift card by posting selfies to its Summer of Selfies site

    Every day during the campaign -- which started this past Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day -- shoppers can use the hashtag #AlbertsonsSelfies to post a photo to their Instagram or Facebook account. They can also upload and submit the photo on the Summer of Selfies page. Entrants can win multiple times during the promotion, but not multiple days in a row. 

    Karl Meinhardt, VP of digital marketing for Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons LLC, said they are seeing great levels of customer engagement with the Summer of Selfies campaign, and as the grocer moves to 'themed' weeks of the campaign it will have customers share their in-store experiences.

    Pizza Hut partnered with country singer Blake Shelton to launch a line of barbeque pizzas that lets fans submit a selfie with an in-store cutout of the country music star which it is calling a “Shelfie,” which they can post on their social media sites for a chance to with prizes and free products.

    The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is also calling for selfies in honor of Hot Dog Month (July), and is asking hot dog fans to submit their best photos for its “hot dog selfie” contest. The most creative hot dog selfie photo selected by fans of the NHDSC Facebook page will win a personal hot dog ride -- an Airhead Double Dog ride-on inflatable -- plus a $100 gift card for his or her favorite hot dogs. First runner-up will win a $50 gift card for his or her favorite hot dogs and the top three favorites will all win National Hot Dog and Sausage Council T-shirts featuring the slogan Hot Dogs: Relish the Moment, chosen by hot dog fans during Hot Dog Month 2012.

    Such programs are a great way to leverage the average social media poster’s vanity and creativity with the chance to win free stuff – a winning combination, especially now that summer is here and people are involved in more selfie-worthy activities.

    Snap Your Own Selfies

    But retailers shouldn’t stop there. Why not get yourselves involved in the selfie trend? It’s a great way for your staff to extend their engagement online to engagement in the store. For example, have your deli manager post a selfie of himself next to the beautiful self-service salad bar he just prepped, or your meat manager holding a choice cut of sirloin. Selfies such as these serve two purposes. They show off your offerings, but also create a connection between your shoppers and the employee associated with the products. This will enhance in-store connections with shoppers, as these selfies add an air of celebrity to your associates.

    You can go beyond service departments to other areas, as well – your florist can snap a selfie with a newly-created bouquet, or seasonal manager holding a beach ball. The more creative, the better.

    These selfies may not shut down twitter’s servers, but they will go a long way to enhancing engagement – both online and off!

    By Joe Tarnowski, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Joe Tarnowski A 13-year veteran of Progressive Grocer, Joseph Tarnowski is Editor-in-Chief of Progressive Grocer Independent -- PG’s standalone bi-monthly publication serving independent grocers and wholesalers. While his primary responsibility is developing informative and actionable content, he also views his role as that of a networker who loves to connect people with common interests, knowing that when it comes to finding a solution to an industry challenge, two brains are better than one. To facilitate such connections, Joe founded the Independent Grocer Network, a custom social network for independent grocers to meet and share strategies, stories, photos and videos, or to simply ask for advice from their peers. He is also a senior editor at PG, where he oversees the brand’s quarterly PG TECH supplement, which covers all areas of retail technology, including in-store systems, supply chain, online, mobile and social.

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