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In today’s economy, consumers are not only smarter when it comes to grocery shopping, but they’re also more strategic. Whether it’s planning and preparing lists, searching for deals, or shopping at multiple stores, they are practicing resourcefulness and restraint in order to save money. They are also using a variety of methods to find what they’re looking for at the best price.
Take advertising inserts and circulars, for example; 66 percent of U.S. adults surveyed in Quad/Graphics’ 2015 Customer Focus Research use these materials to decide where to shop for groceries. Of that, 30 percent are using advertising inserts online at grocery store websites. In fact, more than one in four say they have visited a grocery store website to assist with their shopping in the past month, and the main reason was to access online circulars for weekly specials (61%) or to get coupons (56%).
Not surprisingly, the mobile channel is gaining influence as well. In 2014, 58 percent of U.S. adults claimed to have a grocery app on their mobile device, compared to 30 percent with a CPG brand app; and one in two uses a grocery app to access coupons (NinthDecimal 2014).
What this all amounts to is that grocery retailers are being challenged to figure out how to leverage an omnichannel marketing environment that gives guests the type of material, incentives and shopping experiences that not only help them achieve savings but also foster loyalty. Loyalty programs in and of themselves are a great place to start when it comes to making products and offers more accessible to consumers, wherever they may be.
Over time, grocers with loyalty programs know to a large degree who is buying what. The question is: how do they leverage the big data from loyalty cards to derive insights that go beyond when a customer was in a store, and how much she bought of what? The opportunity exists to generate effective omnichannel campaigns by examining behaviors and truly leveraging the time, place and product. For instance, if the customer is replenishing every two weeks, the retailer can utilize this data to sync an offer and ultimately drive traffic back into the store or to the website.
With such vast data available about the products consumers favor and buy, and when and where they are researching and making purchases, it's possible for retailers to appeal to segments of buyers, or even individual buyers. Purchasing preferences, habits, and frequencies drive the offline or print components that personalize direct mail, advertising inserts and circulars. Email and mobile, among other digital channels, round out the omnichannel touchpoints that grocery marketers are learning to optimize in order to better engage consumers and create a more personalized customer experience.
The bottom line is that Americans have changed the way they grocery shop. They still want value, convenience, quality and service, but they’re more willing to put in the time to achieve these goals. Grocery marketers must sync their omnichannel strategies to stay ahead of their customers, and leverage the power of loyalty programs – both in terms of how they influence customer choices and how they glean powerful data points –to maximize success.