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    How to Capitalize on the Labor Day Surge: Q&A

    Insights from Valassis CMO Curtis Tingle

    According to August research from Worthington, Ohio-based data analytics firm Prosper Insights & Analytics, 90-day spending intentions on grocery items are flat. With Labor Day quickly approaching, this makes the last weekend of summer a must-win for grocers.

    Like every other holiday, Labor Day comes with a great amount of competition vying for those consumer dollars. In fact, the most preferred retailer for summertime products is Walmart.

    To win over shoppers, grocers must differentiate their marketing and sales tactics to gain an advantage. Curtis Tingle, CMO of Livonia, Mich.-based shopper marketing firm Valassis, shared his thoughts with us on how grocers can attract shoppers and drive sales over Labor Day.

    Why is Labor Day important for grocers?

    Labor Day is widely known for barbecues and picnics. In fact, Prosper Insights & Analytics research found this to be the most popular way consumers celebrated Labor Day in 2015. Nearly 34 percent spent the holiday this way. While discount retailers (namely Walmart) are generally the top destination for summertime shopping, when it comes to barbecues and picnics, grocery stores should have an advantage.

    What steps can grocers take to cater to shopper preferences and remain competitive?

    Labor Day can offer a rush of last-minute shoppers running to their nearest store for food and picnic essentials. In this scenario, both local and national grocers can set themselves apart by focusing on exceeding shoppers’ expectations for relevance, convenience and value. However, grocers can’t plan on last minute shoppers alone, so they should keep the following tips in mind to better understand shoppers and cater to their diverse needs:

    • Provide an assortment of products
      The No. 1 thing consumers are looking for is a brand they trust, with more than half citing this as the reason they buy particular summertime products. It is essential to offer an assortment of products and brands to meet customers’ diverse needs. Grocers should take the opportunity to cater to the “local flavors” of the neighborhood when presenting party solutions.
    • Deliver deals leading up to the summer holiday
      The No. 2 and No. 3 drivers of purchase are price and sales, respectively, with nearly 38 percent and 37 percent of shoppers citing price and sales, respectively, as why they buy certain items. With this in mind, grocers should strategize timing and distribution to pull customers in for “the best” deals in town on essentials like condiments, veggies, charcoal, beverages and burgers. Ensure offers are in consumers’ hands prior to the holiday so they can better plan their shopping.

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