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How to leverage user-generated content: Coffee with CART recap

After following along with last week’s Coffee with CART discussion, an article about user-generated content (UGC) caught my attention. Although the article focuses on the fashion industry, it points out many facets of UGC that can translate across industries, including grocery. UGC refers to positive images, reviews or other content posted about your brand online by consumers. Brands, in turn, use that content on their own social media and web platforms as a content marketing tool. UGC is useful because it costs nothing for the brand to produce and provides a more human touch to marketing, as it appears to be more authentic to consumers. After all, consumers trust other consumers more than brands, even if they don’t personally know the other consumers. The ability for consumers to produce photos and other useful UGC is growing due to the proliferation of smartphones. According to the article, almost 60 percent of the U.S. population currently owns a smartphone, and by 2019, this number could reach more than 71 percent! With their advanced cameras and easy access to the internet and social…

Woman Holding Purse and Shopping Bag on Smartphone

Using Retail Technology to Create a Personalized In-Store Experience

With the ever-changing technology landscape for the retail industry, have you ever stopped to think about how you can use this technology to create a better in-store experience for your customers? Some retailers wrongly assume that because so much of our everyday lives have become dependent upon technology, retail technology is slowly replacing the brick and mortar store. In fact, retailers can (and should) use digital platforms to enhance the in-store interactions with their customers. During last week’s Coffee with CART, the discussion revolved around several articles highlighting the ways in which retailers are using technology to enhance the in-store experience. For example, Street Fight magazine explained how the designer denim company, True Religion, is providing their in-store customers with a more personalized shopping experience that involves the brand’s Apple Watch app. Associates working in the store are alerted on their Apple Watch when a member of the brand’s loyalty program have entered the store. The app pulls pictures of the customer from their social media profiles so the associate will be able to recognize the customer and greet them…

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Star Trek gadgets could work today with an open mind

“3D printed food you can eat,” makes me think of the “replicator” in Star Trek. The Replicator seemed like a magical device with the ability to make something out of nothing. I had forgotten the Replicator used technology from the transporter. This means the replicator actually found whatever you ordered and sent it to you. Quickly.   At the end of a long day, I read the article mentioned in a recent Coffee with CART about the 3D edible food printer “Foodini”. Reading the article helped me shed my Star Trek Replicator assumptions and first off, I wasn’t impressed. I left work thinking “Big deal, somebody figured out how to fit a cookie factory into a box the size of a microwave, and it doesn’t even cook! Why would any of our retailers be interested?” It takes me 20-30 minutes to drive home from work, so I tend to relax some during this time. I started to think of factories that produce food. Basically, food goes in, it gets rearranged, and then packaged food comes out. Why do we have factories? To mass-produce. Now lets…

Person taking food photo on phone

Visually Advertising on Pinterest & Instagram

Luckily for grocery retailers and brands, food is visual, and people on social media are passionate about capturing it. Consumers enjoy posting their own food photos, while also looking at those of others, including brands, for recipe ideas and inspiration. Retailers can amplify their own food photo reach through social media advertising. We’ve talked about paid advertising on Facebook and Twitter in the past, but what about other popular social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram? These sites have grown enormously in the past several years and play a pivotal role in the foodie culture. I’ve recently been researching the opportunities grocery retailers and brands have available for advertising on these visually heavy sites that are already loaded with food photos. Let’s start with Pinterest During a recent #CoffeewithCART call, my attention was drawn to an article that was shared about Pinterest’s new ad-targeting tools that CPG and retail brands (including grocers) are utilizing. Pinterest’s advertising platform is now open to all brands, not just large partners like in the past, which means smaller businesses can dive into this advertising…

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We’re in the “Betamax” of online shopping

There was a time, in the early 1980’s, when families had to make some hard decisions on how to best spend their home entertainment dollars. They wanted the freedom to watch movies at home on their own schedule. The question was should we get a “Betamax” or “VHS” player? For a while you could rent a movie in either format. But slowly Betamax cassettes began to fade away. Today, in 2016 we find ourselves in a similar predicament only in the grocery industry. Which online shopping method is going to be the future VHS? Instead of two choices we now have several. Here are a few that were discussed in last weeks Coffee with CART with Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins. Let’s see what other retailers are doing… Instacart: Several retailers in southern California are partnering with Instacart to combat the Aldi invasion. For a grocery customer to use Instacart, they first need to know which stores are partners. They go to the website using any mobile device, find their store, pick their items, schedule the delivery and groceries should show up in a…

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The Millennial Experience

Here in AWG marketing, we’re no strangers to the concept of marketing to the millennial generation. We’ve been following and commenting on these trends for several years now along with the rest of the grocery industry. Recently, millennials were the key focus at this year’s National Grocers Association (NGA) Show. In fact, the NGA Show hosted a session titled Marketing to Millennial SHoppers and Beyond which had to turn away attendees because it was too full! This is a demographic age group that gets more attention with each passing year. In last week’s Coffee with CART, Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins discussed the millennial trends and info shared at the NGA Show, along with several articles highlighting the millennial generation and their shopping habits. We all know that the millennial generation’s online habits have affected retail marketing (re: social media and online shopping). However, Sterling and Schuyler discussed more in-depth millennial trends beyond the technology. For example, new data is showing that millennial shoppers will shop across multiple stores. Previous trends led us to believe that this generation didn’t have very…

Walmart to go truck

Why Now is the Time to Act on Online Shopping

Online shopping continues to be one of the hottest topics in the grocery industry today. Many retailers are hesitant to make an investment in an online shopping strategy today, but I will caution you on that approach. Recent moves by Walmart have made it very apparent that online shopping in the grocery industry isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN. Walmart made headlines last month when it announced it was closing 269 stores globally. But, that move was made in part to help strengthen “the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers.” And now, Walmart is moving full speed ahead, announcing that they will be investing nearly 1 billion dollars to expand their online shopping capabilities — including expanding their grocery items available online.   When Walmart rolls out their online grocery service, they’re likely to feature a no-fee pickup and low-fee delivery experience. But the independent retailer can compete very well in the online shopping space with mega retailers like Walmart. Customers shopping online at their local independent retailers will appreciate knowing their personal shoppers. Online shoppers are…

Coffee with CART Recap (12/10): The Case for Mobile

Last week’s Coffee with CART covered exciting technology advancements like augmented reality or what some know as virtual reality. Although this technology may seem like it’s far off in the future, it’s closer than you think! These types of technologies can creep up on business owners focused on the day-to-day grind. This is often the case with mobile. If you haven’t embraced mobile yet, you need to now because your customers already have incorporated it into their daily lives. According to a Deloitte study that was shared during Coffee with CART, 61 percent of American consumers use their smartphones while shopping and 18 percent of in-store payments are made with mobile phones. That in-store mobile payment number is already up 5 percent from last year and doesn’t even account for all of the payments made on mobile phones from online shopping, outside of stores. In addition, 48 percent of consumers check their phones around 25 times per day. These are numbers business owners cannot ignore. So how can retailers take advantage of mobile marketing? Here’s a checklist of three easy…

Coffee with CART (12/3): Develop a strategy, don’t just react

With Thanksgiving fresh in your minds, I have a question for you. Does your store organize a turkey giveaway around Thanksgiving? How well does this promotion do to boost your sales during the holiday season? Do you notice that a lot of young shoppers are participating? My guess would be no. Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea but because there is statistical evidence that this kind of promo isn’t all that exciting to the young millenial shoppers that many of you are trying to get in to your stores. These younger shoppers might not be hosting their own Thanksgiving dinners yet so it’s possible that their interest in a free turkey will increase as they get older. However, I use this example to show you that you cannot do things the way you’ve always done them and expect that they will work in these changing times and with the younger generations. It’s important to understand what the younger generation and an overall more tech-savvy society is looking for in a grocery retailer.  As Gary and Sterling Hawkins…

Slowing Down to Enjoy the Shopping Experience

Maybe it’s time we change attitudes and perceptions about grocery shopping. As an increasing number of stores begin offering online ordering for easy pick up or delivery options, it’s obvious the industry is adapting to our on-the-go lifestyle. Many people want to get in, get out and get on with the lives. But a recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests retail stores change that narrative, or at least offer ways to slow down shoppers. We’ve all heard that the slower you shop, the more you spend. Online shopping can take away from impulse purchases. So how do you slow down the shopping experience? Make your customers feel comfortable and give them an engaging experience. Offer samples, free coffee, cooking demonstrations, recipes for newer products like quinoa. As I’m grabbing quinoa off the shelf at the store, I’ve had multiple fellow shoppers ask me how to cook it. People want to learn new foods and recipes. Here’s your chance to help them out! It doesn’t feel like I’m slowing down my day if I’m enjoying myself or learning new…

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