Despite more and more consumers purchasing groceries online as a result of the pandemic, 85.3% of U.S. grocery sales still occur in person.
However, the adoption of online grocery shopping has caused a change in consumer sentiment surrounding advertising. People appreciate good product suggestions akin to what they see online.
This change in consumer sentiment means that in-store advertising efforts and sales strategies can be more effective than ever if executed correctly.
So, let’s dive in and look at the ways you can use grocery store promotion to increase sales, especially in today’s post-pandemic market.
Grocery Store Advertising in 2023
While grocery store advertising is mostly self-explanatory, it covers a wide array of marketing efforts, from point-of-sale displays to loyalty programs.
Since there are so many grocery store advertising mediums and marketing strategies, this article will discuss only the ones proven to increase the average transaction value (ATV), drive foot traffic, and build brand loyalty.
Defining the Goals of Grocery Store Promotion
Before deploying your grocery store marketing campaign, it’s critical to fully understand what your goals should be:
- Increase Exposure: The average consumer spends 41 minutes in a grocery store per shopping trip. You want a variety of advertisements to influence consumers across every minute of that trip.
- Reach your target audience: The optimal advertising tactics and mediums differ for every grocery store. A local small business may want to invest in making their store an ideal spot for locals to spend time, while a large chain may wish to deploy digital features like QR codes and mobile apps.
- Encourage Impulse Purchases: Grocery stores are always looking to increase sales on their high-margin products, and effective cross-merchandising and point-of-sale displays can be of great utility.
Top 6 Marketing and Promotion Strategies to Boost Grocery Store Sales
Below are 6 effective strategies you can use to achieve your chosen marketing goals:
1. Maximize Point-of-Sale Displays
Point-of-sale (POS) displays are some of the most effective mediums in encouraging last-minute impulse purchases by influencing consumers on the final leg of their shopping trip.
Virtually every grocery store uses POS advertising. However, few stores truly tap into this channel’s full potential.
Rather than just sell candy and gum near cash registers, consider deploying free-standing display units and dump bins. You should also carefully consider what merchandise you choose to display. Since this medium effectively encourages last-minute impulse purchasing, you should display high-margin items that consumers will be most likely pick up.
POS displays can also be used to further your other marketing efforts.
For instance, you can feature a QR code near cash registers that allows users to sign up for your loyalty program or visit your store’s social media page while they’re waiting for items to be rung up.
In doing so, you can create an omnichannel approach to your grocery store promotions.
2. Optimize for Local SEO
In-store advertising is essential for driving higher ATVs, but it won’t necessarily attract new customers.
In our increasingly digital age, the importance of an online presence can’t be understated. A stunning 86% of consumers use Google Maps when looking for local products and services.
The first step to ensuring your business appears on Google Maps is to set up a Google My Business account and claim your listing.
After that, include all relevant store information such as:
- operating hours,
- contact information, and
Keep in mind that Google favors up-to-date profiles in the search listings.
To have your business appear in the top three search listings, you’ll need to maximize the number of 4- and 5-star reviews for your grocery store online.
While your great service will undoubtedly result in good reviews, it’s much more effective to actively solicit your loyal customer base to leave reviews online.
One effective way to do this is to offer additional discounts or gift card giveaways to loyalty program members who leave online reviews.
3. Take Advantage of Grocery Item Bundles
When consumers go into a grocery store, they tend to pick up far more items than planned, and you can further promote this tendency through tactics like grocery item bundles.
Grocery item bundles are used to increase ATV by pairing together related items for a combined price that appeals to consumers.
For instance, a summer bundle could pair tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, and a fall bundle could have pie dough paired with canned pumpkin.
4. Push Your Customer Loyalty Program
While your in-store displays should promote products and brands you wish to sell more of, they should also be used to encourage shoppers to sign up for your loyalty program.
These programs have been around forever and have proven to increase brand loyalty.
However, they are far more effective now due to all the digital platforms and data analysis tools available to store owners.
For example, you no longer need an employee to sign shoppers up for loyalty programs manually. Instead, you can place QR codes on your in-store displays that let customers sign themselves up.
Another innovation in loyalty programs is the use of digital receipts.
Customers may appreciate being sent a digital receipt rather than having to hold onto a physical one, but there is a significant benefit to store owners as well.
With digital receipts for your loyalty program members, you can easily create data-backed consumer profiles and recommend items through personalized emails. This information can be used for effective online marketing campaigns.
5. Create an Online Store
We mentioned that 85.3% of grocery sales still occur in person, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook online sales entirely.
Obviously, you should never overlook the preferences of ~15% of your consumers, but more importantly, online grocery sales are expected to increase at a 12% annual rate over the next five years.
Many independent supermarket and grocery store owners are hesitant to open full online stores as they don’t have the capacity or budget to prepare items for pickup or make deliveries.
This is a legitimate concern, but there are a variety of services nowadays that can handle this side of the operation for you.
For instance, companies like Instacart and FreshDirect don’t charge partnered grocery stores a dime and instead apply a commission fee to their users.
6. Experiment with Sampling Stations
Sampling stations aren’t some new innovation in grocery store promotions, but they can be unbelievably effective.
Just look at Costco’s sampling stations, which can increase featured product sales by as much as 2,000%!
While sampling stations are great, they aren’t all created equal.
For maximum effectiveness, promote high-margin products that you know are legitimately delicious. The placement of your sampling station should also vary depending on the product – snacks near the checkout aisle and meats and cheeses near the deli.
Current Trends in Grocery Store Promotion and Marketing
Overall inflation is slowing down, but the prices of many grocery store items continue to rise, with products like juice priced 20.5% higher when compared to a year ago and frozen vegetables 14.7% higher.
As a result, many shoppers are experiencing sticker shock at the grocery store and are flocking to brands that offer significant discount programs or rewards apps to save money.
In fact, 83% of respondents from the Food Institute survey said they use coupons, rewards apps, or loyalty programs to save money.
The name of the game right now is to convince consumers your grocery store brand legitimately cares about saving them money.
It also means educating them so that they understand that while food prices are rising, you’re not increasing your margins. Rather, you’re doing your best to buffer them from higher costs you’re seeing from suppliers.
That’s why some grocers are turning towards the Costco model – purchasing bulk items and operating out of warehouses for no-frills shopping.
In conclusion, choosing the correct grocery store advertising mediums to align with your objectives is essential.
Whether it’s to increase the sales of a particular product or to drive brand loyalty, it’s up to the grocery store owner to invest wisely in the marketing strategies that legitimately work.
More and more, consumers are facing increasingly high prices for groceries. Due to this, consumers are favoring grocery store brands that emphasize how they can save them money.
While this won’t always be the central focus of your promotions, it certainly should be in the current economic climate.