4 Tactics to Take Retail Foodservice Marketing to the Next LevelDecember 20, 2017
Progressive Grocer | December 20, 2017 – Gone are the days when most shoppers would pick up the Sunday paper and flip through store ads to make their shopping list—nowadays, targeted advertising and social outreach are what’s driving traffic to grocery stores. If grocery stores and supermarkets want to entice today’s shoppers with foodservice offerings from their prepared foods department, it’s essential to integrate the use of email, social media and mobile apps.
According to Technomic’s July 2017 U.S. Food Industry Universe Wallchart, supermarket foodservice is expected to grow 6.8% in 2018—for retailers who want to harness that growth and maximize participation, these four marketing strategies can help.
Targeted coupons and email marketing
Grocery stores looking to succeed in their foodservice offerings would do well to target emails and coupons toward shoppers who are more likely to shop or who already have shopped their prepared foods department. By utilizing consumer check out data or shopper information from their loyalty programs, supermarkets can identify their key audience as well as how best to market foodservice offerings to them based on their purchase history. For instance, shoppers who come in once a week on Friday nights to pick up a frozen pizza or a family meal from the deli may be a good target for meal bundle promotions or quick-serve offers.
Likewise, coupons highlighting limited-time offers, seasonal foods or other promotions can entice potential buyers to take the plunge.
Social media and mobile apps
Social media and mobile apps have reached ubiquity and as such, can be an effective way to boost traffic in the prepared foods department—especially for retailers that want to target younger consumers. Millennials are the most likely of all generations to post pictures of their food on social media, according to Technomic’s 2016 Generational report, so it’s important for social media to fit somewhere within a store’s foodservice marketing plan. Retailers can use this insight to promote engagement by encouraging shoppers to tag photos of their products or meal options with a custom hashtag, for instance, for a chance to win a prize (such as a coupon, a free meal, etc.). Given the above, retailers should leverage their social channels and mobile apps to increase frequency of visits by offering discounts, special offers or special menu items on certain days or by sending notifications about new deals or upcoming store events. This can trigger consumer desire to visit the store, even if they weren’t planning to.
As for what gets the most engagement on social media channels, a report from Interactions Marketing shows that 73% of consumers want to hear about discounts and promotions, 72% want to look for new products, 59% like to learn about in-store events, 39% want information about new trends and 59% want food recipes from grocery stores.
Foodservice visits and e-commerce
Younger consumers have grown up online—shopping online and ordering food online has been their norm. With that in mind, e-commerce can play a significant role within the foodservice at retail space as well. To cater to busy consumers looking to bypass lines, prepared foods departments should have an online presence that encompasses their offerings and is easy to use. The ability to order something in advance and pick it up on the way home—eliminating a lengthy wait at the counter—can be appealing to shoppers and beneficial for operators, as it presents retail foodservice as viable alternative to carry out from local restaurants.
Leading marketing strategies for prepared foods departments
Finally, it’s important to think of what works for prepared foods departments when it comes to marketing—many of these strategies are already in use by many stores, and can be adopted easily. Beaconing, also known as geo-targeted marketing, can be an ideal way to target impulse shoppers. When within a certain distance from the store, shoppers with the app are alerted to deals or special offers. This gives the prepared foods department an opportunity to grab attention even when the shopper isn’t necessarily thinking about stopping in.
Cross-promotion efforts are growing in supermarkets as well. For example, stores can leverage a promotion where prepared foods shoppers receive a deal on something from center of store or in another department, or vice versa. For example, if a consumer purchases a prepared entree, they could receive a discount on bagged salad, a box of flavored rice or a loaf of Italian bread in order to complete the meal.
Lastly, demographic targeting can be used online to target specific segments of the population (women, families, younger consumers, etc.) and promote popular food items to those specific demographic splits. Retailers have an opportunity to leverage shopper insights here by determining items or offers that different consumer groups find appealing and sending similar offers to those shoppers.
Whatever online marketing approach retailers choose, diversifying strategies to ensure current and prospective customers alike are engaged is crucial to successfully boosting foodservice sales.