Getting Personal with Grocery Store Shoppers

Posted by David Buckingham, CEO

The grocery store. What started out at the beginning of the twentieth century as a small shop selling only dry goods, has transformed itself into a formidable industry consisting mostly of large chains and one of the most competitive retail sectors. Today, of course, the future and pace of the grocery store changes almost daily.

For grocery retailers, meeting the needs of customers has always been a high priority. While the intent of this has not changed over time, the execution certainly has! Shoppers not only rely on their favourite grocery retailer to always stock their preferred items in the store every time, but they also expect grocers to offer weekly offers and promotions. But, going a step further, because of increasing customer expectations, shoppers now expect grocers to understand them and their preferences, and as a result, offer more personalised rewards and offers on the items that are most relevant to them.

Traditional Reward Programmes Are Out, Personalised Offers Are In

But, many grocers are not taking the extra steps to adapt to this change in shopper behaviour and the repercussions are clear – without more personalised rewards, shopper loyalty is completely up for grabs. In fact, a recent TCC Global shopper study indicated that one in six shoppers have switched their main supermarket over the past 12 months, and 39% of shoppers say it wouldn’t matter to them if their usual grocery store closed. The report also indicated that the larger grocery players are losing business to discount stores, often forsaking convenience for lower prices.

But the most distressing take-away from the report is the lack of true personalised and relevant reward programmes in the grocery industry. The general feedback from shoppers was that traditional loyalty schemes have simply lost their impact. What shoppers really want is for their favourite grocery to know who they are and give them offers based on their wants and needs.

At Ecrebo, we believe that getting more personal with shoppers encourages more authentic and profitable brand engagement. It’s easy to blast out blanket promotions and offers, but in doing so, grocery retailers run the risk of that offer being tossed aside by a frustrated customer who feels like just a number, someone whose real needs and preferences don’t matter. High-value shoppers are much more willing to give their loyalty if they are on the receiving end of targeted rewards based on their shopping history or basket contents.

The other issue grocery retailers must contend with is consumer confidence amidst an uncertain economic climate. Ongoing global changes could make even the most loyal customers reconsider where to spend their grocery budget. Winning grocers will be those who offer ways for their customers to stick to their budgets, not only by offering low prices, but also with a strong focus on personalised offers and rewards on their favourite products.  

Wanted: A Grocery Retailer Who Really Gets Me

While the face of the brick and mortar grocery store may be encouraging new shopping habits, the notion of basic, one-to-one personalisation is still very much the same. Grocery retailers should never lose sight of that, especially as competition in the industry continues to heat up.

With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, this is unlikely to be the last we will hear of the retailer expanding its reach further into the grocery realm – not to mention the increased competition from discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl. It’s more important than ever to secure your customers’ loyalty through personalised, relevant in-store offers that can generate additional sales. Your customers expect it – and now is the time to deliver it. Retailers that embrace personal, digital engagement are the ones that will compete and win in the new era of grocery retailing.