Food, Drink & Restaurant Promos

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10 Winning Strategies for Promoting Your Grocery Store


Grocery stores are a staple in any town – a traditional operation that most folks rely on for food and household items, whether a quick midweek pick-up or mega haul for the whole family. But the times, they are a’changing.

Technology has wedged itself into nearly every corner of business, and grocery stores aren’t excluded. It is essential to have a strong marketing strategy in place to promote your store against mounting competition, both locally and online. There are big shifts happening in the market (hello, Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition).

Below, we discuss 10 winning strategies to market your grocery store. These ideas can be applied to any store, whether you are part of a large chain, an independent, local market or a niche, small grocer. As many groceries have seen firsthand, the market competition is stiff, and it’s easy to lose numbers – quickly.

Before Choosing a Promotional Strategy

When devising a marketing strategy for your store, it’s important to define your KPIs:

  • What’s your current baseline?
  • What kind of growth are you looking to get out of your strategy – i.e. how do you define success?
  • What are your goals centered around—revenue? Transactions? Foot traffic? Brand awareness?

Devise a strategy. Make a planLaying out these foundational pieces before launching new promotions will allow you to track growth and assess what’s working and what isn’t. Successful marketing strategies take time and money: two items no business wants to waste.

So you need a plan – where to begin? First, ask yourself what are the best marketing channels to reach your potential consumer? These questions will vary depending on your location, size, and target audience. For instance, a rural grocery store will likely choose a different path or tactics than an urban one. After all, both are likely aiming for the same goals!

Your plan should include long- and short-term strategies. For instance, you may quickly pull folks in with an amazing sale or deal on some popular products, but once the frenzy is over, will they stay?

Maybe, if you can also work in a longer-term plan, like creating a budding loyalty program that entices shoppers.

Marketing Strategies & Promotional Ideas for Grocery Stores

With all that in mind, we give you our 10 favorite ideas for marketing strategies and promotions, which can address a number of short and long-term goals:

Strategy #1: Social Media Outreach

Your customers are online a lot. Are you? If you are, what message are you sending your customers? AKA, are you… boring? Straightforward? Online but not engaged? Check out these major fast food brands, for instance, who are making a splash on social media. They’re witty, funny, engaging with customers, and staying relevant.

Social media posts might not seem like a big deal, but these small, daily reminders of in-store offerings are a great way to influence customers. As a grocery store, social media is a simple, cost-effective way to advertise what’s going on in your store – special deals, holiday hours, events – or even highlight staff to make customers feel like a part of your shop’s community.

Strategy #2: Get Local

Plastic straws are being banned around the U.S. Farmers markets are popping up in cities and small towns alike. This push towards sustainable, eco-friendly living is making its way into more and more households every day. As a grocery store, you can join the movement by offering local foods in stores, from fruits and veggies, to eggs, meats and cheeses –anything really that fits in your “local” parameter.

Utilize social media to spotlight these local offerings. For instance, is it blueberry season and you’ve just brought out perfectly plump, juicy pints of ‘em? Let your customers know!

Laminated-grocery-toteStrategy #3: Branded, Reusable Shopping Bags

In line with the sustainable movement, offering branded, reusable shopping bags is a must. More folks are ditching paper and plastic bags in favor of these eco-friendly options. Not only does this help the environment, but it helps to get eyes on your business logo when shoppers use their tote in other places around town. Don’t forget – the more bags are used, the less money you spend on plastic or brown bags.

Keep your grocery bags at check-out lanes where customers can easily see and buy them. You may also consider adding an incentive for folks using them, like these stores are already doing.

Strategy #4: Offer Tastings

Are tastings samples? Essentially, yes. But we aren’t talking about the generic table set-up where a disinterested employee hawks cheese cubes between texting. Make these offerings feel more like an event. Create an attractive set-up. Make sure your employee is friendly, engaged, and put together (fresh uniform, no stains, ironed, etc.).

Host tastings them at the same times each week, or at the same time of the day, so that customers can plan their shopping trip around them. Have a fun theme and offer a greater variety of items than just one jar of salsa or type of cracker. Promote the events on your social media accounts to help get the word out, too. People love free stuff, even if it’s just a few bites of food – and will likely pick up the milk and cereal they just ran out of while they’re there to sample, too.

cooking demo with kidsStrategy #5: In-store Events

Tastings are a great way to introduce new products to customers, but how about revving up that spirit with an actual event? Maybe a cooking demo, “kiddie kitchen,” or a grouping of samples that coincide with an upcoming holiday or cultural event. Drawing folks into your store will mean you’ll not only improve foot traffic but capture unexpected/unintended sales from customers.

If you don’t have a lot of space in-store, try partnering with a local event space! You’ll get double the exposure in promotions and have the chance to align your business with another to help communicate your business’ vibe and values outside of the traditional storefront.

Strategy #6: Offer In-store Fruit and Beverages

Let’s face it, grocery shopping can feel like a chore. Don’t be offended – we’re all super busy these days!

Counter this by creating an atmosphere folks want to be in. Besides the obvious (clean, organized, with friendly and helpful employees), consider wowing your customers with a little treat. There’s already a bunch of stores doing the fruit thing, which, frankly, is pretty great for parents. And stores like Target and Whole Foods allow customers to buy their own meal or snack.

How about a small cup of tea or coffee for adults? The beverage will slow them down, allowing them more time to scan the aisles – which translates to buying more items.

Strategy #7: Offer Delivery

Sorry to bring this up again, but grocery shopping can be a nuisance many, especially in an age when people can buy groceries and everything else online. You and your staff must address the question: why not groceries? What will entice customers to continue to visit your store when they can find the same products on Amazon?

So many stores are already offering delivery as an option. Are you? If not, why? You can offer customers a great convenience – one they’ll gladly pay for, too. Whether you offer this service yourself or link up with a company like Instacart, your customers will appreciate having the option. Just make sure you promote it!

Strategy #8: Create a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a fantastic way to earn repeat customers who will remain loyal to your store despite surrounding competition. You can forge relationships with these folks by offering an undeniably great loyalty program.

What will yours offer? The basic perks include exclusive, coupons, and even swag like that branded reusable grocery bag we mentioned. Maybe they save 10% on every purchase, receive a free food item each month or receive some other perk for referrals.

Everyone must buy groceries. Adding little bonuses for those who regularly shop at your store is a great way to bring folks in and keep them there.

Strategy #9: Build an Email List

Getting the chance to speak and engage with your customers outside of the store is a huge company win. This can be accomplished with social media, as mentioned above, but also on a more intimate scale using an email list.

It’s a great way to share social media-esque items in longer form (but not too long). You can email out recipes, cooking tips, highlight popular vendors you sell (including local farms!), list your weekly specials, and of course, offer coupons.

Email is a great way to replace the traditional weekly newspaper inserts, which most don’t receive anymore.

Strategy #10: Digitize Coupons

People still love deals, even if they’re no longer scouring newspaper inserts to clip coupons. Instead, digitize your coupons so they can be found and retrieved with a simple finger swipe on a smartphone. Having a few coupons to use just may make the difference between whether they pick up their groceries at your store or the one across town.

From joining healthy movements, like farm fresh food and reusable bags, to marrying your brick and mortar with technology via social media and email, the field is ripe for innovative strategies to promote your grocery store. We hope these marketing tips have got your wheels turning – and soon enough, customers flowing in the door!


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Here’s What They’ll Love! Custom Chocolate Boxes with Sea Salt Caramels


Are you looking for a delectable way to show your appreciation? Give the gift of irresistible sea-salted caramels covered in creamy milk or lusciously dark chocolate. At ePromos, each package of Sea Salt Chocolate Covered Caramels includes 32 delectable pieces. Delivered in a box with your custom imprinting, this is a gift that recipients won’t forget.

The goal of any marketing campaign is to reach your target audience. You want them to know of your brand and to associate your company with things they like. Finding what your customers like isn’t always easy, but everyone loves candy! Delight your audience with buttery-smooth caramel coated in rich chocolate, topped off with just a hint of sea salt. The result is a treat that your clients, employees and family members will never forget.

Satisfy your clients’ sweet tooth with a custom box of chocolate filled with 32 delicious morsels. Each piece of velvety smooth caramel and chocolate is a mini indulgence. Perfect for the holidays, our 32ct box makes a great gift idea year round! Order them for Valentine’s day, to celebrate employee milestones, or as corporate awards. We guarantee anyone who gets one of our delicious custom boxes will love you for it. These candies are a delicious way to memorialize any occasion.

Chocolate is a wonderful way to say “hello” to new clients or introduce your brand to new prospects. It’s also a welcome gift for your existing clients to thank them for a successful year. Make any day on the calendar and any relationship better with chocolate.

Here’s another idea: add some luxury to your next event with chocolate covered sea salt caramels! From corporate banquets to office parties, these custom morsels are sure to be a hit. Grab attention with our colorful custom packaging, and leave a lasting, tasty impression.

We let you customize the package, choosing a ribbon and imprinting it with your logo, company name, or slogan. Our brand consultants will make your chosen design look elegant on the band you choose. Set against a sophisticated red foil box, the result is a presentation that’s sure to leave an impression.

The imprint area on the band is 4″ x 2.5″, so there is plenty of room to showcase your logo. The entire gorgeous box is 11.25” square and 1.75” in height. Our gourmet caramels are Kosher Certified and can last for up to a year when properly stored.

If you want to hand out chocolates at a trade event or party, check out our smaller 4-piece box. You get the same delicious chocolates in a custom-logo box that’s built for travel.

Give your brand a decadent boost that’s sure to impress. Chocolates are a sweet way to remind your clients that you’re a great company to work with.


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Using Promotional Products For Marketing Your Food Truck


food truck marketing ideas

Traveling kitchens, mobile canteens, grease trucks – whatever your city calls them, nothing is hotter right now in the catering business than food trucks. East to West Coast, Americans are loving getting their lunches via the quick and easily accessible truck right outside their office.

Food trucks are no longer that greasy, roach coach you pass by and wonder what type of meat they are actually serving in their sandwiches. Now, in 2014, food trucks are changing to attract new, loyal customers.

In 2011, a law passed that allowed food trucks to apply for liquor licenses. This became a huge step in the evolution of food truck dining and opened yet another door for economic growth in the food truck business.

If your food truck is serving alcohol, a great customer giveaway is a key chain bottle opener. These custom key chains can be printed with your logo or personal message for the local community to carry with them at all times. No matter where a person is going, they will need their keys, meaning your food truck advertisement will be going with them.

Whether your food truck specializes in Philly cheesesteaks, macaroons, or grits, no one will even know that unless you promote your business correctly. A recent poll stated that 23% of people surveyed follow a food truck in their area on social media. Twitter is the easiest way for you to connect with your community customers. So, if your truck is does not have an account, create one now! Then, hand out promotional products to let people know about it.

It takes a few months to build up a truly successful account so pass out promotional stickers to all your customers to help gain exposure. Print your logo on them with your Twitter address located on the bottom. These stickers can be put anywhere from cars to laptops on college campuses, giving your traveling truck maximum exposure.

You can even have Twitter contests. Use hashtags to get your business trending, give discounts to new followers or customers that share a picture of their lunch. Have fun with it! The more you enjoy promoting your business, the more enthusiastic the public will be to join in.

I’m sure food trucks remind some people of that bland hot dog cart on the sidewalk corner but, many food trucks today specialize in gourmet foods that make your mouth water by just reading the menu. Just take a look at the top 10 food trucks in New York City. They’re serving up all kinds of mouthwatering fare. Date-lime banana smoothies. Pickled mango chutney. Spicy feta dip. This is all great stuff that should be promoted.

When you’ve picked the perfect spot for the day, tweeted your followers your location, and prepped the food, the last thing to do is put your promotional pop-up poster board outside presenting the day’s menu and open for business.

Food is something that brings strangers together. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, people will connect over a great bite to eat and a fun environment. Always have music playing that will attract customers and make sure to never work without a smile. Create an atmosphere around the truck that gets people excited to come back, not only for your amazing creations, but for the unique service.


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Coffee Promotional Products That Will Perk Up Any Coffee Lover


If you want to hear about coffee promotional products, you’re in the right spot. But first, a quick back story.

Fourteen years ago this month (June), I married my best friend. I won’t bore you this time with the romantic tale, but I will tell you I tried to be the super wife in the beginning.

I would get up with my hubby at 4:45 every morning, fix a full breakfast, and make his lunch. I thought I was doing so well until after a few weeks in, he lovingly turned to me and said, “It might be best for our marriage if you stayed in bed.”

I pressed, “Is it my cooking?”

It wasn’t. (It’s awesome. Just ask our Minnesota crew.) I wasn’t a morning person then, and after 14 years, I’m still not.

graphic 1

Of course there are several solutions to the chronic anti-morning person, but none bigger than the $100 billion commodity coffee industry (second only to oil).

Oh coffee, that sweet nectar that brings me to life every morning.

Believe it or not, I am the only coffee drinker in the house. (My husband doesn’t eat chocolate either … the things you find out after you are married!) But my husband knows me well. He gave me one of my favorite anniversary presents a few years ago – a Keurig machine. (Yes, ladies, he’s a keeper.)

graphic 2

So what does all of this have to do with ePromos and promotional products? Well, with coffee being the second largest commodity market, there is a major opportunity to be in front of your customers.

One way to do this (that’s very near and dear to my heart) is the Tervis Tumbler. These great mugs can be decorated in so many creative ways, and they bring co-branding to a whole new level.

Since I am a Keurig fanatic, I’d like to introduce you to some of our newest products: the custom K-Cup and the K-Cup case.

custom Keurig cups

Your options are endless when it comes to marketing to coffee drinkers such as me. Disposable cups, coffee sleeves, endless mug choices and more.

What coffee item can you not live without? Share on ePromos’ Facebook page.

 

 

 


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Great Moscow Mule Recipe (And Where To Buy Those Copper Mugs!)


Moscow mule copper mug

It’s been said that the mug makes the mule. If you’re mixing up Moscow mules, there’s nothing like promotional copper mugs to keep the drink ice cold – and your logo front and center.

If you haven’t noticed, the Moscow mule is the cocktail du jour. It’s a snappy blend of vodka, ginger beer, and lime, and it’s always served in a copper mug. In fact, it’s that telltale mug that makes the drink so easy to spot.

Dale DeGroff, a master mixologist and one of the most revered cocktail historians around, has said that the drink was first served in a copper mug engraved with two mules kicking up their heels.

But why copper? The general consensus is that a copper mug keeps the cocktail much colder than a normal glass. If you’ve ever had a Moscow mule in anything other than a copper mug, you can likely confirm this.

A Look Back

The story behind the Moscow mule is an interesting one. In the 1940s, two distributors – one selling ginger beer and the other selling Smirnoff vodka – found themselves in a pinch. No one was buying their products. At the time, people much preferred gin and whiskey.

So the distributors, in what turned out to be a genius move, experimented with combining the vodka and ginger beer. They added some lime, and voila – the first Moscow mule was created.

While this is the classic version, there are many ways to mix up a Moscow mule. Some people like to add crushed mint first; others like to top it off with freshly grated ginger. And still others like to add a few drops of Angostura bitters to give the cocktail some color and aroma while not altering the flavor.

And then there’s the vodka. Smirnoff is the brand behind the drink, but Moscow mules can be enjoyed with any kind of vodka: Russian Standard, Grey Goose, Svedka, Square One, or Stoli are some great options to try.

You can also swap out the ginger beer for ginger ale (just spice it up with a little cardamom), or even rum for a totally different twist on the cocktail – it’s called a Dark and Stormy. If you like your drinks sweet, this is the way to go.

If you substitute the vodka for bourbon, it’s called a Kentucky mule. Opt for gin instead of vodka, and you have a Gin mule. It just depends what spirit you’re in the mood for.

Moscow mule printed copper mug

The Role Of The Mug

Back to the history behind the buzz. The tale goes that a third partner joined in. Needing to offload a surplus of copper mugs that wouldn’t sell, the trio brought their concoction and mugs to bartenders far and wide.

The cocktail and mugs were a hit, and the rest is history. The Moscow mule is credited with reviving the vodka industry in the U.S., tripling the sales of vodka in the 1950s.

Fast forward a few decades, and the simple, sweet cocktail has once again gone mainstream – and real connoisseurs know that it has to be served in a copper mug. A Collins glass (or any other glass) just won’t do. The mug, does, in fact, make the mule. The copper keeps it perfectly chilled, making it a must for this particular drink.

Clamoring For Copper

As the drink continues to surge in popularity once again, copper mugs have become a hot commodity at bars and restaurants. People can’t get enough of the copper mugs, and they’re starting to swipe them from right under bartenders’ noses.

Retailers can’t keep up with demand. At places like Crate & Barrel and Sur La Table, copper mugs are flying off shelves, and the stores have to scramble to keep them in stock.

So, what does this mean for marketers? Now’s the time to customize copper mugs for your brand.

There’s no better drinkware of the moment than promotional copper mugs. They’re trendy, people want them, and they’re a fantastic opportunity to put your logo in the limelight. Here are a few ways your company can use them:

Commemorative items

Copper mugs aren’t just incredibly popular this summer – they’re also incredibly versatile. They make great take-home items to memorialize any event, whether you’re hosting an awards night or a company picnic. Every time recipients reach for the mug at home, they’ll be reminded of the fun times they enjoyed at your event.

Corporate meetings and incentive trips

Are you getting the staff together for a big meeting this summer? What about treating team members to an incentive trip? Use copper mugs to celebrate the occasion. They’ll help employees bond (booze brings everyone together!), and when staffers are back home, the mugs serve as a fun souvenir of the trip.

Gift-with-purchase promotions

If you own a restaurant or bar, copper mugs are a golden gift-with-purchase opportunity. Free stuff makes people want to buy. Offer customers a free Moscow mule when they buy the mug.

Customer service

You might be wondering how copper mugs can help you kick up your customer service, but they can. We recently came across a great customer service story on Hotwire. A reviewer mentioned that he tried to purchase copper mugs at the Four Seasons Las Vegas PRESS bar, and “all of a sudden,” they appeared in his room. Kudos to the Four Seasons for using these mugs to make the guest’s stay unforgettable.

No matter how you use them, coveted, on-trend products are great ingredients for an effective promotion to build your brand. If you want more ideas on developing a promotion using copper Moscow mule mugs, one of our Brand Consultants would be happy to help.

Click here for the best printed copper mug, and check out the recipe below to concoct your own Moscow mule.

Recipe: Moscow Mule Cocktail

3 oz. ginger beer
1 ½ oz. vodka
Fresh lime juice from half a lime

Fill your copper mug with crushed ice and pour the vodka over top. Give it a good squeeze of lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with lime slice or fresh mint.

Since this article was published in 2014, there has been a ton of buzz around Moscow mules. Do you think they’ve made even more of a comeback? Are you a fan? Let us know in the comments!


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A Promotional Product That Takes The Cake



Here’s a promotional product that’s perfectly on-brand – The Ritz-Carlton’s new signature cake. Just like the brand itself, The Cake (as it’s so aptly called), is decadent and rich. Laced with hints of sweet citrus, if The Ritz-Carlton had a flavor, this would be it.

We’ve talked about why your brand should have a smell, but what about a taste?

For The Ritz-Carlton, taste is a natural brand extension. Guests’ senses are stimulated on every level – design, scent, lighting, music. When guests step foot in a Ritz-Carlton, it’s a distinct experience. People know what to expect from the Ritz-Carlton brand.

That’s why we love its newest promotional product. The Cake is right in line with the brand. It’s not a quick snack – it’s a flavorful dessert that’s meant to be savored and that was created to celebrate the brand’s heritage. It’s even topped with the iconic Ritz-Carlton lion logo.

So, how does a brand go about developing a signature dessert – or any kind of signature flavor? By looking to those who know the brand best: staff members.

The Ritz-Carlton’s Corporate Chef, Rainer Zinngrebe, called upon his pastry chefs from around the world to develop a recipe that’s undeniably true to the Ritz-Carlton brand. What he got was a chocolate-orange cake that has become the signature confection for the brand.

It doesn’t stop at The Cake itself – the packaging is so impressive that it won a design award. “I wanted something representative of the brand, as recognizable as a Tiffany box, so people would say, ‘I know that box,’” Zinngrebe said in a Conde Nast Traveler article.

The sleek, dark box opens completely so guests can serve the dessert right in its case and close it up if there are any leftovers. A satin ribbon handle is an elegant finishing touch – so Ritz-Carlton.

Promotional food gifts are always smart when you want to appeal to your customers’ senses in new ways. We love how Ritz-Carlton has taken it to the next level by developing a unique confection that’s beautifully and delectably on-brand.

If you could create a flavor for your brand or develop a signature food gift, what would it be?

promotional  box

custom food gift

promo food gift

custom box