Tag: strategy

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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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15 Worth-It Tips For Planning Your Next Sales Event


By Kim Laffer-Nick

Sales summits, sales conventions, innovation conferences – whatever the title, whichever the year, the goal is typically the same: motivate, inspire and train a sales force to be the best they can be for themselves and for their companies.

I recently had the opportunity to attend our company’s Sales Summit held at Madden’s Resort in Minnesota. It was my first event of this kind, and I was blown away by the sharing of ideas, camaraderie of the group, desire to learn, and the logistics of how the entire event came together.

The extraordinary planning and organization of the event (before, during and after) begs to be shared. Straight from our successful meeting, here is our checklist of tips to help create your company’s best next Sales Summit!

Before the Event:

1. Set Goals

ePromos’ goal was to leave the frontline of our company feeling inspired, confident, valued, and more ready than ever to engage with leads and close sales. We wanted to connect with each attendee personally to bring out his or her strengths and then to recognize those opportunities. When planning your event, think about what that means to you and your organization. What is the culture at your company? How will attendees respond to different approaches? Decide on a clear purpose.

2. Create a Theme

Think about the best way to engage your audience throughout the packed-tight schedule by choosing a theme and a tone that will resonate with them. At ePromos, the theme for this year’s event was baseball – taking your sales game to the next level and playing to WIN. The four disciplines incorporated into this theme were:

  • Out Think: Develop Your Grand Slam Strategy
  • Out Play: Commit to Your Plan
  • Out Hustle: Perform Like a MVP
  • Out Last: Take Your Game to a New Level
3. Set the Agenda & Share it Beforehand

Once a theme is set, tie each breakout session, presentation and training to that theme down to the littlest detail. For ePromos, that meant four breakout sessions – each led by a member of the management team – to talk through how to “Out Think,” “Out Play,” “Out Hustle,” and “Out Last.” Agendas were shared so attendees knew what to expect for the upcoming week and how to prepare. Leaders, don’t forget to  prepare ahead of time, and think about ways to motivate the team with your presentation. These six great tips for inspiring and influencing staff can help with that.

4. Assign Homework

Think about what you’ve set your goal to be and how you can get attendees into that mindset beforehand. Nick Kiefer, our VP of Sales, is a huge proponent of the book, The Accidental Salesperson by Chris Lytle because it talks about how to take control of your individual sales career and earn the respect and income you deserve, which was the perfect tie-in to our goal for the summit. A copy of the book was sent to each sales employee a month ahead of the conference. Attendees were expected to read the book in its entirety prior to their arrival and be able to speak to how the book personally connected to them.

5. Order Giveaways

Our marketing team did a great job working with our partners to promote the summit.

All attendees received gifts of branded goodies to enjoy during and after the event. For us, the swag bags included:

Sales Summit Swag Bag

Outdoor Signage for the sales summit

 

6. Create Outdoor and Indoor Signage & Displays

It’s always helpful (especially at a big event and/or in a large facility) to have signage to welcome attendees, direct them to different areas, and (of course) re-enforce the theme of the event. At the ePromos Sales Summit, there were four outdoor flags (one to tie in each discipline) and many indoor displays that were placed outside conference rooms or breakout sessions.

At the Event

7. Open with a Keynote Speaker

When planning a sales conference, opening the event with a credible speaker sets the tone for the week and gets attendees inspired to learn. Karim Ellis, a dynamic motivational speaker for 10 years, has spent time with companies such as Honda and General Electric. He focused his presentation on seven unique principles that allow high-performance players to put goals, dreams, hopes and agendas in checkmate during game time (again, tying into the theme of the event was key here). The presentation was a hit; Karim’s high energy filled the room with excited, eager-to-learn attendees.

8. Break the Ice

Allow everyone to get to know each other by playing games. Play Pictionary®, host karaoke or create Olympic teams for an epic scavenger hunt around the property. Give attendees the opportunity to let loose and have fun.

9. Focus on the Goals

Throughout each day and night as well as before and after each breakout session, recap key learnings and illustrate how they align with your company goals.  For ePromos, this meant encouraging attendees to engage in sessions by choosing Top MVPs at the end. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone! It meant tying in with the book, The Accidental Salesperson on how to take “your game” to a new level. Remember, a sales kickoff meeting success relies solely on the energy it exudes and the content it covers.

Joey, one of our partners from BIC® engages the group by playing games where attendees could win prizes.

10. Invite Your Partners

If attendees can learn from suppliers, dedicate time to bringing them in for some one-on-one conversations. Consider an afternoon of “speed dating” when groups can go from partner to partner. Inform the partners ahead of time of the theme of the event and encourage them to connect their participation to the theme as much as they can. At ePromos, the Sales Summit logo was sent to our partners, and many of them used it to showcase new and exciting products our team can offer to our clients in different and interesting ways.

11. Have Fun

Encouraging the group to get to know each other in a relaxed and agenda-free atmosphere (especially at night) should always be a priority at this type of event. Consider choosing a venue that offers everything on-campus or near the event so the group has a place to go and mingle that is hassle-free to get there. Madden’s was a great summer choice for ePromos because it was on a lake (which makes for outdoor barbecues, beautiful sunsets, and bonfires), had a bar on the property (which was used for karaoke the first night and frequented by many after hours), and had large dining halls and event spaces in close proximity to one another. Work hard by day; play hard by night!

ePromos team enjoying the sunset at Maddens Resort after a team-building scavenger hunt around the property.

ePromos team enjoying the sunset at Maddens Resort after a team-building scavenger hunt around the property.

 

12. Reward Top Influencers

Every event has those few special people who shine. Whether it’s because they participate in the most activities or lead the group to engage in interesting conversations, they help to create a positive learning environment for the duration of the week. Consider recognizing these stars and thanking them for their efforts by giving them a gift.

Nomi, ePromos Account Executive for 15 Years, Nick, ePromos VP of Sales

(L-R) Nomi, ePromos Account Executive for 15 Years, Nick, ePromos VP of Sales

After the Event

13. Recap the Event & Reinforce Concepts

Following up after the event is just as important as planning the event itself. Encourage the leader of the summit to send out a recap of key learnings shortly after the event has ended. Unfortunately, research has shown that more than 80% of the information reps take in during a sales meeting will be forgotten within weeks, if not days. Set up touch-base meetings with attendees individually to see how they are trending against their goals and using their new skills to do so.

14. Garner Feedback

When you put in a lot of time, effort and resources into creating an inspiring event, it is important to see how it was received. Take the time to create a survey to find out. Google Forms makes it really easy to set up survey questions and organize the answers. Use this feedback to help shape your event for next year!

15. Measure Results

Take the time to analyze the lift in sales that comes from attendees following the months post-event. Don’t forget to include the camaraderie built during this time. Being able to offer events like this plays a big part in company culture and the way your brand may be perceived. Capitalize on that by promoting your event on social media, and remind employees (or attendees of the event) what a success it was as well as to continue the spirit of learning and sharing throughout the year.

Now that you’ve read our checklist, do you need specific ideas on how to make your next event a hit using promotional items? Call us, the Promo Know-How people, and we’ll work together to make your next Sales Summit a great success!