The recent upticks in grocery sales here in the UK after Murray’s Wimbledon win and the start of barbeque season have me thinking about how digital practices might help grocers capture more market share. Grocers may not be your first thought when thinking of innovative digital practices and campaigns. Yet in the UK, many of the big grocers are executing creative digital campaigns and implementing omnichannel practices that rival any other industry in inventiveness. Here are a few activities from grocers in the UK to engage shoppers that grocers worldwide can emulate.
Flexible pick-up and delivery options feed omnichannel needs
Waitrose has introduced automated temperature controlled collection lockers so customers can order their groceries online and pick them up at a convenient locker location. You don’t have to go in store to pick up your online orders! The process is simple: Order your groceries online, receive a text message with the nearest locker location and a pin number, go to the location and enter the pin on a touchscreen keypad, and collect your order. Waitrose also allows the option for shoppers inside the actual supermarket to have their purchases delivered to their homes.
Similar to Amazon Locker, the practice takes the online shopping process completely omnichannel. Consumers needn’t spend time in a crowded store, can find exactly what they’re looking for with the convenience of shopping online, and still get their order in near real-time rather than waiting for delivery. Expect this practice to expand beyond grocers to other retailers as well.
And imagine a similar service not tied to one retailer, but selecting the best-priced items from all over and bringing them together into one locker. New sites like mySupermarket.com compare the prices of a variety of different online grocers, so the consumer can find the best deals. If these price comparison sites delivered from various grocers to one pick-up location, imagine the disruption to traditional grocery buying.
Loyalty cards linked to feedback and rewards help tracking
Tesco has relaunched its Clubcard website in hopes of creating a more sophisticated digital presence. One of the main features of the new site is its programs to reward customer loyalty. Clubcard users’ purchases and activity are tracked, leading to rewards on certain items. Visitors to the website will be able to rate and review Clubcard rewards — a feature the brand is hoping will encourage members to try something new and make the most of what Clubcard has to offer.
It’s not the first time a brand has linked reviews to its customer loyalty program. Step2 saw great success with reviews through their own rewards efforts. But it’s interesting to see how Tesco is allowing customers to review the rewards themselves — feedback that will help Tesco offer more satisfying rewards in the future, attracting more customers to the Clubcard program.
Sainsburys uses loyalty brand Nectar’s mobile app to track spending and dish out rewards. Consumers can collect points by shopping at Sainsburys, and eventually receive benefits like discounts on future orders. One of the most convenient features of the app is paperless coupons that are automatically applied to the purchase the next time they use their Nectar membership when shopping.
Be sure to link your rewards program to any activities you want to encourage, not just buying. Offer shoppers rewards for things like checking in to your store, giving feedback, sharing their favorite products on social media, and more.
Nimble ads change creative to increase relevancy
Grocer Asda’s new digital ad campaign, created for its George clothing range, features banner ads that change along with the weather. Asda representatives say they are hoping to “weather proof” summer with flexible advertising activity and product ranges. So, on hotter days, ads will show summer essentials, and when it gets cooler the focus will be on long sleeves, waterproofs, and Wellington boots.
Selling clothing based on the weather is an elementary step, but imagine getting much more sophisticated and real-time. Expect to see grocers (and all retailers) changing their ad creative in real time based on all types of data streams — what’s selling best, what inventory needs to move, what’s rated highest, and more. Going real-time with ads is just one step closer to the extreme relevance consumers are beginning to crave.
The digital trends in grocery retail are merely echoes of the larger trends present in every retail segment. Consumers are going omnichannel and social, they’re expecting more perks for their loyalty, and they’re using the web to find the best deals. Grocers, just like all retailers, have to cater to their changing behavior.