In the challenging landscape that grocery retailers currently navigate, with soaring costs and supply chain disruptions, the cost-of-living crisis presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Amid these turbulent times, customers are increasingly relying on retailers to help them through economic hardships. The question is: How can retailers truly assist them beyond just slashing prices?
Of course, lower prices remain a significant factor, but it's imperative to look beyond price, especially when you consider the highlighted escalation in operational costs; there's a limit to how low prices can go. Retailers must explore alternative ways to deliver value to customers.
Enter loyalty and promotions, the dynamic duo that are proven to drive success. But it’s not that easy - simply implementing new loyalty and/or promotional programmes will not necessarily guarantee results. In fact, if executed poorly, you can add it to your growing list of costs with limited return on investment. On the contrary, if managed effectively, they can be critical to delivering competitive advantage and getting more bang for your buck.
The crux of a winning strategy lies in personalization. Retailers must strive to deliver experiences that resonate on a one-to-one level with each of their customers; that's where true value emerges for both the customer and the retailer - stop wasting money rewarding customers who would have bought it anyway! To accomplish personalization, there is only one place to start - gathering a rich source of customer data, something which is best harvested through an engaging loyalty programme. Now, hopefully, you can see why I referred to them as a dynamic duo – in isolation, they can be good, but when executed in tandem, that’s when you can see the real results. Basically, the more customers engage and transact, the more data and insights accrue, enabling retailers to better understand their audience and inform future personalized marketing activities which can be measured and optimized to continue to deliver the results that the retailer is looking for.
So, how can you encourage deeper customer engagement? There are many ways, but one is to devise schemes that excite your customers, aligning with your brand values to ensure they set you apart from the competition. This might involve incorporating an element of gamification into your programme to encourage daily visits to your app, or integrating partners to enable customers to earn and redeem value across an entire network of relevant businesses. A wide array of innovative strategies exist, but remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What resonates with one customer may not work for another – particularly true for grocers with such a diverse range of customers to cater for, so we suggest devising a mosaic of attraction to capture the interests of as broad a range of customers as possible.
One strategy gaining significant traction is member-only pricing, fusing the three elements discussed in this blog: loyalty, promotions, and price. Retailers are deploying this approach to encourage customers to scan their loyalty cards at the point of sale, facilitating the increased capture of basket data. For customers, it's a no-brainer; retailers do a pretty good job at trying to ensure that at least one item in every basket is member-priced, enticing customers with instant savings in exchange for a simple swipe.
Another way to maximize customer engagement and data collection is by ensuring you operate an omnichannel strategy, which means delivering a seamless and consistent customer experience across all physical and digital channels and touchpoints. Omnichannel marketing opens the door to deep, real-time customer insights. By tracking customer interactions across multiple channels, you gain a holistic understanding of how customers engage with your brand, their preferences, and the factors influencing their purchase decisions. When leveraging these live insights, it becomes achievable to deliver the right message/offer, to the right customer, through the right channel, at the right time – increasing the likelihood of influencing the behavior you seek.
There has never been a more opportune time for retailers to invest in their loyalty programmes and promotions, not only to aid their customers during trying times but also to evolve their customer engagement strategy and cultivate the loyalty of their customer base. Amid adversity, astute retailers can emerge as loyalty and promotions experts, providing a helping hand while strengthening customer relationships and overall sales.
With years of Product Marketing experience in the loyalty space, he stands not only as a passionate advocate for the field but as a dedicated expert, guiding retailers to master the intricate art of 1-2-1 marketing. He brings to the table not only a profound understanding of the challenges but also a comprehensive grasp of the requisite technology needed to overcome these obstacles, as well as the transformative benefits awaiting those who get it right.
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