A new age of marketing for food stores?

Supermarkets aiming to reassert trip dominance should shout out their customer-centricity.

December 26, 2012

Could supermarkets recapture trips from other channels if their marketing were more effective? If they took credit for all they do right today to feed the nation efficiently—and for their pioneering work over eight decades to fit food neatly and safely into people’s lives?

The Lempert Report thinks supermarkets should push back more strongly against supercenters, clubs and other formats to restore some of the 15 share points it lost over the past 11 years. Sharper marketing is the key. What do we mean exactly?

First, our own current nationwide research findings reveal 10 factors that influence a consumer’s choice of a primary supermarket before low prices come into play. Our presentation at The National Grocers Association Show in February will tell more—for now the point is supermarkets have many positive aspects they could leverage without touching price.

Second, supermarkets talk a lot about customer-centricity—but actions speak louder than words. They need to structure and prioritize in order to make this concept come alive—with stores that customers want rather than designs dictated by operations; with cross-merchandising that eases meal assembly, despite internal turf wars; with crisp execution of category management; with smart audience segmenting, nutritional guidance, conveniences and messaging that consistently reinforce how adaptable the supermarkets are to fast-changing customer lifestyles.  

Indeed, a new study by RSR Research identifies the top marketing business challenges for retailers—and indicates a challenging road ahead. The RSR report, Marketing in Retail: Making the Case for the CMO, pegs the top three challenges as:

  • Customer retention has become more difficult and building customer loyalty is challenging (cited by 51% of retail respondents)
  • The uncertain economy constrains our marketing budget (47%)
  • Customer segments are fragmenting, making it harder to reach our consumers (41%)

See The Lempert Report issue on Monday, Dec. 31 for Part Two of this coverage, which includes more of the RSR study analyzing the opportunities, business drivers and organizational constraints surrounding retail-marketing strategies.

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