Shoppers on heels, retailers help them shop smarter

Articles
October 15, 2008

Shoppers on heels, retailers help them shop smarter

It’s not nearly Christmas yet, but it’s giveback time for retailers—and not a moment too soon for shoppers seeking economic relief. Though chains have dazed shoppers with successive price increases this year due to higher product and transportation costs, many have launched savings and educational programs to help ease their customers’ pain. Supermarkets, the beneficiaries of the restaurant sales decline and the top resource for meal-making at home, are helping people shop smarter and accrue savings from their continued shopping for household essentials. Naturally, the stores hope for a greater share of those baskets, they gain traffic when they host events, and for every convert they create when they suggest purchases of private label over national brands, their margin percentages tick upward.

It’s not nearly Christmas yet, but it’s giveback time for retailers—and not a moment too soon for shoppers seeking economic relief.
 
Though chains have dazed shoppers with successive price increases this year due to higher product and transportation costs, many have launched savings and educational programs to help ease their customers’ pain.
 
Supermarkets, the beneficiaries of the restaurant sales decline and the top resource for meal-making at home, are helping people shop smarter and accrue savings from their continued shopping for household essentials. Naturally, the stores hope for a greater share of those baskets, they gain traffic when they host events, and for every convert they create when they suggest purchases of private label over national brands, their margin percentages tick upward.
 
That aside, supermarkets have reached deep and come up big to help beat back the effects of the recession on the dinner table spread.
 
Food Lion has come up with Dinner For Under $10 for a family of four, with pre-assembled meal components on display together, and featured on the company website and in e-mails. H-E-B similarly suggests seven different meal ideas for four at under $10.
 
Ukrop’s Super Markets continues its fuelperks! program, which it began this summer, rewarding shoppers with a 10 cents per gallon discount on gasoline for every $50 purchase in the supermarket.
 
Stop & Shop has run affordable food summits throughout its trading area, a series of high-profile events with local politicians, consumer advisers and lots of discourse on savings strategies for chief household shoppers.
 
Kroger has found a way to link coupons with inexpensive meal ideas through an association with AOL’s shortcuts.com.
 
The Web transparency of programs like these allows shoppers to plan store trips with better information that could help them save. While often done on computers, the tenor today is still remindful of earlier tough times when people were proud to say they saved and were motivated to learn ways to do so. Supermarkets that step up will likely be remembered for their outreach when it was most needed.