Turn food fanatics into trip influencers

March 04, 2011

Food fanatics can become a store's best ambassadors. Court them to earn extra local buzz.

Plenty of supermarkets have food fanatics in their shopper base. Alert store managers can spot them pretty easily. Their purchase patterns give them away. So do the departments they frequent and the experts (butchers, seafood mavens, deli chefs, sommeliers) they ask for advice.

Food fanatics leave a map of their interests on the selling floor. This tells retailers a lot about foods that excite them. The Lempert Report urges the use of these insights to create special experiences and custom offers which distinguish stores and build loyalty – along with trip frequency, transaction size, and word-of-mouth buzz.

Think one-to-one marketing to food fanatics, whose desire to eat specific items can drive full-margin sales. What should a full-scale blitz to court them include? How about:

  • Engaging them on Facebook and Twitter with discussions about some of their favorite foods, including novel ways to prepare and serve.
  • Special tastings of new products that go well with some items they buy - so they can be among the first to talk about them.
  • Custom coupons with deep savings on favorite items or accompaniments to these items.
  • A special ‘food fanatic’ tier on the loyalty card, which can earn them special instant savings sometimes or the privilege of an open, speedy check lane just for them.
  • Contests to win meals and meet-and-greets with celebrity chefs at their restaurants.

Food fanatics like to be thought of as food leaders. Ideas like these could get them talking, blogging and telling the world about their special fondness for a supermarket that plays to their food passions.

Now think of all the narrower kinds of food fanatics populating stores today. Dessert fanatics. Chocolate fanatics. Organics fanatics.  Cheese fanatics. Dig deep for their motives and purchase drivers, and begin on a 10-step approach to court each of them and benefit from their leadership.