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8 effective grocery store marketing strategies

Grocery store margins are tight, especially for smaller grocers competing with huge national chains. You probably can’t drop your prices without sacrificing profitability, so you need to find other ways to appeal to customers and bring in business. To convince customers that your grocery store is the best option for buying the items they need—plus all those items they may not need but still want—you’ll want to invest in grocery store marketing.

Grocery store marketing strategies to attract customers

Marketing for grocery stores can take many forms based on your particular business model and goals, but some tactics are useful for grocery stores across the board. Below are some of the best grocery store marketing strategies you can use to attract customers and increase sales.

1. Invest in your website

As customers increase their online shopping, stores would be smart to increase their online grocery marketing presence. When looking for stores to order from or visit in person, your website is often the first place customers will turn to. At the very least, your website should include basic information, such as your location, hours of operation, and departments customers can expect to browse. Depending on your website’s capabilities, you might consider promoting weekly product discounts available to shoppers. This is also important digital real estate for sharing other places where customers can order from you, such as third-party delivery platforms where your business is listed.

2. Enable online ordering

Customers are now used to having the option of curbside pickup and delivery to satisfy their grocery needs. Your website can play an important role in meeting this demand if it’s set up to support online ordering. Even if you don’t have the staff or budget to build e-commerce capabilities on your own website, you can enable online ordering for your customers in other ways. By partnering with a third-party delivery platform, for example, you can share a digital version of your catalog and connect with drivers who can assist with order fulfillment. And many third-party delivery platforms now offer features such as replacement recommendations and items priced by weight to mimic the in-person shopping experience for customers. Whether you use your own channels or a third party’s, allowing customers to place orders with you wherever and however they please is a powerful way to stand out.

3. Design the checkout process for conversion

If you do add online ordering to your website (or if you already have), you want to think strategically about the checkout process. People expect convenience online, and making it easy for them to place their order increases the chances they’ll do so. E-commerce software generally lets customers create an account, which makes future purchases that much easier for them. Customers can securely save their credit card information so they don’t have to go looking for their card each time they place an order. And some e-commerce products—including third-party delivery platforms—provide recommendations to customers based on past orders, or let them reorder certain items with a simple click. Automated recommendations can help customers avoid forgetting something they need and lead to an increase in average order size. That benefits you and the customer.

You can do a version of this in-store as well. It’s an old grocery store tactic to put items people are most likely to buy on impulse right next to checkout. Someone waiting in line will see a candy bar that looks tasty, or a magazine that piques their interest, and add it to their order at the last minute. It’s a smart way to practice conversion marketing offline, in addition to the conversion strategies you use on your website.

4. Establish a social media presence

According to Pew Research Center, 72% of adults in the US used at least one social media site in 2021. That means the people you want to reach are almost certainly hanging out on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or one of the other popular social media sites of the moment. A grocery store doesn’t need to be on every social media platform available—people won’t necessarily turn to a professional networking site like LinkedIn to connect with their local grocery store, for instance. But select some social media sites you’re confident your audience uses, and work on building a profile and connecting with customers there.

Numerous social media platforms specifically offer business profiles with features designed with brands in mind. And a few give consumers a way to leave reviews for businesses they follow on the platform. For grocers working hard to create a strong customer experience, providing customers with one more place online to share their opinion of the store can help you further build your brand reputation.

While posting to social media organically can improve your visibility, investing in paid ads can supercharge the number of people you reach. And most platforms have targeting options that let you home in on people likely to become customers based on factors such as where they live and their general interests. That helps you get a better return on investment for any money you spend on advertising on the platform.

5. Launch a loyalty program

Loyalty is powerful. Once a customer decides they value their relationship with your brand, they’re more likely to keep coming back—and may even spend more money with you once they do. Loyalty programs give you a way to incentivize that behavior from the customers who already like you. By offering rewards to customers based on how often they shop with you or how much they spend, you make them feel better about the money they’re spending at your store, as well as their overall relationship with your brand.

Another benefit of offering a loyalty program is that customers who join are opting in to an ongoing relationship with your business. They’re telling you they want to hear from you, and it can double as a way to build up your email list, which is important for our next strategy.

6. Use email marketing

While a stronghold of consumers use social media, the numbers for email are even higher—92% of internet users in 2022, according to Statista. Email is a powerful marketing tool, since anyone who signs up for your email list is a customer you know is interested in keeping the relationship going.

Grocery stores benefit from repeat business. Those paper towels a customer bought yesterday will run out, and they’ll need to get more somewhere. Sending emails to your customers is a great way to stay top of mind so they think of you first when they need to restock their shelves at home.

If you’re showing up in their inbox with interesting content, relevant offers, and consistent reminders that you’re there and offering what they need, customers are that much more likely to return to your store the next time they need to stock up.

7. Offer coupons

Price-conscious shoppers love a good deal. If someone’s on the fence about trying a certain product, a coupon offering a small discount can be enough to make the decision. The same goes for people deciding which grocery store to choose. Anytime they want to pinch pennies, the place offering the best coupons will be the obvious choice.

Grocery stores can offer coupons online and in print. You can run inserts in the local newspaper, a place coupon hunters know to check regularly. You can email coupons to your mailing list, which is a smart way to reward loyal customers and make them feel special. You can offer them directly on your website next to relevant items, so people see what deal they’d be getting as they browse online. And you can offer them inside the store, placed right next to the item featured to give shoppers that extra nudge to go for it.

What’s even better than a deal? A personalized deal that’s relevant to the customer’s preferences. Offering online ordering and a loyalty program provides you with the data you need to start giving customers personalized offers. Someone who regularly buys baby products will appreciate coupons for baby food and diapers. That appreciation can translate into more sales and greater customer loyalty.

8. Sell branded reusable bags

Many of today’s consumers are concerned about sustainability. A 2022 IBM analysis found that half of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. For grocery stores, this presents an opportunity. Many people are ready to ditch the plastic bags (or at least reduce how often they use them) in exchange for reusable bags.

You can help them do that while promoting your store by selling branded reusable bags. Promote them on your website and put them right by the checkout line so people see them at the moment they need them. They get a product that helps them reduce waste, and a consumer walks out of your store with an item that promotes your brand. When they put it to use in other contexts, their friends and family will see a reminder of your grocery store and social proof that someone they trust shops there.

Market your grocery store with the help of Uber Eats

Another smart grocery store marketing strategy is to partner with Uber Eats, which offers several services you can choose from based on your goals, resources, and capabilities.

For example, if you’re powering your e-commerce program directly from your own website or app and your marketing goal is to deepen customer loyalty, you can offer your customers an option for same-day delivery at checkout with Uber Direct, a white-label delivery solution. Through a simple integration process, you can review orders that customers place on your own channels and send fulfillment requests to drivers in the Uber network. As far as your customers are concerned, the entire end-to-end experience will be associated with your brand.

Alternatively, if building brand awareness among new customers is a core part of your marketing efforts, you may choose to list your business on the Uber Eats marketplace. More than 3 million consumers already use Uber Eats to order groceries, meaning you can reach an active user base that uses the app to fulfill their grocery needs. And with the help of drivers in the Uber network, you can take the logistics of delivery off your plate.

Some businesses even combine a presence on the Uber Eats marketplace with an Uber Direct integration to serve 2 marketing goals at once: customer acquisition and customer loyalty.

Learn more about the grocery experience we’re building on Uber Eats to help businesses like yours grow.

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