Successful Health and Wellness Programs Leverage the Path-to-Purchase
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Digital couponing, e-commerce, social media influence -- these are just a few of the factors that have drastically changed the traditional consumer path-to-purchase. Opportunities exist at every step of today's path-to-purchase to impact shopper purchase decisions as related to better-for-you foods.
The traditional path-to-purchase is a linear journey, starting when the consumer recognizes a need (we have no food in the house), moving through a multi-step shopping process, and ending when he or she evaluates the product purchased (Did I get what I needed? Was it a positive experience?). Today, the process is far from linear, and shoppers may repeat steps, reconsider, and review alternatives within the retail industry before making a purchase. The new path-to-purchase is circular, despite the fact that the starting and ending points are still the same. The final goal was and is a purchase.
Consider the following disruptors of the path-to-purchase and how, in your role as a retail dietitian, you can leverage them to increase sales of healthier foods.
- Retailer website: Shoppers sign up for retailer newsletters, download online coupons, and review products online before purchasing. While many retail RDs have a presence on their company websites, it's not typically targeted to influence shoppers visiting your stores or purchase behavior once the shopper is in your store. Ensure RD programs and services are easily found online and that sign-ups can be accomplished electronically. Include links to RD blogs and social media pages, and feature “RD Picks” right on the website. Having actionable RD insights available on your company's website will not only give consumers one more reason to shop your stores, but provide valuable insight and build a relationship.
- Social content: The goal here is to drive purchase and help your consumers make decisions on foods that align with their lifestyle goals. Make your social content direct. Give product reviews, highlight specific foods and short recipes that meet a specific health or wellness need. Suggest your product ideas get put on the grocery list. Link social posts to digital coupons or promotional pricing your retailer is offering on specific products. Tell shoppers exactly where to find your better-for-you products in your stores.
- Multichannel engagement. Because today's shopper is tech-savvy, it's essential that health and wellness engagement be consistent and relevant across all touchpoints they have with your retailer. If your company offers online shopping, how is the RD leveraged to highlight healthier products? Are “RD Picks” both signed in the store and tagged in online shopping? If you are a team of one at your company, how can you train and leverage store staff to ensure guidance to healthier products is available in store as well as online and in social outlets?
To leverage health and wellness as a business driver, it’s essential that your messaging be present wherever and whenever shoppers are present.