5 Tips for Increasing Effectiveness of Store Tours
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Conducting educational supermarket store tours continues to be a valuable way to point out new products, provide special diet guidance, dispel common food myths and highlight a variety of convenient, storewide options that help consumers prepare healthful meals at home. Conducted properly, tours can enhance customer loyalty, increase basket size and have a positive impact on the health of your shoppers. Here are five tips to help increase the effectiveness of your tours:
- Be specific. What differentiates your store(s) from others? Talk to your buyers and department directors to help determine key talking points that shine a light on unique programs, products and resources that your retailer has. Perhaps there is a new sustainable seafood program, free pharmacy options, or new better-for-you private brand items to sample.
- Manage your numbers. Most tours are conducted for 10 or less participants simply because a larger group can block the aisles and make it difficult to communicate. If you want to schedule a larger group, just restructure your approach. During the first 30 minutes you can meet in a store conference room to go over key departmental talking points while showing sample products. For the next 30 minutes participants can partner up for an in store educational scavenger hunt to answer prepared questions. Reassemble at the end to review and answer any questions.
- Keep focused. Try to customize your tour to a specific area of interest and/or audience. While some stores focus their tours on school age children, you may also have tours for diabetes management, or family meal planning. Share the resources you have online or in store that provide solutions to these topics such as nutrition callouts or a Dietitian Choice shelf tag program. You should also have a plan for keeping your audience focused. Deal with individuals who want to monopolize the tour with their own agenda by simply telling them you’ll talk individually after the tour.
- Measure and incentivize. Provide a brief survey at the end of your tour to rate satisfaction, identify new shoppers and obtain feedback. In addition, determine if there are ways to use your loyalty program to measure sales impact. Finally, provide incentives such as product coupons and meal planning/recipe resources that can keep shoppers coming back.
- Extend your reach. Train other dietitians in the community or clinical setting to use your stores for nutrition tours as part of their educational programming. Provide a script and instructions for scheduling tours and obtaining any needed handouts or samples. Make sure you include specific tour guidelines to ensure your total store is properly represented.