Leveraging Shopper Marketing for Health Benefit

Leveraging Shopper Marketing for Health Benefit

March 29, 2017
Retail Industry Insights

Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FADA

Executive Director, RDBA

In a previous issue of this newsletter, I provided an overview of shopper marketing, which is all about identifying when the consumer is in a shopping mode and what they think and feel at that exact moment in time.  In this week’s article, I’ll provide ideas on how you can tie nutrition into shopper marketing for increased sales of better-for-you products as well as customer satisfaction.

#1.  One of the greatest challenges today is getting consumers, no matter their age, to eat enough fruits and vegetables.  Cross promotion is one way to help shoppers see how fruits and vegetables fit with other products in your store.  Retailers have been selling bananas in the cereal aisle for some time now, but this can be taken steps further.  What about a freezer case of frozen stir fry vegetables next to chicken breasts or frozen strawberries next to gallons of plain ice cream?  The bakery could include a display of whole grain breads, healthier oils, and roasted peppers or fresh zucchini.  Consider working with the prepared foods departments to create grab-and-go items for dinner that move vegetables to the center of the plate or fruit spears with a side of yogurt dip.

#2.  A retailer once mentioned to me that one of the top 10 selling items in their chain of stores was chicken thighs.  Their goal then was to develop healthy meal options around this key shopper purchase. Loyalty cards provide a wealth of data on customers’ shopping behaviors, and as this example shows, understanding the customer can better equip you to bridge them into healthier eating habits through products they purchase often.  Work with the team that oversees your loyalty card program to understand what the top 10 purchases are for your shoppers.  Or consider what’s in the basket of those who purchase the least fruits and vegetables.  Use this data to build nutrition marketing programs that truly meet your shoppers’ needs.

#3.  Home Depot struck genius when they began offering their weekend workshops for kids.  Kids have the opportunity to hammer, saw, glue, and paint, and walk about the door with a creation.  It’s a way for dads to engage with their kids.  For Home Depot, it gets customers into the store, and grows budding handy men or women.  It’s genius because it provides parents with an easy bonding experience with their kids.  Consider how you might leverage this genius in your stores.  Can you offer healthier cooking classes for girlfriend groups?  Nights where neighbors can come together and prep meals for the next week, with everything purchased in your stores? 

#4.  Barriers to weight loss include knowing what to eat, how much of it to eat, and how to cook healthier items. This is why weight loss programs that provide the meals are popular.   How might you apply this in your store? 

#5.  Statistics suggest many customers shop a store with a health condition in mind.  How might you bundle products to make the shopping experience easier for these customers?  One idea might be to offer a pre-packaged bundle of items (for heart health, it might include Coenzyme Q10 supplements, healthier oils, high fiber canned beans, a cookbook of heart healthy recipes) or a “starter kit” for someone recently diagnosed with a condition.

It’s likely that in the future, the entire layout of the grocery store will evolve to a design more conducive to how the consumer shops.  Even today, you can leverage an understanding of how they shop to effectively sell nutrition and health.