By Karen Buch RDN, LDN
Delivering superior value to customers is essential when attempting to establish and maintain long‐term customer relationships, a key goal of food retailers. Retail Dietitians possess unique skills and expertise that can contribute directly to this goal, while delivering incremental sales lifts beyond traditional marketing plans that rely on the 4P’s (for more on the 4 P’s, see Marketing: A Discussion for Retail Dietitians Part 1: The 4 Ps of Marketing). The central theme of value-added marketing is a customer-centric approach.
Achieving a high level of customer satisfaction relies on so much more than a positive perception of the retailer’s product selection, pricing, cleanliness, quality and convenience. What else is deeply important to the customer? Discovering the food-, diet-, lifestyle-, health-, wellness- and nutrition-related concerns of customers can help retail dietitians provide targeted solutions that become important points of differentiation.
Retailers are data driven. But data can only go so far to explain a customer’s motivation for making purchases. Retail dietitians can bolster their understanding by studying a combination of national trend and consumer insight data, retailer-specific customer satisfaction surveys, loyalty card segmentation data and anecdotal evidence gathered through frequent customer conversations during store visits and interactions with consumers at community or in-store events.
After developing a clearer understanding of what motivates and satisfies customers, retail dietitians can begin to build a value-added marketing plan to consistently deliver customer-focused solutions. Common areas of focus include providing quick, easy and nutritious recipes and meal solutions, implementing a nutrition navigation system to make it easier for customers to shop for foods that fit their lifestyle and developing a lineup of retailer-specific branded content to share with customers using a wide variety of communication mediums.
Value-Added Marketing Plan
Compile the core components of your marketing plan into a single document that you can share internally to gain the approval and buy-in needed from both the executive team and your peers. Having a clear, concise plan will act as a guide and map to you, your team members and partnering departments. Include an executive summary at the beginning that briefly describes the core components and its communication strategy and follow by expanding on each component. Note any layering techniques that will help to amplify your efforts. Once your plan is approved, develop a sell sheet intended to be shared with vendors to build co-marketing partnerships. For more, watch for Part 3 of Marketing: A Discussion for Retail Dietitians.
About the Author
Karen Buch, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in retail dietetics and food & nutrition communications. As one of the first supermarket dietitians, she is a recognized trailblazer and expert at translating nutrition science into practical solutions for consumers. Karen is owner and principal consultant at Nutrition Connections LLC, chair of the Food & Culinary Professionals Supermarket/Retail subgroup and contributing author to RDBA Weekly. You can connect with her on twitter @karenbuch and visit NutritionConnectionsLLC.com.