Amazon is coming! Amazon is coming! And it’s approaching the grocery channel with a new banner.  Grocery retailers are anxious in response to this new entry.  Amazon’s knowledge base is massive when it comes to ecommerce and—coupled with the grocery knowledge gained from Prime membership, purchasing Whole Foods Market and opening Amazon Go locations—the blood pressure is rising in grocery executive’s offices all over the country!

Not much information about the company’s plans has been revealed, but it’s been reported that the store will be about 35,000 square feet—smaller than a traditional grocery store but larger than a convenience store—putting the company in a unique position within the competitive landscape.  All this is happening as American grocery shopping behavior is changing.  Shoppers are shopping with a “European mindset”, shopping for a couple of days rather than for a full week.

With these Amazon changes swirling within the midst of massive consumer change, what can you do within your own organization while their progress develops?

While you wait…

  1. Focus on building a 1:1 personal relationship with your shoppers.  Some people call it loyalty; I prefer to call it a relationship.  Believe it or not, people like to grocery shop.  It gives many a sense of achievement or accomplishment.  For others, it represents an act of love.  And for some, it’s well-deserved time alone. So, keeping shoppers coming back doesn’t take a great deal of coaxing.

    Know your shoppers’ names. They are in your store about four times a month, if not more.  Encourage your sales associates to get your shoppers’ loyalty data early in the transaction so that the shopper can be greeted by their name. 

    Help your customers discover what else is on your shelves.  Email them high value coupons of recommended products to try based on their purchase behavior.

  2. Develop digital creative that is tied to your shoppers’ behavior.There’s no better medium to test and run variable creative than digital.  Think about the use case and occasion for each message.  If you’re talking about fill-in trips, highlight special savings on your grab-and-go items.  If you’re looking at an immediate consumption audience, a special incentive or savings on prepared items might resonate.  But make sure that the message and trip type creative also aligns with when the message is being served—this is where effective day-part targeting plays an essential role.

  3. Audit your pre-print creative.  Pre-prints are the lifeblood for those high-basket stock-up trips.  It is the only opportunity you have to talk about your store door to door.  Of all of the shopper touchpoints, this is the one that drives total store, item/price awareness and excitement.  Plus, it helps shoppers decide where to shop first. 

    During the creative audit, confirm that your pre-print layout isn’t too busy and tells a cohesive story. Conduct a basket analysis to make sure you’re featuring the right items in the pre-print to optimize basket size.  Use photos of cooked meat with a side—shoppers prefer to see an aspirational plated meal. Look at competitors. What are they doing right? What are their opportunity gaps? Don’t be afraid to duplicate what they do right.

  4. Talk to your shoppers about omni-channel shopping. Determine if they want home delivery or prefer store pick-up. Knowing will alleviate some of the “keeping up with the Joneses” activity that can be prevalent in your industry. Also take this opportunity to understand their user experience if you have an app. Does it make their life easier? You might even learn about blind spots that you weren’t aware of.

  5. Double check your Integrated media plan. Make sure that your digital team is aware of your pre-print dates and communication strategy. Shoppers are irked when there is communication dissonance. Challenge your media vendors to present out of the box ideas. It keeps them on their toes and you might find a better way to engage your shopper.

That’s a lot to do, but you don’t have to do it alone. Would you like an accountability partner? Tribune Publishing’s Grocery Vertical Strategist can work with you to grow your business while you wait for Amazon to release the next announcement about their new grocery banner.