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Do You Even Data

A data-driven marketing blog

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Transforming Shopping Losses into Grocery Gains

The competitive landscape in the grocery industry just keeps getting stiffer.

Why? One important factor is that shoppers don’t rely on a single store anymore for all their needs. Instead, they are buying specialty items at one store, and more basic ones at another. (Read this article from the StarTribune that inspired this post.)

Additionally, “value” has taken on a new meaning for them. Not only is the price of groceries taken into account, but so is time and gas money.

This evolving trend in shopping patterns has impacted grocers in a number of ways: individual stores’ share of market has decreased, offerings on the shelves have greatly expanded, and slashing prices to draw in more consumers has become commonplace.

Is it even possible for a grocer to differentiate itself given the circumstances? Perhaps. But an even smarter move is determining why consumers shop the way they do.

As a grocer, what would you want to know about your customer when she walks into a competitor’s store? Maybe questions such as: “What did you buy?” or “Why did you shop at that store instead of mine?” and “What will make you consider my store instead next time?”

Now, wouldn’t you appreciate getting these answers right there on the spot, while she is still making her purchase decision?

Grocery and mobile: the new frontier

Fortunately, you can—and surveys conducted through mobile market research are the most effective way of reaching these on-the-go shoppers, who more than ever are using their Smartphones for grocery shopping, planning and researching.

In the FGI Labs, we have been experimenting with a mobile grocery app that would provide grocers with invaluable insights about shoppers’ habits, which in turn help increase customer loyalty and basket size.

One way this works is recruiting a group of your customers who are ready, willing and able to use their smartphones to take surveys. Next, this group of participants would download the FGI mobile app and enable geo-tracking. This way, the app is alerted when customers walk into a competitor’s store, and can immediately ‘ping’ shoppers a request to complete a survey that asks what they were shopping for, why they chose this store versus yours, and what you can do to change their minds next time.

As seen from the above illustration, gaining a deeper understanding of shoppers’ reasoning behind their behavior can benefit grocers immensely.

But surveying these customers on their smartphones while they are actually strolling down the aisles searching for products will reveal on-the-spot responses that won’t require troublesome recall.

Now that’s a good deal.