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5 strategies to support your shoppers' resolutions

It should come as no surprise that many of your shoppers will have made New Year’s Resolutions about healthy eating for 2015. However factors such as time, money and routine often get in the way of their goals to become healthier.

With that in mind, grocers are in a unique position to help their shoppers navigate barriers and make it easier for them to make the healthy lifestyle choices they’re leaning toward. When this happens, it creates a win-win for grocers and their shoppers.

The trend toward health continues: according to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2014 Shopping for Health study, 43% of shoppers say they’re eating more products with whole grains, 44% say they’re buying more fresh ingredients, and one third say they’re making purchases with an eye on nutritional labels and reduced or no calories/fat/sugar/salt.

At the same time, nearly two out of three consumers also say they aren’t eating as well as they would like to because changing their eating habits is too hard. The key for grocers is in understanding their shoppers so they can help make these products more accessible and more appealing.

A data-driven understanding of shoppers offers a myriad of opportunities for grocers to deliver on their shoppers’ healthy eating resolutions, essentially showing their shoppers that the store is “on their side” when it comes to healthy food choices.

New analytical and technology capabilities allow for both better merchandising decisions as well as personalized offers based on an understanding of shoppers’ past-behaviours, life-stage, lifestyle and potential value. Detailed shopper segmentation helps grocers deliver against their shoppers’ needs and preferences via personalized offers and better merchandising in-store.

Optimizing their pricing, promotions, assortment and offers on healthy food items, grocers–particularly at the start of 2015–are well positioned to grow basket sizes with healthy products, as well as cross-sell healthy options to a wider shopper base. Grocers can also use this opportunity for innovation and product development.

Understanding health trends across key categories can draw attention to priority areas or products that could benefit from private brand development to deliver healthy products key shoppers are looking for.

Grocers could consider the following five strategies this January to support their shoppers’ New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Empower. According to FMI’s 2014 Shopping for Health study, 65% of shoppers say that a desire to lose or maintain weight affects their food purchase decisions. Empower shoppers by demonstrating an awareness of and support for their goals. There are many ways to do this both in-store and online. For merchandisers, analytics can identify the key categories and items that are trending heavily toward healthier options and those that are underdeveloped. Grocers can use this information to laser-in on key areas to reset the assortment toward healthier options to meet shoppers increasing needs. Online, grocers could consider opening an online forum about healthy eating where shoppers support and encourage each other on their goals. Another option could be to provide a healthy eating ‘check list,’ where shoppers could check off when they’ve picked up a certain amount of servings of fruit and vegetables to ensure they’re picking up the right amount of healthy options during their grocery shop.

  1. Promote. Shoppers want healthy foods to be more accessible, so there is a real opportunity for customer-centric grocers to help their shoppers make healthier choices by promoting healthier options. Work closely with your partner manufacturers to promote the right items for shoppers, at the right price, to the right audience. Analyzing shopper data will identify which healthy options should be offered, at the most effective price, and to the most receptive audience.

  1. Engage. Offer engaging events and touch points with your shoppers. Consider using analytical insights from your shopper segmentation to host in-store food tasting stations serving healthy foods that have been determined to grow basket size of your best shoppers. Another option would be to offer in-store demonstrations for preparation of those healthy foods.

  1. Simplify. Fifty-eight per cent of shoppers report trying out new healthy recipes. Make it easier for your shoppers to find healthy food combinations through cross-merchandising displays with healthy meal solutions, promoting holistic solutions across key categories, and including recipes and preparation tips with key items. Also consider delivering personalized healthy meal solutions through 1-to-1 offers to each shopper based on their key shopping categories.

  1. Focus. Not all of your shoppers want to eat healthier. Carefully analyze your shopper data to determine which shoppers, stores and regions would benefit most from a healthy food campaign.

Bottom line: Grocers can win higher shopper engagement by supporting shoppers in their efforts for healthier eating. The big upsides for grocers are improved profits from the sale of higher-margin fresh food and more revenue from the higher frequency of fresh food shopping.

When it comes to using data to foster eating, the New Year is the perfect time to get started.

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