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Capturing customers by creating an experience

Research shows that Canadian consumers are polarizing, with one side of the consumer segments looking for low prices at discounters and the other side of the consumer spectrum looking for unique or more value-added offerings at conventional grocery stores.

For those consumers looking for a value-added shopping experience, what makes them pick one store over another?

While there are many factors contributing to this decision, including the good old motto “location, location, location” – what else can help attract these consumers, build their baskets and keep them coming back?

I suggest there is real value in creating an EXPERIENCE for your customers – an experience that is different from your competitors and allows your consumers to enjoy grocery shopping.

But how do we take this routine task that customers have to do every week and transform it into something they look forward to?

Create an experiential shopping experience by bringing the customer into the product lifecycle and encourage them be a part of it.

Tell the story behind the product by showcasing the farmers and producers. This will allow your customers to understand where their tomatoes or honey came from and meet the people who help get it on the shelf for them to feed their family. Co-op has used this approach in its Grown at Home for your local Co-op campaign.

Showcase the development of the food and the stages that are completed in order to get the item on the shelf. Some examples of this is a dry aged beef case for consumers to see as they browse the meat selection, cake decorating in front of the customer so they can see the work that goes into each rosette on their child’s birthday cake, the cutting and slicing of fresh fruit for the fruit salad that will be shared among friends.

In-store demos are a great way to facilitate trial and purchase. And even better – demo your store brands products as these are differentiators and create loyalty among your consumers. What better way to create an experience for your customers than getting their senses going.

Provide expert service to your shoppers. Consumers do not want to have to work while doing their grocery shopping – having expert advice from a butcher about which cut of beef would be best on the grill for tonight’s dinner allows your customers to feel taken care of and removes the stress they may feel when making decisions.

The shopper experience should not stop once they leave the store. Engage your customers and continue the experience when they leave by sending personalized targeted offers or relevant information based on what they purchased while in your store – “Thank you for visiting us today! Here are some tips on how to grill a steak from our certified chef and a coupon for our own homemade in-store BBQ sauce – enjoy!” This not only reinforces that you understand them and that they made a good decision to shop with you but also entices them to come back to your store next time for a shopping experience.

Imagine the opportunities for consumer growth in your store if you can transform the grocery shopping trip (an errand) into an event that your customers are looking forward to.

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