The Social Media behemoth is inexorably becoming a larger part of our daily lives, with over 30% of the population spending over 4 hours daily on social media. Social Media has become the new “word of mouth on steroids” and has come to wield a decisive influence on brand selection and purchase decisions of consumers. Simultaneously, conventional forms of Media are in a steady decline and it is predicted that in another five years time, printed newspapers will no longer be in circulation. Thus, it is imperative that business start looking at Social Media seriously to reach out to their consumers.
The grocery or Supermarket segment in the UAE market is highly competitive with a large variety of stores in the Large, Medium and Small formats, all vying for the consumers attention. What are the factors shaping consumer behavior in choosing a particular store over the rest ? Is it the product offering ? or it location? Or availability of parking ? Presence inside a mall? Proximity to F&B outlets ? or all the above? Research in the US has shown that “comfort” is a very important factor for shoppers when they decide on their grocery store and most consumers are very loyal towards their store and rarely change. By “Comfort”, it is meant that they feel at ease there, they know the staff personally, know exactly where each item is located and consider the store as their “friend” !! This is a very important finding as something as mundane as a grocery store acquires a personality or vibe in the eyes of a consumer. This explains why many consumers are turned off by large hypermarkets, though they have a larger product offering and selection, but are impersonal and why the smaller stores with less product offerings and facilities are thriving !
Here, I give below some Tips on how Supermarkets can use Social Media to build brand loyalty and drive in store traffic :
1. Give Interesting Content : What is an interesting content for a supermarket consumer ? It is timely information on new product arrivals, and the Deal of the Week !! If you are running a Bumper Offer of 50 % Off on Chicken Franks this week, they would be very keen to know about this and stock up and also share this with their friends. Send personalized messages to your “Friends” and “Fans” about this offer.
2. Recipes : Another type of content that is always interesting is to write about Food and Recipes. Provide authentic recipes using the Vegetables / Fruits in season. Invite your Fans to submit their recipes and highlight them !
3. Special schemes for your loyal Fans: Look at ways of rewarding your loyal fans who follow you on FB and Twitter and who also share your content with their friends. Come up with a Loyalty Card scheme which gives these loyal fans discounts at your store.
4. Invite Feedback : One of the biggest plus points for Social Media as opposed to conventional Media is that it is a two way communication. Use this to get feedback from your customers on their shopping experience – what needs to be improved , are they looking for new brands or products, are they happy with the pricing ?? Make sure that you respond to each and every feedback
5. Fan of the Month : Nominate a “Fan of the Month” – highlight him/her prominently both online as well as in store. Offer him/her special discount vouchers. This is certain to attract new followers as well as friends of the selected Fan
6. Instagram – A great visual platform to highlight your Special Deals and promotions. Encourage user generated content also with Fans posing in front of your store. Run a competition for best selfie !
7. Facebook Advertising – Use FB’s powerful segmentation tools to design high impact Ads which are specific to Location, Nationality and lifestyles of your consumers
8. Your Stores Human Face – Highlight your employees – they present the human face for your store. Highlight an Employee of the Month
9. Twitter – A quick response, high impact medium. Use Twitter to inform your followers of the Days Specials, New Product arrivals and any special Promotions or Offers going on
A strong social media presence is an invaluable tool to build relationships with your customers, give your store a personality and human face and also substantially help in your sales efforts by highlighting your offers and promotions