5 Surprising and Effective Supermarket Marketing Tactics

You’ve spent countless hours perfecting your store operations. You’ve stocked all the items customers in your area are looking for, stressed over the perfect layout, and hired enough staff to keep checkout processes running smoothly. 

But without supermarket marketing, you’re faced with a struggle: How will customers know about your store?

If you want to keep a steady flow of customers pouring in through your doors, you need to put together a marketing plan that communicates to your audience, letting them know about all the offerings in store for them once they walk into your supermarket. 

This post will cover some surprising and effective marketing tactics. We think beyond simple advertisements and free samples, giving you new ideas to test out for your store! 

Do You Need Supermarket Marketing?

Customers need to eat; your store has food. Do you really need to market your store? Much like the saying, “Build it, and they will come,” thinking people will find you solely based on necessity is overly optimistic. Of course, you need to market your store.

And there are various benefits when you do this, including:

  • Brand awareness: With advertising, social media campaigns, and promotions, you can get your brand in front of more people. Increasing brand awareness in your local area might make your store the store of choice in your community.
  • Deals, deals, deals: Want to promote your latest offer? Shout about your discounts? Welcome new seasons in? Employing marketing strategies will help effectively promote your store.
  • One-up on the competition: Marketing conveys why your store stands out in a crowded market and an industry with low profit margins. Whether that’s superior product quality, a wide range of options, exceptional customer service, or convenient store locations, marketing can help position your grocery store as the preferred choice for customers.
  • Keeping up with consumers: What’s hot today might not be hot tomorrow. And through ongoing marketing research, you’ll keep your finger on the pulse of customer expectations in the current market.

What are the consequences of not marketing your grocery store?

First, without active marketing, you’ll lose out to other stores in your local area. With declining brand recognition, you’ll fail to make a name for your supermarket in the local community. And those seasonal deals, discounts, and sales? Without promotion, these profit-driving events see reduced traffic and sales.

New residents also won’t know about your store. You’ll be invisible! And without marketing nurturing customer relationships and loyalty, it becomes easier for shoppers to switch stores rather than remain loyal.

Don’t let your supermarket miss out on loyal customers. Let’s dig into some effective supermarket marketing tactics, so you can make your store the store of choice.

1. Community Engagement 

Can a supermarket really be a thriving participant in the local community? Absolutely! When your store actively engages with the local community, you can build meaningful bonds beyond transactions. Establish partnerships with local organizations, schools, or community groups to support causes that resonate with your target audience. 

For example, you could sponsor a local sports team and take it a step further by showing up at their big events. This shows a genuine commitment to your neighborhood. Or you might partner with schools on educational programs about nutrition and provide helpful resources.

You can make customers feel good about shopping with you by hosting community events like in-store fundraisers and donating a portion of sales to charities. Finding authentic ways to show up in your community creates emotional connections. 

2. Gamification and Loyalty Programs 

Today's consumers, especially younger demographics, crave interactivity and gamification in brand experiences. Think Duolingo; everyone wants to get to the top of the leaderboard, so they do their lesson every day! Savvy supermarkets can gamify elements of their loyalty programs to encourage participation.

Imagine a loyalty program where members complete fun challenges to earn status, from purchasing five new organic items to trying an exotic fruit. You could display progress on a loyalty meter within the app,  and when customers reach specific milestones, they unlock rewards like members-only discounts.

Related Read: How To Measure Customer Loyalty

Other ideas include setting up scavenger hunts where customers scan QR codes to get points, and offering prizes for top scorers. Get creative! And it’s not only your loyalty members who get to have fun. Why not host a pumpkin-weighing competition in the fall, or use social media to create polls on favorite ice cream flavors?

These tactics incentivize repeat visits and purchases, and generate excitement and buzz around your supermarket.

3. Pop-Up Shops 

Nothing says community and shop local than collaborating with local artisans, chefs, and specialty food vendors. Pop-up shops help shine a spotlight on products customers won’t find on everyday shelves.

For a weekend, you could convert a section of your store into a pop-up for a popular neighborhood chef to sell their signature sauces and spices. Or work with a local bakery to host a cake-baking class where customers can bake cakes and decorate them for birthdays and special occasions.

Pop-up shops also give you a chance to showcase exclusive products like small-batch specialty teas, locally crafted spirits, or homemade jams. Many small businesses will appreciate the buzz around their products.

Creating memorable experiences helps retain current customers and attracts new ones to your supermarket.

Related Read: 5 Ways Digital Customer Loyalty Programs Help Grocers

4. Personalized Recommendations 

You can use technology to provide tailored recommendations to customers. How? Based on the data you have in your point of sale (POS) system. Modern systems allow you to safely collect personal and purchase data and analyze preferences.

New technology enables some supermarkets to use digital signage at store entrances to showcase suggested recipes or products for shoppers based on past buys or indicated diet preferences. Self-checkout kiosks could propose tailored meal kits containing complementary ingredients a household commonly purchases.

Augmented Reality (AR) technology is still emerging in grocery retail. But some supermarkets use AR apps to overlay recipes a family could make using the items in their cart. Shoppers visualize finished meals to fill their weekly meal planning.

5. Collaborate With a Local Influencer!  

TikTok is a search engine now. In fact, 40 percent of the Gen Z demographic uses TikTok to search for information about restaurants, retail stores, and more. Do you have any local social media influencers or hometown celebrities who align with your target audience? Now is the time to collaborate!

You could invite regional Instagram foodies or TikTok chefs to your store and have them create grocery haul videos or recipes using your products. Their authentic content carries weight with followers.

And it’s not only bigger influencers you can collaborate with. Micro-influencers (those with 50,000 followers or less) get high levels of engagement. Take advantage of this by partnering with health-focused moms or budget-savvy college students. Niche focus over broad reach might better sway your targets.

IT Retail guide to POS hardware

Manage Your Supermarket Marketing Efforts the Easy Way 

The tactics listed above are excellent options to step up your supermarket marketing game, bring in new customers, and keep them coming back for more each week! 

Still, managing these efforts can be a headache if you don’t have the right systems in place. If the idea of tracking customer data, managing loyalty programs, and coordinating with suppliers for pop-up shops is sending your head into a tailspin, have no fear: We have the solution for you.

IT Retail’s point of sale software has robust customer management and loyalty programs built in. You can easily use our solution to manage your customer loyalty and marketing efforts.

To see if our solution is right for you, check out a free software demo of IT Retail today!