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[9 comments]

Wegmans Customers Thankful for Tweets

November 21, 2012

Wegmans is known for helping its customers expand their holiday season culinary horizons through recipes, food preparation videos, its monthly Menu magazine, online chats and — for the second year in a row — Twitter.

The grocer's executive chef Mark Makovec has gone online with some technical assistance to answer customer's questions tweeted to @Wegmans or the #Turkey911 hashtag.

Chef Makovec told Your News Now in Rochester that many consumers make a complete turkey only once a year and, that combined with all the sides involved in Thanksgiving dinner, the task can cause a lot of anxiety. His job is to help shoppers bust the stress.

"You get a lot of people all of a sudden where the light turns on and they say, 'I never thought of that. I've never done that before,' and it makes cooking so much easier," he said.

Wegmans turned to Twitter for the first time last year after receiving "an incredible amount of calls" about Thanksgiving.

Courtney Briggs, internet marketing coordinator at Wegmans, translates the chef's responses into Tweets.

"Twitter might be a specialized social media tool, but it's really just another way to talk to a customer," Ms. Briggs told WHEC.com. "It's the same experience you would have walking up to a chef in the store. This might be a little abbreviated to get to that 140 characters, but it's still two people connecting together, just in a new way."

Discussion Questions:

What do you think of Wegmans use of Twitter to connect with its customers on Thanksgiving? How effective, for example, do you think Wegmans' use of Twitter is in driving customer loyalty?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

How effective do you think Wegman's use of social media around Thanksgiving is in driving customer loyalty?

Comments:

Wegmans again leads the way. The more touch points a retailer has with consumers, the stronger the relationship will be. Offering advice on the day that American cooks want to make sure that dinner comes out right makes sense. I wish Wegmans would open some stores in Los Angeles.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

I'm up here in the soon to be frozen North (Canada) so we don't have Wegmans. But, I can tell you that Whole Foods does a nice job of connecting through Twitter with its customers. The local store has its own feed that keeps customers in the loop on daily specials and recipes.

With the incredible amount of competition in the grocery category, this is just another way for a retailer to maintain top of mind awareness with their customer base, and to drive more frequent foot steps.

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Kevin Graff, President, Graff Retail

I think it is a terrific idea. According to my research on Mature Millennials (MM) (25 to 34) over one quarter of this group (and growing) participate in Twitter. In addition, a significant number of Twitter participants indicate that they use Twitter to 'get advice on products and services'.

Further, over three quarters of the MMs in my research, indicate that a positive comment from a social media friend will make them more likely to buy/visit the company so described. Conversely, a negative comment from a social media friend will make them less likely to buy/visit the referenced organization.

Finally, social sites, like Twitter, represent the modern day equivalent of the "back yard fence" where neighbors used to share information, opinions and recommendations. Wegmans chef is the local knowledge expert hanging over the fence, with timely, sought after advice to make Thanksgiving a festive family occasion.

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Richard J. George, Ph.D., Professor of Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Customers' passions have been modified of late by technology and Twitter has become one of the change agents.

Wegmans does whatever it takes to drive customer loyalty. While Twitter is only a single agent, it compliments the other ornaments on Wegmans' many splendored approach to wooing customer loyalty.

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Gene Hoffman, President/CEO, Corporate Strategies International

Twitter is a great way to create customer value. Most people think social media for customer service is monitoring Twitter, Facebook, etc. The best companies also use these channels to push value added content. Yeah for Wegmans. They get it -- but they have always have, especially when it is about the customer!

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Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations, LLC

Retail organizations need to "be where the customers are" in order to really connect and have a conversation. Social media provides another way to accomplish this and Wegmans does a great job in this regard!

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Brian Numainville, Principal, The Retail Feedback Group

It's a great case study from Wegmans. It's important to remember that Twitter isn't some magic new pool of people, it's just another communication channel. If you have a twitter presence, then you're expected to staff and leverage that channel. In the same way that if you have a phone number, you need to answer it.

Wegmans is showing a great example of leveraging the touchpoint.

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Jason Goldberg, VP Commerce Strategy, Razorfish

Bird's Tweet, but turkey's Gobble-Gobble and it looks like Publix is tapping another hash tag:

Ahhh, the day before Thanksgiving. Masses running to buy the forgotten cranberry sauce @Publix #GobbleGobble

So in the spirit of the holidays, my tweet:

Just saw on @retailwire that @wegmans has an expert chef monitoring #Turkey911 #gobblegobble #Thanksgiving -- #psych for the aftermath

Great idea Wegmans, a shared experience. Now will we see the toy retailers put experts on twitter to help when #some-assembly-required?

Vahe Katros, Consultant, Plan B

Wegmans' use of Twitter is a good example of using the medium with a purpose. Too many brands feel compelled to open a Twitter account or FB page and then stumble in execution.

The information Wegmans is sharing is useful and adds a little fun to the holiday. This approach is in keeping with the Wegmans' style. Very personal and service oriented.

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Bill Hanifin, Managing Director, Hanifin Loyalty LLC

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