NGA: Independents Can Gain Ground with Digital Marketing
As mentioned in my
column last week on mobile marketing, the
independent segment of the supermarket industry has never widely been considered
to be at the vanguard of innovation. In fact, it occasionally seems that independent
supermarket owners are being dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.
there are certainly some community retailers that understand the potential
impact of new processes and technology. This was proved at a workshop on digital
shopper marketing at the National Grocers Association’s annual convention in
Las Vegas last week where about 50 retailers heard experts discuss how to increase
sales and margins through the enhancement of the store website and the use
of social media, search and (again!) mobile marketing.
Curt Alpeter, executive
vice president of MyWebGrocer, started the session reviewing the digital tools
available to retailers, including search engine optimization. He also discussed
the importance of the shopper having control of how, when and where messages
and offers are communicated.
Arthur Ackles, director of marketing at Roche Bros.,
gave two case studies on how effective digital marketing can be if done right.
In the first example, Roche Bros., an 18-store chain in New England, mailed
cards listing a personalized website with customized offers to 7,600 shoppers.
About 10 percent responded by logging on to the site and 91 percent of those
shoppers read through the entire offer and took some action. The program had
responses four months after initial mailing.
In the second example, Roche spent about
$48,000 to place ads on search engine sites and conduct a search engine optimization
program, which resulted in $1 million in incremental revenue. The retailer
is still seeing about 100 net new customers from the effort per month.
also has online shopping through MyWebGrocer, with an average basket size of
$150, more than half of which is incremental, Mr. Ackles said. He added that
online sales are now the equivalent of a small store with considerably less
Discussion Questions: How important is digital among the marketing tools available to independent retailers? Will digital marketing spending exceed traditional marketing tools by 2015?