Save-A-Lot Delivers to Bring In New Shoppers

Discussion
Aug 26, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Nothing says "we want you as a customer" like free groceries.

Instead of taking
more traditional approaches to a new store opening, such as newspaper inserts,
ads or radio spots, a Save-A-Lot in Louisiana decided to go directly to potential
customers in the area with bags of free groceries.

In a test in a small
town about an hour outside of Baton Rouge, Save-A-Lot delivered a bag filled
with $10 – $20 worth of shelf-stable store brand items to about 1,000 homes
within a mile-and-a-half radius of the store.

Mark Kotcher, director of brand marketing
and design for Save-A-Lot, told Advertising
Age
, "We’re always looking for new ways to break through. A lot
of grocery advertising today is people saying ‘Our prices are the lowest,
our prices are the lowest.’ Well, we believe in proof points and what better
way than to take it right to [the customer’s] front door?"

The store
invited those receiving the free products to let their friends and neighbors
know all about it. According to the article, one person wrote on Facebook, "Dearest
neighbors … come home for lunch! It seems there are free groceries being
delivered by Save-A-Lot to your door steps."

"It’s been tremendously successful," Mr. Kotcher told Ad Age. "We’re
glad it has legs, and we’re thrilled that it’s become part of the social-media
landscape."

Discussion Question: What do you think of Save-A-Lot’s approach to attracting
shoppers to its new store in Louisiana? Does this type of direct marketing promotion
have applications beyond new store openings?

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12 Comments on "Save-A-Lot Delivers to Bring In New Shoppers"


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Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
10 years 8 months ago

Personal recognition–and free groceries–mean a lot to most consumers. What Save-A-Lot did for its store opening is creative and, as creativity usual does, it will give Save-A-Lot a strong initial bond with the community it wishes to serve.

Justin Time
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

This is so cool. I think this kind of promotion can be highly effective.

Now all of those townspeople think Save-A-Lot is the greatest grocer in town by delivering free bags of food to individual homes.

Way to go, Save-A-Lot.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 8 months ago

Creative and interesting. You can deliver a lot of groceries vs. a $50,000 ad budget. This does have applications for all sorts of products and retailers. Try my product; it’s a good concept!

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
10 years 8 months ago

They should do it for a new store in New Orleans which, since Katrina, has become one of the worst “food deserts” in the U.S. Save-A-Lot would become a hero to a lot of people.

David Livingston
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Save-A-Lot has been opening stores in the food deserts of New Orleans, however, as soon as Wal-Mart reopened, they were made redundant.

Typically I’m finding Save-A-Lot in Louisiana under-performing, even when they are the only store in the food desert. It’s mostly a cultural thing. First, consumers don’t see Save-A-Lot as a low priced store if there is a Wal-Mart nearby. Then, in Louisiana a successful store needs tobacco, alcohol, freshly baked French bread, and locally manufactured Cajun foods. What you end up with at Save-A-Lot is a food desert inside a food desert, since Save-A-Lot in Louisiana looks like a Save-A-Lot in Ohio.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Save-A-Lot is not the leader in the grocery market field so they have to be creative driving traffic. This is a great idea. It will work much better in a smaller market or location than in a larger market. Someone said you can give out many $20-$50.00 bags of groceries for the same cost of a $50,000 advertising budget. The give away gets you much more word of mouth publicity than any amount of advertising. Way to go Save-A-Lot. You have started something others will be following. If you want my address to make a delivery I will be pleased to accommodate.

Roger Saunders
Guest
10 years 8 months ago
Sharp move on Save-A-Lot’s part. They are paying close attention to consumer views. And, taking the “in-store” experience directly to the consumer makes a great deal of sense. This is NOT to say that all retailers can execute upon the strategy. However, based on the June, 2010 Simultaneous Media Usage Survey (SIMM) from BIGresearch, when 23,000+ respondents were asked, “Please tell us which of the following media influence your grocery purchases” over 30 ‘New’ and Traditional media forms, 70.9% mentioned COUPONS, and # 2 was IN-STORE, which was called out by 54.4% of the respondents. Those media were followed by Advertising Insert (42.8%), Word of Mouth (40.4%), and Newspaper (35.9%). When these consumers were asked which of 21 different in-store promotions impacted their purchasing decisions, they responded in this order of preference: Product Samples In-StoreStore Loyalty CardsRead Product LabelsIn-Store FlyersShelf CouponsProduct Samples delivered to Home Save-A-Lot has a smart move here in building trial and “pulling” consumers to the store. If they deliver on the promise once the consumer is in-store, they have a very… Read more »
Kate Ellis
Guest
Kate Ellis
10 years 8 months ago

Wal-Mart has a well established brand that is synonymous with low price and so Save-A-Lot is already fighting the uphill battle for this space in consumers’ minds. A low store price image is an essential part of Save-A-Lot’s future success and so offering free groceries is a nice break from the traditional deep discount crazy store openings.

The act of giving a gift also creates a reciprocal call to action which will compel consumers to try the new store. The proof will be the in-store experience and Save-A-Lot’s ability to establish the low store price image when consumers have to pay for their groceries.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Excellent idea to get people through the door first time. Big challenge is follow-through to get them through the door second and third time.

John Karolefski
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

This introductory promotion will obviously create valuable brand awareness for Save-A-Lot. But it also puts the pressure on them to follow up with creative promotions and ways to engage shoppers. Don’t fall back and be part of the crowd. Differentiate!

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
10 years 8 months ago
I like Save-A-Lot’s free grocery promo on several levels. First, it worked in generating the desired buzz, and it worked in generating feel-good emotions among grocery recipients. But what rises to the top for me is that this promo is another good example of a sampling program that’s a bit disruptive (unexpected) and taken outside the store’s four walls. Such sampling ensures the consumer has the opportunity to sample the goods from a brand that they’re unfamiliar with, but with little risk of buying a brand they may not like. That type of off-site sampling is definitely applicable to brands across the industry. Whether they’re hawking cosmetics, groceries, furniture or apparel, taking the brand to the people is a viable opportunity. All that said, we need to keep in mind that while these types of promos do generate brand interest, the ultimate test still remains whether shoppers make Save-A-Lot a regular stop on their pantry refill shopping list. Doing that will take more than a one-off, word-of-mouth generating promo. Now the brand’s everyday shopping experience… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
10 years 8 months ago

As a former supermarket marketing VP, I love it. So direct and so sublime. I hope it works. And if it does, I suggest that as a next step, both Save-A-Lot and other supermarkets around the U.S. use this tactic to promote their private label around established stores, not just for grand openings.

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