Effective Shopper Communication Across the Store Footprint & Beyond
By Monica Amburn, MS, RD, LDN, Sr. Director of Health and Wellness, Vestcom
When it comes to communicating with shoppers, the experience is no longer limited to the four walls of the brick-and-mortar store thanks to the ever-growing influence of mobile and digital media. As retail dietitians, this means we have to think differently in how we craft nutrition messaging to ensure we maintain relevance with our shoppers. So where do we begin?
What does omni-channel mean? Essentially, this is a relatively new marketing concept that is focused on creating a seamless, integrated and consistent experience for shoppers when they move throughout the various channels of your messaging, from in-store to mobile. And very quickly, this has become a core philosophy to successful retailers. But it is also painfully obvious to shoppers when a retailer is not providing a positive omni-channel experience. For example, can you think of a time that you saw a special or promotion on-line or in an app that drove you to a particular store, but then that promotion was not actually available in the store? Or, perhaps you saw a great article on a retailer’s website about gluten free living, but in the store had a difficult time finding a variety of gluten free items? Either situation results in frustration, which does not boost a retailer’s brand, reputation or sales.
Therefore when it comes to nutrition messaging for shoppers, it is important not only for their benefit, but also for the benefit of your supermarket’s brand, that you have an accurate, consistent message and content across all of the available channels for your communications. Working with marketing, merchandising and leadership – from a store level or corporate level – can help you in assessing what your core nutrition messaging platform should incorporate. For example, if your merchandising department has increased its variety and offering of gluten free foods by 50% over the last year across all stores, you can help communicate this to shoppers in the circular ad, in an article on-line, via social media, in-store radio, shelf signage, and more.
To make sure you are truly engaging in your company’s omni-channel platform with your nutrition messaging, make sure you are active and aligned with the following departments at your retailer:
- Marketing/Digital Marketing
- Public Relations/Communications
And to ensure you are taking advantage of everything available to you for nutrition messaging, ask your departments how you can contribute to these communication channels:
- Shelf-edge nutrition attributes (gluten free, organic, low sodium, etc)
- Themed or promotional signage with nutrition tips
- Training employees/associates to be able to speak to shoppers about your nutrition program resources
- In-store radio
- Out of Store
- Web: Presence on your retailer’s website for nutrition articles, recipes, explanation of shelf-edge nutrition attributes
- Apps: Links to nutrition content on retailer’s shopping app (if applicable)
- E-commerce: Nutrition claims/attributes that match shelf-edge nutrition attributes available in-store, links to your web content
- Social Media
- Public Relations & Media work
At the end of the day we’re all in the business of selling food, and nutrition continues to be increasingly important to shoppers. So don’t hesitate to demonstrate to your retailer that as a retail dietitian, you can work with various departments to engage shoppers with wellness content through an omni-channel approach. It is a win-win for both you and the retailer – you get to communicate your nutrition platform on a larger scale, while helping your retailer increase brand loyalty and sales.