I like shopping at the Price Chopper near me. It’s clean, well-lit, and has a wide selection of products and wide enough aisles you don’t find yourself doing The Bump with a chunky fellow shopper. The produce is the freshest and most beautiful I’ve seen anywhere. And, as its name suggests, the store does chop prices.So I was delighted when I went in and was offered a new Price Chopper Rewards card to replace the battered Chopper card on my keyring. Now, if I buy X dollars’ worth of groceries between now and June 22, I can accumulate enough points to get $50 worth of groceries free!
But that’s not all. Because I registered for the card, they sent me a link to their new website, where I can find store specials, get quick, easy recipes, and even make up my shopping list and print it out to take to the store.
Has the quality of their products changed? Nope. They already were pretty great. What has changed is the way they are reaching out to me and letting me know they care about keeping me and even expanding their relationship with me. They’re claiming more space in my brain — the space that used to be occupied by other grocery chains.
Not sure who’s behind this new marketing effort, but it’s a great example of how marketers can build strong relationships with customers. It gives us a reason to pay more attention to Price Chopper and get more involved via the website. It’s clear they’re thinking about and offering what shoppers want and need — good prices, convenience, and helpful ideas. And the rewards program means we’ll be doing more of our shopping there, rather than spreading it out among several chains.
Soon, I imagine you’ll see similar programs from Hen House and HyVee. That is, if they’re smart. Hen House’s prices are generally higher than those of the other area grocery chains, though they do have a discount card good on special items. HyVee isn’t particularly cheap, and they don’t have a discount program at all, except for a couple of cents off gas at their gas station. Big whoop. The reason I go to HyVee at all is that they have a lot of gluten-free products, and the prices on them are lower than at Whole Foods, a.k.a. Whole Paycheck.
Side note: Gluten-free is one area where the other chains have dipped in a toe but not really committed to diving into offering a full line of products. As awareness of gluten intolerance grows, so will this market segment. Retailers eventually will realize that gluten-intolerant people are willing to pay more for the products they need and go out of their way to shop where they can get them.
So the key to marketing today is not “tell and sell,” but true customer service. Letting customers know you really want to help them out with better products, better ways to shop your store, and time-saving, value-added services. Online is the new grocery marketing frontier. Wagons ho!