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It’s impossible to dispute the effect that merchandising giants like Walmart and Amazon have had on the retail industry, and now with the launch of Amazon Go, Amazon’s very own supermarket, grocers everywhere are wondering what it will mean for the future of their stores. Exceedingly diverse food options as well as highly flexible shopping experiences have also led to a shift in customer expectations.
Increased competition from the big players in the industry is prompting a closer look at the value of grocery store loyalty programs. Shoppers today know that many options exist for filling their refrigerators and stocking their pantries, although in many markets the once weekly haul is giving way to smaller trips to numerous markets and online deliveries.
Research shows that just twelve percent of customers shop exclusively at a single store. Interestingly, however, other studies reports that 68% of consumers belong to at least two grocery store rewards programs, and 60% of shoppers consider themselves loyal to a particular store.
Women tend to take advantage of loyalty programs more than men: Only about half of male shoppers reported using a grocery loyalty program during the previous three months compared to 65% of female shoppers. All told, it can be acknowledged that for any member of the population, the choice to join a grocery loyalty program is largely motivated by cost savings above any other program or incentive.
A marketer’s ability to understand more about individual shopping habits, personal preferences and even basic demographics are influencing strategies in almost every business today. Grocery loyalty programs, as widespread as they are, must address factors other than price and should be tailored to create a unique customer experience in order to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
While these programs impact customer loyalty, many stores are looking to the experience as a way to establish a special connection with customers. One common focus for grocers today is to address the needs of the time-starved shopper, whether they are a busy parent, dual-income partner, or busy city dweller. Incentives like advanced ordering, drive-through pick-up, curbside delivery, in-store cafes, quick-check-out options, or a broad selection of ready-to-cook prepared selections are only some of the services that will likely become features of an increasing number of grocery stores in the future.
Grocery is a market destined to see major changes, and not just to their loyalty programs. For individual stores, these changes should be motivated by a greater understanding of the people who browse their aisles. What is most important to them? Are their motivations price or convenience-based? Do they have a family? Where do they live? Are they interested in ingredients or food origin? Do they cook? Have they ever used a prepared meal delivery service? A grocer’s ability to answer questions like these and use them to inform loyalty programs or modifications to their store operations will be a major factor in their future success.
The post The Next Phase for Grocery Store Loyalty Programs appeared first on Clutch.
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