Grocery stores will always be around. The vast majority of consumers rely on in-store grocery shopping for their produce, fruit, meat, packaged food items, household cleaning products, seasonal decorations, and even their specialty cakes for birthdays and holidays. For this reason, grocery stores simply cannot be replaced. They are a primary staple of daily life.  

But that doesn't mean that grocery stores should fall technologically behind. Like all retail businesses, grocery stores must keep up with consumer expectations and provide a modernized shopping experience in order to retain customers and increase sales. 

A strong marketing strategy can positively impact sales and business growth. For many grocers, however, knowing precisely which marketing strategies will serve them best is a total mystery. 

In this article, we will dispel the mystery. Whether you own and operate a large chain of supermarkets, a local grocery store, or a small niche delicatessen, we invite you to peek behind the curtain and discover firsthand how to increase sales at your grocery store using our proven, technology-based, in-store marketing techniques in tandem with your: 

  • • Point-of-Sale System
  • • Digital Signage Solution
  • • Loyalty Rewards Program
  • • Inventory Management Software
  • • In-Store Promotional Campaigns

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POINT-OF-SALE 

A Point-of-Sale system, or POS for short, is the payment processing system a grocery store uses in order to complete sales transactions at the checkout registers. When a customer pays for their groceries at the checkout register, the cashier processes the sales transaction using the store's POS system. Depending on the grocery store, a POS system can be as simple as a pen and notepad or as sophisticated as a fully digitized cloud-based system with advanced inventory control and record-keeping capabilities. 

Your grocery store's Point-of-Sale system could serve as a powerful marketing tool, but this will depend on the built-in technology it comes with. Needless to say, a pen and notepad POS system is not going to cut it. 

How can your Point-of-Sale system increase sales at your grocery store? 

The fact of the matter is that a computerized Point-of-Sale system is the main hub of a store's entire business. Every transaction is recorded within the POS. Customer data is constantly collected and inventory is carefully tracked within the POS, as well. The way you can use your grocery store POS to increase sales is by setting up automated personalization. 

As soon as a customer initiates the checkout process at the POS register, the cashier will pull up the customer's profile within the POS system based on their phone number or scan card. This triggers the POS to suggest additional, personalized products to the customer that are relevant to their shopping history. This kind of automated personalization creates upselling and cross-selling opportunities for the cashier and can lead to a substantial boost in sales.   

Any time you have a customer's attention is an opportunity to market products of interest to them. A well-built, digitized POS system will help you take advantage of the prime marketing moment when cashiers interface with shoppers at the checkout registers. By integrating a combination of customer-facing displays with cashier-facing POS screens, you can create the perfect opportunity to directly market additional products to customers. Using automation and personalization, the following POS features can increase sales before each checkout process is complete: 

  • Uplift pop-up scripts for cashiers to upsell and cross-sell personalized product recommendations
  • Specialty pricing and configurable discounts that are automatically triggered by sell dates and quantities
  • Integrated loyalty rewards program capabilities that offer fast sign up at the registers
  • Lottery ticket sales and management features

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DIGITAL SIGNAGE 

A modernized alternative to printed promotional signs, digital signage is considered a sub-segment of electronic signage. Digital signage solutions network together many LCD or LED digital screens using "centrally managed" software. All promotional content is uploaded into the centrally managed software where it is organized, scheduled, and deployed to the various digital screens throughout the store. When using digital signage, grocers can expose their customers to far more promotional content than would be possible with static, printed signs. 

Considering the technological capabilities that digital signage provides, digital signage is perhaps the greatest in-store marketing and advertising tool that a grocer can use to alert shoppers to sale items, promotional deals, and other important advertisements.  

Are you getting the most out of your digital signage? Is your displayed content increasing sales? If not, here's what you can do about it... 

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the actual in-store placement of your digital screens. The wrong placement could render your shoppers oblivious to the sales you're trying to promote. The best places to install your digital screen are near the POS registers, behind the deli and bakery counters, and in the street-facing windows so that outside consumers are exposed to your promotions. 

Equally if not more important than screen placement is the actual content you display on your digital signage. Your content must be easy to read, aesthetically pleasing, and include a CTA, or call-to-action, so that shoppers know how to take advantage of every deal you're marketing. The most effective digital content ideas include promoting your best sellers as well as lesser-known products, sharing positive online reviews, and advertising limited-time offers.  

Grocery store digital signage has the power to promote sales, display timely promotions, boost brand reputation, and encourage customer loyalty rewards program enrollment. But that's not all. Digital signage can also help expedite the entire shopping process for customers when in-store screens are used to display: 

  • Wayfinding maps and aisle floor plans, listing item categories
  • Price comparisons for popular brand-name items
  • Special buy-in-bulk discounts and deals that expire soon
  • Dayparted information at the deli, bakery, butcher, and seafood counters

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LOYALTY REWARDS 

Customer loyalty rewards programs, first and foremost, are marketing strategies unto themselves. These programs are designed to incentivize each member to increase their shopping frequency and expenditures. By offering members access to special deals, discounts, and the chance to earn "points" with every purchase, loyalty programs promote customer retention. In addition to improving customer retention, loyalty programs also track and collect critical data about each program member's shopping habits. This data can then be used to personalize campaigns and develop better promotional strategies in the future. 

A solid loyalty program that offers a mobile app extension and swag shop items can help set your grocery store apart from the competition, fostering engagement with shoppers and increasing sales.   

Has your customer loyalty rewards program gone stagnant? How can you reinvigorate your program incentives so that members shop more often, buy more products, and boost your sales? 

Earning points that can be used to redeem products should be fun. If your loyalty program has fallen flat, there's a good chance that somewhere along the line your rewards incentives either started to bore your members or they were too difficult to attain. Not to worry. Pumping excitement back into your loyalty program to generate sales isn't as hard as you think. 

A good place to start is to simply switch up the type of loyalty program structure that your program offers. For example, have you been primarily using a points-based structure? Try launching a tiered-based structure instead. What if you've been using a tiered-based structure? Your tiers might be too hard to reach. Consider lowering the points thresholds of each tier so that members have an easier time climbing the ranks. Offer VIP benefits as part of a VIP structure. And remember, you can never go wrong with gamification. Any program structure can be gamified using a little creativity and a lot of points-earning competition between members. In other words, if you make earning points easier, your members will start having fun again.  

As you can see, increasing revenue at your grocery store starts with improving customer loyalty. One of the strongest tools in your marketing toolbox is your customer loyalty rewards program. Rewards programs are a cut above the rest, because these programs collect valuable customer data which you can use to launch highly personalized promotional campaigns. Reach, engage, and reward your loyal customers using the following loyalty rewards program features: 

  • Exclusive swag shop items
  • Mobile app integration
  • Email marketing campaign capabilities
  • Personalization in every marketing campaign

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INVENTORY MANAGEMENT 

Inventory management software is designed to track and manage all inventory items as they journey along the supply chain. By tracking stock levels and stock movement digitally within a centralized inventory management software system, grocers can exercise better control over their inventory and avoid reordering errors that lead to overstocking or understocking products. A technologically advanced POS system should come with excellent inventory management features that provide real-time inventory tracking, automated reorder setpoints, and improved organizational control. 

Inventory management software, whether it comes with your POS system or you've installed it separately, can be your greatest marketing friend. How? Your inventory data can tell you which products are hot and which are not, and you can design your promotional campaigns accordingly.  

How exactly can you use your inventory data to increase sales at your grocery store? 

First, you'll need to analyze the history of your inventory levels. A ton of customer data can be indirectly discovered when inventory management data is analyzed, and this valuable customer data isn't necessarily readily available from CRM or POS software data. For example, when comparing the last three years, you can see fluctuations in your best-selling items that can inform your reorder points for next year. This is a great way to make smarter purchasing decisions when you're filling your shelves after a holiday rush. 

Based on your inventory data analysis, you can also offer digital or printed coupons for slow-moving products, which will free up shelf space once they're sold out. The data can also inform your reorder points and help you maintain enough on-hand quantity to meet customer demand without having to store excess. Since inventory has carrying costs and those carrying costs can be substantial, you will end up saving money if you can accurately forecast upcoming demands and stock your shelves accordingly.  

While the primary purpose of inventory management software is to ensure your shelves are stocked with enough products to meet consumer demand, a secondary benefit of using inventory management technology at your grocery store is that it can generate insightful data that you can leverage in your marketing campaigns, as we just explained. The key features within your inventory management software that can ultimately help you design your marketing campaigns and target your segmented customer groups include: 

  • Real-time data reports that highlight your bestsellers and slow-moving products
  • Demand forecasting that ensures your stocked up on in-demand products
  • Task automation that frees up your sales staff to assist shoppers so they aren't stuck manually adjusting inventory levels
  • Analytics capabilities that enable you to make data-driven business decisions

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IN-STORE PROMOTIONAL EVENTS 

In-store marketing refers to a wide array of marketing strategies, most of which we've covered in this article so far, such as upselling and cross-selling at the POS, displaying attention-grabbing promos on your digital signage, and keeping your customer loyalty program incentives fun, fresh, and highly rewarding. But there is one more effective in-store marketing strategy that can benefit grocery stores—in-store promotional events. 

Even if your grocery store or supermarket chain continues to be restricted due to COVID-19-related social distancing and in-store customer capacity limitations, hosting fun, interactive, in-store events can still be an effective addition to your overall marketing strategy and help increase sales at your grocery store in the long run.  

What in-store promotional events can you host to build customer relationships, increase brand awareness, and boost revenue? 

Shoppers miss grocery store samples, and local brands miss hosting sample promos in grocery stores even more. COVID-19 certainly put a damper on promoting specialty food brands in-store by offering free product samples to customers, but things are gradually turning around. As of the writing of this article, grocery stores have resumed their free sample stations in-store and doing so has positively boosted their sales. 

For the more adventurous grocers, hosting cooking lessons and holding educational classes are the kinds of in-store events that have the power to elevate your brand image, which can lead to an increase in customer loyalty and sales revenue. The simplest way to host an event of this caliber is to partner with a local food brand or an author who recently published a cookbook. This way, your event partner will bring the expertise needed to handle the real hosting responsibilities, while you as the grocer can supply the space and organize the attendees. 

Offering free samples, hosting cooking lessons, and holding educational classes at your grocery store are just a few in-store promotional events that can indirectly lead to an increase in sales revenue. These events can also massively improve brand awareness and business reputation throughout your community. If you're unable to host in-store promotional events, consider trying these alternative ideas to market your grocery store: 

  • Broadcast a cooking lesson through Facebook Live
  • Offer educational classes via Zoom, Skype, or another video communications platform
  • Run a contest and provide the winners with branded swag with your grocery store's logo
  • Use Instagram as a "shout out" platform to thank your most loyal customers

    Are you ready to increase sales at your grocery store? FTx Solutions has the keys to unlock your profit potential. Increase sales, improve your decision-making capabilities, implement effective marketing campaigns, and create additional revenue with our business solutions for grocery stores. 

    FTx POS provides a truly user-friendly Point-of-Sale system that serves as a marketing powerhouse. Utilizing a fully customizable touchscreen interface, our POS is intuitive and simplified on the surface, yet dynamic at its core, collecting comprehensive data during every transaction. Create custom configurable discounts triggered by the criteria you designate and schedule all of your promotions to run automatically on the dates of your choosing. 

    FTx Digital Signage can promote and sell your grocery products for you. Our in-store digital signs have display capabilities that include menu boards, dayparting, split-screen advertising, and rotating ad content to keep shoppers engaged and informed. With our user-friendly Control Center, you can schedule your digital content days, weeks, months, or even years in advance. Plus, making on-the-fly changes from any device is easy. Best of all, FTx offers compatible design software, empowering you to create 100% of your digital content yourself without having to hire a professional graphic designer. FTx AdPro is free and signing up to get started does not require any payment information. 

    FTx offers three customer loyalty rewards programs. Our Integrated Loyalty solution comes standard with our FTx POS system. Integrated Loyalty makes it easy to participate in manufacturer loyalty programs, as well as create your own loyalty campaigns. Our next program, Enhanced Loyalty, is a premium upgrade that lets you run an unlimited number of loyalty campaigns consecutively. You can also track and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns using Enhanced Loyalty's robust reporting module. Lastly, our Cloud Loyalty solution offers a unique, multi-tiered marketing platform where your customers can not only actively participate in your promotions, but they can also invite their friends and family to join as well!  

    Contact our grocery store marketing specialists today to find out more about what FTx can do for you.