Transforming Grocery Loyalty

Local Love: Leveraging Community Ties for Grocery Success

In the retail sector, especially among grocers, fostering deeper emotional connections with consumers and driving brand loyalty requires innovative approaches beyond traditional, passive loyalty programs offering small discounts and impersonal messaging. Recognizing the importance of customer loyalty to compete with mass retailers, regional grocers and independents are leveraging their unique position as integral members of local communities to foster a deeper, more personal connection with customers. This is achieved through:

  1. Offering high-touch customer service that makes shoppers feel valued.

  2. Providing high-quality, locally sourced products that support the local economy.

  3. Marketing the proximity of their stores as a convenient choice for local customers.

  4. Embracing their genuine connection to the community and understanding of local needs.

To amplify these efforts, technology plays a crucial role. By using tech to collect and analyze customer data, grocers can gain insights into individual preferences and shopping habits, enabling the creation of loyalty programs and promotions tailored for each shopper. Automated personalized messaging and customized discounts significantly enhance the loyalty of the shopper and the overall value of the loyalty program.

Successful grocery loyalty programs like Safeway's Just for U, Big Y's myBigY, and Meijer's mPerks illustrate how personalized, digital-first loyalty programs that offer exclusive deals and personalized discounts based on individual shopping habits can make offers feel more personal and valuable to each customer. These programs not only retain customers but also foster loyalty and repeat business by integrating a more personalized and engaging approach to the customer journey. Despite the success of such programs, many grocery retailers are missing out on leveraging customer data to build meaningful relationships with their customers.

To effectively engage customers and implement a successful grocery store loyalty program, grocers must unify first-party data for insights, configure loyalty management systems, enhance engagement channels, employ programmatic targeting, and develop a centralized hub for CRM, audience building, and analytics. However, the reality is that many grocers still fail to take the necessary steps to improve their loyalty programs. This is often because they don't have the systems in place or the resources available to implement the strategy. To bridge this gap, Mercatus has introduced AisleOne, a dynamic, comprehensive customer engagement solution that leverages individual data insights and operational capabilities to create truly personal customer experiences, offering a streamlined approach to fostering loyalty and repeat business. Several grocers we work with are leveraging AisleOne to win back market share from Mass Retailers through a loyalty program that goes beyond the basics.

Randy Crimmins

President of AisleOne