Category Archives: Generation Z

How To Encourage Shoppers to Return, and Be Glad They Did

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The recent duel trade show for the Independent Grocers Association (IGA) and the National Grocers Association (NGA) produced an idea that smart grocers across the country should be picking up on soon: Instore contests for shoppers to take the most imaginative “selfies” they can, with prizes awarded to winners – ideally selected by an independent party. (A local photo studio would probably be pleased to play that role, getting themselves some good PR in the process!)

Michael Sansolo, formerly editor of Progressivee Grocer, Senior VP at the FMI (Food Marketing Institute and presently a consultant and columnist for Morning News Beat, an industry blog, reported that shortly before a break in a program at that convention, a social media marketing company introduced the selfies idea. In the break room, “people went nuts,” Sansolo reported, when they found small props such as glittery sunglasses, false mustaches “and the ubiquitous selfie stick.”

So many photos were taken, “and some were so creative, [the marketing company] on the fly had to add two more prizes to reward people’s efforts”.

This is a program that could so easily be introduced at the store level companies would be foolish to not give it a try. Do it a store or region at a time. Offer actual prizes – displays of which would encourage participation – or reasonable level store coupons. However you try it, do so. You WILL win. You will create a sense of excitement, a challenge, something fun, parallel to the shopping experience.

A store coupon redeemable on your next visit is a great thing – a tool to get the shopper back in your store. In today’s retailing environment, you need to employ every tool you can.

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Meal Kits-Sellers Having Trouble Retaining Customers

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Meal Kits, where all of a meal’s ingredients are prepacked along with preparation instructions, a topic we first talked about here, got some recent attention from Fast Company (paywall), which reported on a new study from research firm 1010data, which “analyzed consumer-spending data that represents millions of consumers, revealing a significant retention problem for the major meal-kit delivery services – which ship recipes with pre-portioned ingredients to customers on a weekly basis. After the second week, only about 50% of customers stick with Blue Apron, 1010data found. Six months into their subscriptions, only about 10% remain. The firm found a similar pattern for HelloFresh and Plated.”
All the meal kit companies say that the study data is inaccurate and does not reflect their experience.
Fast Company writes that “if a large number of people drop their subscriptions, it is a problem for meal-kit companies because they often spend a lot of money to encourage customers to sign up. Blue Apron, for instance, offers a $30 discount to first-time customers, the equivalent of about three meals. HelloFresh offers a $15 discount to new customers. Plated offers two free meals with the first order. If customers don’t stick with their subscriptions for long, these companies don’t recoup that marketing spend.”
However, the story says, “Despite the retention problem, 1010data found that the meal-kit industry has grown over 500% since 2014. A food-consulting firm estimated that category will account for $3 billion to $5 billion of the online food shopping business in 10 years.”

Growth is almost assured for this market segment, if for no other reason than the Millennial coterie is continuing to advance into independent-living adulthood (except for those who continue, for assorted reasons, to live with their parents), and the next generational group, dubbed Generation Z, is following closely on their heels.

And these are age groups comprising many (many!) who are used to having things done for them, and/or having life simplified for them via ‘apps’ and variations on that theme. And meal kits definitely are a variation on that theme.

Ah, but, as Shakespeare put it, “here’s the rub”: Meal kits actually require users to do something – to actually prepare the meal themselves, albeit from pre-portioned packets of product.

I can hear them from here: “Boo, who wants to actually cook?”

Some who’ll say that no doubt also are disappointed when, upon visiting a zoo, it becomes apparent that one not only sees the animals but also smells them!

Time (and sales figures) will tell how the ‘who wants to actually cook’ crowd’s attitude will impact the future of meal kits.

I’m reminded of the country song where a man is lamenting how, in his divorce, “she got the gold mine, I got the shaft,” and says to himself “why didn’t I just learn how to cook!”