3 Ways Recipes Can Engage Brick And Mortar Shoppers
It's not that long ago that analysts were warning of a 'retail apocalypse' on the high street, the inevitable result of increased interest in eCommerce and a lack of innovation amongst some brick and mortar retailers. Gap, Lowes, Topshop and CVS are just some of the big names that have announced store closures over the past few years. Grocery retailers have been largely unaffected by the retail apocalypse because until recently, e-commerce has represented less of a threat to grocery retailers than it has to department stores, for example. That was before the pandemic, which drove previously sceptical consumers towards online grocery in huge numbers. Online grocery sales grew by 43% in a year since March 2020 and there was a 16.3% increase between February - March 2021.
It might surprise you then that 33% of U.S. consumers are doing their grocery shopping in-store, 48% have adopted a hybrid-approach of both online and in-store and 52% of people have shopped for groceries in-store more frequently following their vaccine.
Brick and mortar is still a preference for many grocery consumers, but following a year of online grocery, their expectations will have inevitably changed. Recipe inspiration is an example of an area that is well-established on many grocery retailer websites but often lacking in-store, and it's an area that can add real value for in-store customers. A staggering 77% of millennial parents search for recipes while in-store so the demand is already apparent.
How can brick and mortar grocery retailers replicate the meal planning and recipe sourcing experiences in-store?
1. Recipe cards
This might seem like an obvious strategy, but why complicate things? In-store recipe cards offer the dual benefits of convenience and inspiration. They're simple to produce, easy to display and consumers can take them home. When placed next to the relevant ingredients, they act as an analogue version of shoppable recipes, giving consumers access to everything they need in just a couple of steps. Waitrose did just that. This strategy provides instant gratification and can really capture the attention of those time-poor, post-work shoppers who are just popping in to grab dinner. Focusing on recipes that can be cooked in 30-minutes or less and placing the recipe cards and ingredients displays close to the front of the store will appeal to these busy shoppers. The convenience factor is the big play here, so it’s important to drive it home. Meal kit subscribers spend 28% more per grocery trip than the average grocery shopper so leveraging growing interest in convenience, scratch cooking and fresh inspiration in-store by positioning recipes an ingredients close together is a smart commercial decision.
2. QR codes
Before working from home became part of lives, we often saw tourists scanning the QR code next to the entrance to Recipe Guru HQ. The ‘scan to find out what’s inside’ call-to-action seems irresistible to the steady stream of tourists who were making their way to the Guinness Storehouse. This is a simple idea that easily translates to grocery stores, where curiosity and a thirst for fresh recipe inspiration create the perfect conditions for engagement. This strategy was implemented successfully by Albertsons using Pinterest’s Pincodes. When consumers scanned the code they were presented with a curated selection of recipes relevant to the surrounding ingredients. Consumers are never without their phones, and research shows that when a customer uses a digital device in-store, it results in a significant increase in basket value so driving people towards relevant recipe content while they use their phones in-store is a smart move.
3. Grocery apps & geo-location
While Pincodes send customers to curated Pinterest boards, directing consumers to a dedicated grocery retailer app is even more powerful. Not only can retailers position themselves as a reliable source of recipe inspiration on the go, but grocery retailer apps enable them to do so within their own ecosystem. Since data is key to offering a relevant shopping experience, insights gained from a customer’s browsing history on a dedicated grocery app can shape the way a retailer communicates and engages with that customer in-store. Geo-location is a powerful strategy that can be used in conjunction with grocery retailer apps. When a customer walks into the supermarket, the app could notify them of a special offer and present them with recipe content that makes use of the product on offer, for example. Grocery retailer apps also help place the grocery brand front and centre in the minds of consumers, building brand awareness and fostering loyalty. Since the majority of millennial parents are already browsing for recipes while in-store, it makes sense for grocery retailers to promote their apps throughout the store. Convenience is key here. Retailers should make it simple for consumers to locate and download the app, and use in-store signage to promote seasonal recipes. If geo-location is not an option right now, QR codes that send consumers to those recipes within the app are a good alternative. A massive 86% of consumers stop using shopping apps within 4 weeks, so adding regularly updated recipe inspiration gives them a reason to come back for more.
While digital recipe content is big news in online grocery right now, it’s clear that the way people consume that content has the potential to begin in brick and mortar stores. Embracing QR codes and recipe cards, or trying out strategies such as beacon technology and visually engaging digital displays, makes sense for grocery retailers hoping to translate the convenience of online grocery into stores. A customer in search of ingredients for tonight's dinner might already have something in mind, but a well-positioned recipe may become tomorrow's dinner, instantly increasing basket value. and potentially fostering loyalty. Competition in the grocery space is fierce right now, and with many consumers venturing out to brick and mortar grocery stores more frequently following vaccination, capturing the imagination of inquisitive, digitally-savvy and inspiration-hungry consumers is key to success.