'Retail Apocalypse' may sound like the name of a low-budget made-for-tv movie you'd find on SyFy, but it counts some of the most well-known and at one time successful retailers amongst its real-world casualties. Gap, Lowes, Topshop and CVS are just some of the big names that have announced store closures this year. Grocery retailers have been largely unaffected by the retail apocalypse because e-commerce has represented less of a threat than it has to department stores, for example. This is no longer necessarily the case. Consumers are ready and willing to embrace online grocery, Amazon has entered the space in a big way, and online-only grocers with lower overheads are ready to compete.
What can brick and mortar grocery retailers do to meet the challenge presented to them by e-commerce, and to leverage its benefits in-store? The recipe for success might be just that - recipes. A staggering 77% of millennial parents search for recipes while in-store. In a similar way to how grocery retailers use recipes to keep consumers on-site, what if grocery retailers made finding recipe inspiration in-store a seamless experience?
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. Even better, grocery retailers can make them 'shoppable' by placing them next to relevant ingredients. 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. Placing recipe cards and ingredients right at the front of the store or near ready-meals makes a lot of sense. It also makes sense to stick to recipes that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. The convenience factor is the big play here, so it’s important to drive it home.
2. QR codes
Walk by the entrance to Recipe Guru HQ and you’re likely to come across a tourist scanning the QR code outside our building. The ‘scan to find out what’s inside’ call-to-action seems irresistible to many. This simple idea easily translates to grocery stores, as illustrated by Albertsons use of Pinterest’s Pincodes. When consumers scan the code they’re 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. Giving them a reason to do so while offering genuinely valuable recipe inspiration makes sense.
3. Grocery apps
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, but grocery 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. 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 of consumers to locate and download the app, and use in-store signage to promote seasonal recipes. Make use of QR codes to drive traffic towards those recipes in the app, and ensure that ingredients are readily available. A massive 86% of consumers stop using shopping apps within 4 weeks, so adding regularly updated recipe inspiration gives them a reason to stick with their favourite grocery app.
4. Meal kits
We've spoken at length about meal kits here, but retailers hoping to leverage the success of meal kits could move beyond partnering with existing meal kit companies and consider creating own-brand options. Meal kits were designed as a subscription service to offer convenience to consumers who wanted to cook from scratch but didn’t want the hassle of finding recipe inspiration, shopping for individual ingredients and figuring out how to use up leftovers. It has become clear to many meal kit companies that these benefits translate to in-store meal kits too. The data stacks up. In 2018, in-store meal kits sales accounted for 60% of all meal kit growth. It’s apparent that consumers are only too happy to grab and go in. Given that meal kit subscribers spend 28% more per trip than the average grocery shopper, enticing these big-spenders into the store is vital.
While digital recipe content is big news right now, it’s clear that the way people consume that content often begins 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 bring the convenient online experience into stores. A customer in search of ingredients for tonight's dinner might already have something in mind, but a well-placed recipes may become tomorrow's dinner, instantly increasing basket value. Competition in the grocery space is fierce right now, and with the majority of consumers still doing all or most of the grocery shopping in-store, capturing the imagination of inquisitive, time-poor companies is key to success.
In search of high-quality, chef-authored recipe content to engage your customers in-store or online? We'd love to help. Get in touch with our content team at email@example.com to chat about your recipe needs.