News Feature | November 12, 2013

Grocery And Convenience Store IT News For VARs — November 12, 2013

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
Follow Me On Twitter @AnnaRoseWelch

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This week, articles look at the trend of mobile apps for convenience stores and at new technology that scans faces in to gauge effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Mobile Becomes More Prominent In C-Stores

In a two part-article, “The Year of the App,” Convenience Store News interviews Rutter’s Farm Stores and Verge Retailer about mobile app development, strategy, and results. Part one highlights features of the company’s mobile app. Feedback features, store locators, and social media integration have been particularly important features to build loyalty and create open communication between retailer and customer. Part two features the insights from Carson Keuhne of Verge Retail, the app developer. The rising number of smartphones and competition from other stores already providing mobile has led the c-store vertical to accept the necessity of mobile. In order to reach consumers, branded apps are, according to Keuhne, the most important customer-facing initiative. A brand app can be accessed on a phone anywhere and anytime. Similarly, apps cut down on the material marketing costs because there is no need for printed ads and customers provide the marketing medium themselves.

Technology Scans Faces In Check-Out Line, Tailors Marketing Strategies

Steve Hawkes for The Telegraph elaborates on a new technology entering the British supermarket scene. To meet the increasing need to reach consumers effectively through advertisements, the solution scans the faces of customers waiting in check-out lines to determine age and gender for advertisers. This technology judges how successful advertisements are by how long customers watch each ad playing on the screen. “Real-time” data is then sent to advertisers to enable marketers to cater ads to specific demographics and determine when are the best times to air the ads. While this technology has raised some privacy concerns from consumers, others are optimistic that it could aid a supermarket’s ability to interact with customers.

Grocery and Convenience Store Talking Points

Natalie Henley for Convenience Store Decisions provides seven steps retailers can follow to strengthen social media marketing. The article also points out social media can allow a company to measure referral traffic, positively affect SEO programs, and increase branded traffic.

Meg Major for Progressive Grocer highlights seven newly discovered consumer segments that exist in the natural/organic/eco-friendly product market. For retailers and manufacturers looking to improve sales of natural/organic products, “True Believers” and “Enlightened Environmentalist” segments hold the most potential. These two segments account for 46 percent of all natural/organic product sales. 

Supermarket News profiles some of the changes grocers are implementing to improve the marketing and outreach of new produce offerings. According to the article, social media is an important strategy to increase interest in seasonal or new produce. Posting pictures on Facebook and drawing attention to the product’s scarcity/ limited-time offer produces a stronger customer response. 

Grocery Headquarters reveals food trends for 2014. According to Sterling-Rice Group’s 2014 Top Ten Food Trends, lemon, tea, and milk made from various nuts will be increasingly important ingredients in recipes. Similarly, exotic meats like goat, rabbit, and pigeon, and Mediterranean flavorings will increase in popularity.

Walter Hamilton and Tiffany Hsu for the Los Angeles Times discuss the recent cuts to the SNAP benefits program and the effect these cuts will have on food retailers.