Marketing a small grocery store can be a challenge.
You are competing against larger stores with more resources and need to find ways to get your name out without breaking the bank.
Technology is fast becoming a necessity for grocery stores. Whether it be automated inventory management or robust reporting and analytics, it’s crucial to look forward and embrace the technology that helps your store thrive.
Fortunately, several practical marketing ideas can help you reach your target audience and bring customers to your store, and you can implement them with help from a modern point of sale (POS) system.
In this blog post, we’ll share eight practical ideas for marketing your grocery store so you can reach more customers and boost sales.
Marketing Ideas for Small Grocery Stores: It Starts With a Plan
Fail to plan, plan to fail. Without a robust marketing plan, you’re losing out on customers and revenue. Don’t know where to start? Start with your goals. What are your goals?
Is it brand awareness? More revenue? More foot traffic? Maybe it’s all three. Whatever your goals are, you can hit them with some creativity and clever planning. Research your target market early to ensure you’re marketing your store using channels that will effectively reach them.
But most importantly, be consistent. We’re going to show you some ideas you can implement right away, but you don’t need to do them all at once. And if an idea doesn’t work immediately? That’s OK. Don’t throw in the towel. Give it time to work.
Determine how you’ll define success. Is it more revenue? Do you want loyal customers or just more customers? Of course, you must track return on investment (ROI) and factor costs into implementing your ideas.
Next, think about your unique selling points. Perhaps you focus more on local produce. Maybe you offer products that your competitors don’t. The important thing is to ensure you’re visible to your local residents. Without marketing, you just have a store you’re hoping people will visit.
1. Locally Grown Produce
It’s no secret that consumers are savvier now than ever before. Organic food is on trend, there’s a ‘protein version’ of so many foods, and people want fresh, healthy meals. Locally grown produce is better for the environment. It doesn’t need to be preserved and delivered from elsewhere. Clever slogans like ‘farm to table’ entice shoppers to buy food that they believe is healthier.
When setting up your store, try making local produce a feature. Have a dedicated section, and make a big deal out of it. It feels more special and will draw attention.
Think about your local community, too. Is it multicultural? For example, if you have a large Mexican community in your neighborhood, you could have a section dedicated to Mexican culture and cooking.
2. Effective In-Store Advertising
Customers are inspired when they’re shopping. Sure, they might have a list of things they need to buy, but with effective in-store marketing, you can encourage them to try something new. Cleverly placed advertisements draw attention to deals and offers – think custom posters and banners.
With a modern grocery POS system, you can use inventory reports to see what sells well in your store, and advertise those products in easy-to-see and easy-to-reach places. And what isn’t selling well? You might entice shoppers to buy those goods by offering "everything must go" deals.
You can also use your POS system to offer mix and match pricing and advertise those deals. For example, a sandwich costs $4, a bag of chips is $1, and a soda is $2. Instead of charging $7, you offer a discount and charge $5. Consumers are drawn to deals, and you encourage them to buy all three items for a small discount.
3. Seasonal Campaigns and Trends
In addition to ongoing marketing campaigns, you can take advantage of seasonality. You can create marketing campaigns around Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and, as we mentioned earlier, holidays that mean something to your local community.
Smaller grocery stores can do this well. With smaller stores comes fewer opportunities to steal shoppers' attention, but you can use that to your advantage. You might not have a huge budget to produce marketing materials for every occasion, but you can cleverly place seasonal offers and products for maximum effect.
Similarly, look for trends. Use inventory data to see what’s selling well, what isn’t, and why. Is it the time of year? Is this normal for your store? Tap into what your customers want. Using seasonal and other trends to inform orders and inventory management will boost profits, and your customers will be happy that what they want is in stock.
4. Email Marketing
Great POS systems allow you to gather customer data for marketing purposes. By capturing email addresses, you can get to know your customers and have a point of contact to send newsletters, deals, promotions, and coupons.
It’s important not to spam your customers with deals and offers on products they don’t want or need. It’s equally important to personalize offers to your customers. For example, you could provide money-off coupons on a few products a customer buys regularly. You can also use previous purchases and preferences to create relevant offers.
Let your customers know about new product lines, seasonal produce offers, and any changes you’re making. They won’t know about deals and offers if you don’t tell them. You might even send recipes and cooking tips encouraging shoppers to buy certain products.
5. Loyalty Programs
Most of the time, marketing efforts focus on bringing in new customers, but you should spend a large chunk of your budget on customer retention.
We mentioned money-off coupons for repeat purchases, but that’s just touching the surface. You could also:
- Start a referral program. If a customer tells a friend or family member about your store, they both receive a discount.
- Send free samples of new products and ask for feedback before selling them in your store.
- Offer exclusive perks like an extra five percent off sale items.
- Get freebies reserved exclusively for members.
A modern POS system makes loyalty programs easy. There are many customer loyalty and point system platforms on the market, but POS Nation's system has loyalty features baked in. You can track points to reward customers once they reach specified point levels. Ring up an order, select the customer profile, and watch the system do all the loyalty program work for you!
6. Branded Reusable Shopping Bags
It might seem like an expensive outlay, but sustainability is crucial to shoppers, especially health and socially conscious shoppers. Businesses everywhere are pledging to lower or end the use of single-use plastics.
Ditch plastic bags and provide (for a cost) sustainable tote bags with your logo on them. The more you encourage people to use them, the less you’ll spend on plastic bags. In local areas, this is great! People will see you’re trying to be sustainable, and your store name and logo are in front of more potential customers.
Be sure to display tote bags prominently, even before customers enter the checkout area.
7. Create an Online and Social Media Presence
You need a social media presence if you’re going to promote your store. Without it, you’ll miss out on customers. You don’t need to do paid ads, but if you have the budget and work with a reputable local advertising agency, you can draw in residents. This is especially useful if your store isn’t easily visible.
Local grocery stores can create an online presence with fun videos, posts around deals, seasonal offers, and customer stories. You can inspire shoppers with recipes, food safety tips, and more.
You might also run contests or feature giveaways. You can offer prizes for the winners. That might be a gift card, a special prize bundle, or a 10 percent discount for three months. Whatever you decide, it has to be enticing and create a buzz.
8. Coupons and Deals
Coupons aren’t just for loyalty programs. Sometimes it builds good faith to offer coupons and deals without any strings attached.
Most shoppers love a bargain, right? If you can’t send coupons via email, you can place ads and coupons in your local newspaper or social media feeds. If you have physical addresses, send a coupon book with discounts on the products those customers buy most frequently.
Our POS software allows you to not only accept coupons – you can also create coupons!
Marketing Ideas for Small Grocery Stores: POS Nation is Here to Help
A modern POS system can make your marketing efforts simple to implement and track, so you can maximize ROI.
Our grocery POS software can:
- Store an unlimited number of items.
- Group products with mix and match pricing to drive sales.
- Create and accept coupons.
- Manage your inventory and provide reports so you always know what’s selling well and what isn’t.
- Create custom labels for local produce.
- And so much more – to help you run virtually every aspect of your business.
It’s more beneficial to see how our POS system can help you in action. Schedule a demo with our team, and check out our Retail Point of Sale Buyers’ Guide to learn how to find the best hardware and software for your business, including the top questions to ask before buying.