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Grocery Customers Research Before They Buy

by Jennifer Stewart | Jul 15, 2011 | BrandingPackaging

The times are changing for food product businesses. It used to be that you create a flashy package, purchase some promotional space at the end of the aisle, and you get a boost in sales. But these days wallets are tighter and the average consumer is more web savvy than ever. This means that even the smallest purchase – tomatoes, tea, canned beans – are researched online before your buyers set foot in a store.

An article in the Wall Street Journal points to new surveys showing that more than 20% of consumers are researching food and beverages before making in-store purchases. That means that a brand’s website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter are all being tapped to help buyers make that game-time decision.

And they’re not just looking for recipes and reviews. Having coupons available online and links to local store sales can seal the deal.

Some 62% of shoppers say they search for deals online for at least half of their shopping trips, according to a survey by consulting firm Booz & Co. and trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association.

But don’t worry, there’s good news! While this does increase the amount of time and money a company needs to invest in it’s online activity (and interactivity), it also creates an amazing opportunity to inform and persuade the client before purchases are made. If you have a great, but little known product like kombucha, your website provides more space for you to tout your products benefits than your tiny bottle label.

Social media also gives companies the opportunity to talk to their consumers, get direct feedback, be human, and create the kind of consumer loyalty that keeps them coming back. Interacting with clients online also levels the playing field for those smaller food product companies that can't afford TV commercials and national marketing.

However, don’t make the mistake of focusing on web instead of the old-school basics. The combination of online and in-store efforts will ultimately garner the greatest interest from buyers.

Click here to read WSJ’s article In-Store Sales Begin at Home.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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