How grocers can increase wallet share this holiday season

Amid supply chain challenges and rising demand, regional and independent grocery stores can attract more customers and boost profits with strategic holiday promotions and personalized experiences

November 23, 2021
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How grocers can increase wallet share this holiday season
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How grocers can increase wallet share this holiday season

As loved ones begin to gather for the holidays, regional and independent grocery stores are planning new strategies to increase wallet share. Finding fresh ways to connect with customers is more important than ever, as food prices, labor shortages, and supply chain issues continue to create challenges for grocers.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, how can grocers win more customers and make more profit? By positioning your store as the go-to shopping destination for home-cooked holiday meals and dishes.

What will holiday grocery sales look like this year?

The good news is that people are gathering again, creating memories, and sharing meals. The spending forecast is good this holiday season, but it’s essential to prioritize bigger baskets and be a dependable resource.

But experts like Whitman School supply chain professor Patrick Penfield confirm grocery stores across the U.S. will continue to experience food shortages and delays through the end of the year.

“Holiday staples such as evaporated milk, cooking oil, tofu, turkeys, bottled water, carbonated drinks, canned products, bread, liquor, and toilet paper are all in short supply. Consumers can expect to see shortages and pay more for all of these items this holiday season. We continue to see supply chain disruptions throughout the food supply chain,” Penfield said.

But even with all of these factors, the outlook for consumer spending looks strong. The National Retail Federation recently reported that they expect holiday sales will increase 8.5-10% over 2020, indicating considerable momentum. The report also predicts non-gift purchases, including food bought in stores, are expected to dip 2% this year but grow 12% since 2019. 

Also encouraging is news from a Vericast survey of 1,000 shoppers. More than half (60%) say they prefer to shop at local neighborhood stores. Plus, 71% of those surveyed agreed that it’s important to support local stores and restaurants. Additionally, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents believe they will be attending holiday gatherings with family and friends. More parties mean more trips to the grocery store.

How can grocers increase sales during the holidays?

With the positive news about 2021 holiday consumer spending, regional and independent stores can take advantage of the last few weeks of the year. Now is the time to start promoting high-margin items. During the holiday season, shoppers have a variety of reasons to purchase grocery items, including:

  • Traditional holiday meals
  • Potluck gatherings
  • Cocktail parties
  • Work, neighborhood, and school parties
  • Home-made or prepared gift baskets with store items and/or treats from the kitchen
  • Food and drink gifts, stocking stuffers, or gift certificates for party hosts, teachers, staff, caretakers, postal workers, delivery drivers, or anyone who deserves a “thank you”
  • Extra groceries and supplies for visiting loved ones
  • Provisions for road trips and getaways

Grocers should capitalize on these potential buying opportunities and feature high-margin items like prepared foods, meal kits, hot bars, baked goods, store brands, and beverages. And with the potentially limited supply of poultry this year, consider adding promotions on protein options, including seafood and ham.

Tips to get more grocery store customers

  1. Offer more seasonal items sooner… and for everyone. The holidays include a beautiful variety of traditions, including Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and more. Take a look at your community and provide special options for shoppers celebrating the holidays in their unique ways. Stock up on seasonal items as soon as possible. And don’t forget to feature meal and grocery options for those with dietary restrictions; when people gather, there are sure to be special requests.
  2. Generate and share holiday ideas with customers. Customers sometimes need help coming up with ideas for holiday cooking and gift-giving. Become a valuable resource in meal planning and preparation by highlighting the above mentioned food, beverage, and gift options. Group ingredients for side dishes, pies, and other holiday basics together in a single display. And don’t forget about featuring cooking essentials, including spices, condiments, food containers, disposable pans, plates, cups, and utensils. Share recipes, gift ideas, and information about meal deals and specialty items at checkout, end caps, department and shopping cart displays, and online.
  3. Offer targeted, profitable promotions.  Did you know that 53% of consumers say they need better solutions to save more money on shopping? Upside does just that, in the most profitable way possible. The platform puts your store in front of thousands of nearby shoppers who already use the free mobile app to decide where to shop. Upside’s personalized promotions attract new customers and re-engage lost ones, changing customer purchasing behavior with zero store investment, no staff training, and guaranteed profit.
  4. Create community experiences: Get Santa in the store for photo ops, coordinate cooking demos. Bringing customers in for a family attraction creates opportunities to build long-lasting relationships with customers and to upsell while they’re in-store.

Learn more about how Upside helps grocery stores increase share of wallet.

How grocers can increase wallet share this holiday season

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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