The 6 best customer retention strategies for grocery stores

Unveiling winning tactics for enhancing customer loyalty in grocery stores

October 11, 2021
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The 6 best customer retention strategies for grocery stores
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The 6 best customer retention strategies for grocery stores

New customer acquisition is a key focus for any competitive grocer. But once you’ve brought those hard-earned customers in-store, how do you get them to keep coming back? 

In this article, we’ll focus on the understated value of customer retention. Long-term repeat customers are so much more than a reliable revenue stream. Repeat customers are loyal customers. And loyal customers:

  • Shop more frequently,
  • Purchase bigger baskets,
  • Recommend your grocery store by word-of-mouth, and 
  • Promote your business online with reviews and social media.

Read on to learn how the next six retention strategies bring and keep grocery customers.

Showcase a selection that emphasizes convenience

The first step in convincing new customers to come back is to give them what they need. 

Incorporate convenience throughout every aisle and department of your store. To do this, you’ll  need to imagine how a new customer would walk through your store. 

Organize your store in a way that allows a new customer to traverse your store effortlessly. Help them get to where they need to be in the shortest amount of time. That way, they can find their needed item and put it into their shopping basket.

Next, focus on creating an environment that intrigues and invites.

Once your new customers put their needed items into their baskets, make them look around. Organize your store’s selection in a way that sparks curiosity. The goal is to turn your customer’s mission into a meander. 

Help your customer discover new aisles and products with:

  • Chalk art. Ask your staff to draw quirky comics. They could speak to your store brand, describe a product, or simply convey a positive message. 
  • Bright signs with bold lettering. Be loud without having to say anything at all. Point new customers to cornerstone areas of your store with eye-catching signs and labels. 
  • End-of-aisle surprises. Like an end-of-chapter cliffhanger, invite new customers to explore new aisles by bridging them with novelties and discounted items. 
  • Creative product displays. Turn your groceries into art installations. Make a sculpture out of soda can boxes. Make a pyramid out of soup cans. Find ways to make spectacles that are large and colorful.

Throughout every aisle, demonstrate your store’s dedication to convenience by stocking up with one-stop items and services like:

  • Chopped produce
  • Pre-packaged bulk snacks
  • Hot and cold to-go meals 
  • Reusable bags
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Sanitizing wipes

Your customers expect convenience. Make shopping seamless with an entertaining selection. And whatever you do, do not skimp on customer service.

Impress with unforgettable customer service

You want your customers to have such a memorable experience with your store associates that they think about it on their drive home. You want your shoppers to have positive interactions that can’t help but bring up in their social circles.

Repeat customers want to shop where they feel comfortable. You can create an enjoyable experience for your shoppers with proactive customer service. Here’s what insightful service looks like:

  • Educated and helpful. Educated service shares knowledge about the store brand and delights customers with their knowledge of its wide selection. This kind of service anticipates the customer’s needs and helps them find the best product or solution.
  • Invested and patient. Invested service looks out for the customer’s best interests. Patient customer representatives make time to listen to customer questions and answer thoughtfully. 
  • Warm and welcoming. Inviting customer service receives shoppers gladly. Welcoming service goes the extra mile to greet and farewell customers, offers help, and is always available to help.

But remember: high-quality service is the result of a high-quality work environment. 

If you want to take care of your customers, you need to take care of your employees. Create a satisfactory environment that not only fosters happy employees, but also: 

  • Respects employee autonomy.
  • Has opportunities for skill training and development.
  • Offers encouragement and positive feedback.
  • Accepts feedback and suggestions.
  • Collaborates to problem-solve.

Your employees are the face and hands of your grocery store. They interact with your customers, advocate for your brand, and work to ensure business runs smoothly. Reinforce customer retention by nurturing your employees. 

Tend to your employees to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere. If you can manage this, you’re well on your way to carving a special place for your store in your community.

Be dependable, be a community cornerstone

Do things in your store that make it feel unlike any other. Give your customers experiences they can’t get anywhere else. Make your store a happening place for community gatherings by hosting in-store events like:

  • Cookouts. During the summer months, host events like barbecues or ice cream socials. These events give locals something to anticipate throughout the week and persuades them to come into the store to shop.
  • Festival days. Does your town have a special local holiday? Join in on the fun by celebrating throughout your store. Create a limited-time theme with decorations, evocative scents, music, and free samples. 
  • Art and cultural shows. Show your support and appreciation for diversity by inviting local artists to showcase and perform outside of your store. 

Community involvement shows you care. Show your ongoing care for your customer base with a social cause.

Practice your purpose

Loyal customers shop with purposeful retailers. Incorporate your business’s commitment to enacting positive change with a prosocial cause. There are countless movements you can incorporate into your brand. Here are just a few examples:

  • Fair trade partnerships
  • Buying and shopping local
  • Recycling and composting
  • Reusability
  • Clean eating and whole foods
  • Sustainable farming
  • Cruelty-free animals farms
  • Food drives
  • Community fundraisers
  • Community clean-ups

Purposeful branding cements ethics into your brand. It motivates socially-aware consumers to support you, even when times are tough, because they will identify your grocery store as an involved and caring entity.

Boost engagement with loyalty programs

If you want to keep your customers, you need to keep in touch. Inform your customers of new items, price changes, and in-store deals by sending email and app notifications. 

The easiest way to keep your customers in-the-loop is with store loyalty programs. Create campaigns that incentivize members to visit, stock-up, pre-order, and redeem. Give these engagement strategies a try to stay at the forefront of your shopper’s itineraries:

  • Run limited-time member discounts. Create a Black-Friday feel in your store by circulating unbeatable short-term deals. You can also use these campaigns to sway customers to try new products.
  • Send reminders about membership perks. Whether they’re a member or not, you want to spread the word about what being in your club is like. Share the juicy details to show what people could be missing out on (or forgetting).
  • Use a point system. Notify shoppers of point-worthy purchases. Reward them with discounts and redemptions.
  • Reward behaviors. Give your members reward points or coupons for spreading the word about your business. You can give points for Yelp and Facebook reviews, as well as following and tagging on social media.

And if you really want to make every loyalty program transaction profitable, use personalization tools that tailor rewards for each customer’s needs.

Connect with customers using profitable promotions

Did you know you can provide customers with personalized promotions, just by using your anonymized processor logs? If you really want to retain more grocery customers, you should use a strategy that uses the data you already have to your advantage. 

Upside uses machine learning to analyze every customer’s purchases and develop promotions that shoppers statistically cannot turn down. These offers are tailor-made to coincide with each customer’s shopping habits. 

With Upside, you can expect repeat customers. Our algorithms generate promotions for your store based on what shoppers want and need, guiding them to choose you for every grocery trip. 

It’s time to stop losing one-time and would-be customers. Learn to retain shoppers and make loyal customers with our Brick and Mortar Grocery Playbook now. This playbook will teach you how to:

  • Increase profits, not just sales
  • Influence customer behavior
  • Give time back to yourself and your business

With Upside, we guarantee profit from the get-go; our playbook illustrates how our program pays for itself. With our platform, there’s:

  • NO software integrations
  • NO hardware upgrades
  • NO training
  • NO operational changes

We know you’re balancing a lot to retain your customers. That’s why with us, you don’t need to do any extra work. Simply let the data work for you.

Call it a (customer) comeback

When it comes to customer retention, consistency is key. Customers appreciate care, and they can tell when you’re making an honest effort. Show your shoppers how much you care with personalized promotions. To learn more about how to empower your business with loyal customers, visit Upside today.

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The 6 best customer retention strategies for grocery stores

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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