Use digital technology thoughtfully

By Published On: December 31, 2021

Carre’ Bistline is the Director, Business Development Digital Solutions for Anthony International. Join Carre’ Bistline for “Engaging Digital Signage Opportunities for Food Retailers” at Supermarket Sense 2016, September 21-22, in Conyers, Ga.

For consumers, digital technology can be a disruptive or engaging presence. To ensure such technology has the desired effect on grocery shoppers, it is imperative that grocers thoughtfully plan their messaging in terms of both content and placement.

That means delivering messages that resonate quickly and function well with mobile devices. Understanding that mobile devices also have the ability to both connect and distract customers while shopping, retailers should use technology to strategically engage with shoppers along their path to purchase throughout the store.

That said, grocers must guard against using technology for the sake of technology. The placement of large LCD panels featuring long messages and without the backing of an engagement plan benefits neither retailers nor their customers. The key is to think micro rather than macro.

Retailers can deliver better shopping experiences by understanding, connecting and engaging with their customers using timely, relevant messages and offers delivered via digital technology. That may include showing images of serving suggestions for a particular food product and providing a way for shoppers to download a recipe. Mobile devices and digital technology intersect nicely for promotion opportunities, especially since today’s customers are less inclined to clip coupons.

What message can you deliver to your customer in 5 to 7 seconds? Is it something at shelf level? A message placed strategically in a display area? Or maybe it’s a board with a short, effective message touting the products contained in a low-traffic area of the store. For instance, digital display technology can help draw shoppers to the frozen food aisle from the perimeter using messages about specialty items such as gluten-free foods.

The key is to avoid bombarding shoppers with technology and messaging that makes them tune out. Make sure the message is tailored both to the section of the store and the tendencies of shoppers. One message may be appropriate for daytime shoppers, another for customers racing home from work and looking for a quick dinner solution. Those who remain in the store to dine at a grocerant are more likely to be receptive to a more detailed message.

Find the area that offers the best chance to engage with a customer and then find the technology to match. This approach can help drive sales, but there also is a bigger picture advantage: Providing information and offers that truly enhance the shopping experience can create a competitive edge over other food retailers and restaurants.

Supermarket Sense 2016 will bring together retail operations, thought leaders and dedicated food retail industry professionals for a comprehensive and collaborative training event next month in the Atlanta metro area. Sponsored by Hillphoenix, Unified Brands, Datassential and Harold Lloyd Presents, the two-day event will be held in Conyers, Ga. on September 21-22.