Shoppers seek discounts at supermarkets more than any other retail category
- Grocery is the top retail channel for consumers seeking deals and coupons. According to a survey by media delivery firm Valassis, 93% of consumers are interested in grocery coupons and deals. Nearly half of those consumers (47%) make unplanned, “fill-in” grocery trips driven by coupons.
- As e-commerce continues to grow, 13% of survey respondents said they are buying more groceries online and having them delivered compared to last year, while 12% more said they are buying groceries online and picking them up at the store. Curbside pickup especially resonates with millennial parents, at 22%.
- Valassis CMO Curtis Tingle said in a news release that consumers have more options than ever when purchasing groceries. "Whether they shop online, in-store, use a delivery or pick-up service or prepare meal kits at home, it’s critical for grocery retailers to consider shopper preferences. Consumers want deals, convenience and a personalized experience," Tingle said.
Even though U.S. consumer sentiment sits at its highest levels since 2004, shoppers still want a good deal when it comes to the habitual chore of grocery shopping. This year’s survey results are relatively unchanged from last year and come as no surprise since the average household expenditures on food are higher than every category except housing, transportation, healthcare and insurance. Although spending on food increased by 7.3% last year, consumers saved $3.1 billion with coupons.
As the top category for coupon seekers, grocery stores have to get this right, especially as they face unprecedented competition from restaurants, c-stores and dollar stores. Delivering the right coupon to the target consumers at the right time using their preferred channel is likely to be a continuing struggle. But it could get easier if consumers increasingly crave an omnichannel approach from their grocery stores. A recent study from NCH Marketing Services found that overall coupon redemption dropped last year due to an overemphasis on digital distribution, indicating that brick-and-mortar promotional pushes cannot be ignored simply because more consumers are shopping online. The Valassis survey found 57% percent of consumers said grocery item availability makes them more likely to go into a physical store to shop over online channels.
To play to the omnichannel crowd, some marketers are implementing chatbots to deliver real-time deals. Digital coupon redemption is predicted to jump 94% by 2022 and within five years, 80% of coupons could be redeemed on a mobile device, signaling it would be wise for grocers to pursue this channel to meet consumers where they are going.
But there remains a fine line. Coupons may automatically translate into traffic, but they do not automatically translate into loyal shoppers. That requires a deeper level of personalization and a holistic approach to loyalty. The Valassis report underscores this, as 67% of shoppers say they are more likely to buy from a retailer that makes them feel like a valued customer. Successful coupon strategies have to rely on insights into consumers' shopping habits, allowing grocers to target key consumers with personalized offers for the channels they prefer.
Follow Alicia Kelso on Twitter