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What do you need to succeed in a traditional and established multi-billion dollar industry like the grocery market?

Price Chopper Supermarkets, an American grocery chain with 136 stores, has one answer: customer insight.

At a recent Vision Critical webinar, Sam Trimboli, consumer insights specialist at Price Chopper, joined us to discuss how customer insight is helping the company thrive in the increasingly fragmented grocery industry. Ongoing customer engagement, according to Trimboli, influences strategic initiatives at Price Chopper, helping the company drive innovation, foot traffic and sales.

Trimboli highlighted three benefits of using customer insight.

1. Improving marketing materials...and increasing sales

In 2015, Price Chopper started rebranding some of its stores to Market 32, a new chain offering healthier food choices and a better shopping experience. As part of this rebrand, the company decided to revisit its flyer design.

“A huge part of our customer base—Baby Boomers, specifically—still use flyers regularly,” Trimboli explained. The company used customer feedback to make sure the new design hits the mark. Specifically, the company engaged Food for Thought, its insight community of 5,000 shoppers to hear from both avid shoppers and occasional visitors. “Through the community, we decided what should and shouldn’t stay in the flyer and what to add instead.”

The result of the new simplified flyer design? A five percent increase in customer traffic since its launch, a significant increase for a grocery store.

The new simplified flyer design resulted to a five percent increase in customer traffic since its launch.

2. Launching new brands successfully

Private label brands are a huge source of revenue for grocery companies. In the U.S., for example, private label groceries represent upwards of 29 percent of food and beverage consumption.

“Given the rebrand to Market 32, we saw an opportunity to re-examine our private label brands as well,” shared Trimboli. “Food for Thought helped guide the naming and packaging of private label products being launched in tandem with an overall store rebrand.”

Feedback from the insight community revealed that an earlier version of the company’s new brand name caused some confusion. Identifying this issue prompted decision-makers to uncover more effective ways of communicating the new brand.

The company tweaked packaging and messaging and launched the new private brand in 2016. Early results show accelerated growth. One of the company’s line of snack items, for instance, saw a seven percent sales increase after the rebrand.

One of the company’s line of snack items, for instance, saw a seven percent sales increase after the rebrand.

3. Identifying unmet need

Getting a deeper understanding of the customer journey inspires new product ideas at Price Chopper. For example, customer insight motivated the launch of innovative meat products aimed at Millennial shoppers.

Explains Trimboli, “Our insight community revealed to us that many shoppers, especially Millennials, found it intimidating to cook with certain types of meat. So our meat department piloted a meal kit-type of product where shoppers can get ready-to-cook meals in a complete package.”

This need for an innovative product, Trimboli noted, would not have been discovered without the Food For Thought community.

Watch the on-demand webinar

These are just some of the takeaways from Price Chopper’s story. For more tips from Trimboli, watch the on-demand recording of the webinar now.

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was the former Content Marketing Manager and was responsible for Vision Critical's blog and social media marketing program. Before joining Vision Critical's global marketing team, Kelvin worked at Dunn PR, a Vancouver-based public relations firm. His experience includes working with lifestyle, real estate, and non-profit clients to develop social media marketing and PR strategies. Kelvin has a Bachelor of Business Administration from SFU's Beedie School of Business.
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