An average grocery store earns only one to two cents profit on most items sold. The grocery industry is one of the toughest to become profitable in because manufacturers (think Proctor & Gamble) are squeezing the grocery retailer to get the most money for their product while the customer is demanding lower prices. So, in an industry where 1% same-store sales growth is monumental, a marketing campaign that generates a 28% increase in dollars is, well, award-worthy.
That’s what happened in the summer of 2013 to a program that I created and developed for 4 grocery store brands under the Albertsons umbrella called, “The Best Road Trip. Ever!”
Invite customers to spin the wheel to create a mad-libs style story about 4 road-ready products like, Lays® Potato Chips, and Mountain Dew® soda. Customers submit their story and share it with friends to get the most votes for a chance to win 1 of 8 brand new Ford cars.
In each of the 4 grocery store brands: Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme Markets, and Shaw’s/Star Market, the lineup of cars started with the Ford Fiesta – the more entries that were submitted, the nicer the car got, all the way up to the Ford Expedition.
Over 20 million product impressions; 30,000 entries; 61,000 votes cast: 20,000 story shares on social media; 500% increase in social following; 620,000 page views and a whopping, 28% increase in dollars and a 21% increase in units for participating products.
Customers had an absolute blast, the participating manufacturers were amazed and shocked at their sales figures, and I was proud.
My little program made it to the big leagues.
Just this past January, Progressive Grocer, the most well respected grocery industry publication, awarded my little program, the 2013 Technology Innovation Award at the National Retail Federation Show. In the award announcement, Progressive Grocer said:
The second innovation was the user-generated content based on sponsor products. Liking and commenting on products are common practices in today’s digital world, but enabling customers to be creative writers about sponsor products is unique.
- Chris Wilcox for brainstorming with me, and ultimately coming up with the idea to have customers write about products.
- Rizen Creative for putting together such a beautiful website for the program, amazing work as always.
- Tri-Digital Group for taking such gorgeous, Instagram-style shots – they’re just what I was looking for!
- Elizabeth Perryman for working with Tri-Digital on the photo shoots.
- Albertsons CEO, Bob Miller and COO, Bob Butler for believing in my little program and giving me the funding to do it up right.
- Progressive Grocers’ Joe Tarnowski for inviting me to the Connected Consumers Roundtable and giving me an opportunity to talk about the program.