December 3, 2021

5 Lessons We’ve Learned From Marketing for a Grocer

At PHOS, we have the amazing opportunity to work with all kinds of incredible local and national organizations. We build purpose-driven brand systems for clients across many different industries. But, one of our oldest clients happens to be a grocery store that’s been in Gainesville for over 7 decades! 

As Ward’s Supermarket’s marketing partner for over 5 years, we’ve learned a lot that’s helped us refine our approach and apply strategies to other clients. Here, we outline these lessons from marketing for a grocer.

1. Customer Service Is 24/7

Digital marketing is all about connecting your organization’s services and products with the customers that need them. When it comes to a brick-and-mortar commerce business, digital marketing takes on new responsibilities. For example, a huge part of Ward’s digital marketing strategy is providing timely information and answering customer questions — sometimes even before they have them!

Social media to a local grocery store requires a strategy that is fun, personable, but above all, helpful! It’s great to share recipes for National Waffle Day, but it’s even more valuable to create an online destination that answers questions and handles concerns. Your website, social media, and Google My Business listing serve as a 24/7 customer service hub

Creating customer touchpoints to be an efficient but intentional delivery of great customer service is crucial to your digital marketing plan. It’s also important to jump on the negative reviews or direct messages to correct any mistakes in a timely way.

2. Personality Is Everything

Your brand’s voice allows you to resonate with your customers. For a local grocery store, we have a blast crafting social media posts, content, and emails that utilize its friendly and “punny” tone. This also allows for long-time customers to feel that their go-to grocery store is talking with them, not at them. 

Carving your brand identity and following it is essential for the everyday messages you’ll be delivering. But, this is incredibly important in times of change, like when a new competitor comes to town or operations completely change because of a global pandemic. Adding personality to your branding creates such an enjoyable and trustworthy experience for your customers in-store and online.

3. Loyalty Can’t Be Purchased

Local businesses survive on their years of experience and their longtime community presence. For businesses like Ward’s, it’s incredibly important to honor their legacy and their longtime patrons without alienating new customers. Word-of-mouth holds weight, and for digital marketing, that means crafting a strategy to honor testimonials and highlight raving fans. We know the power and value of brand ambassadors for your business, so keeping this top of mind is a must for such a tight-knit community.

Reviews are one of the most impactful ways to showcase your brand. That’s why we respond to every single review and seek ways to improve on anything less than 5-stars. You should also have an open channel of communication on social media where people can comment, share, and love on your business!

4. The Power of Photography

Photos and videos are the most powerful way to tell your brand’s story. While we enjoy our days spent shooting beautiful photography at Ward’s, we also know how valuable user-generated content is. From a purely engagement-focused analysis, photos shot on a phone perform just as well as those professionally shot for this supermarket — not because people have an aversion to photo quality, but instead they care more about the story. 

We have a blast sharing beautiful shots of the bright and colorful produce department, but we also love resharing photos from Ward’s customers that picked up ingredients for their dinner or a post from a new local vendor that offers products in stores. Leveraging branded and high-quality photos with real-time community posts helps create a wonderful blend of online content.

5. Find Your Niche and Share It

Local grocery stores are hard to find these days. Between the corporate powerhouses and the push for online, contactless grocery shopping, Ward’s is extremely unique. For its branding and marketing, we highlight unique attributes, such as the following.

Identifying your uniques and weaving them into your marketing is crucial, especially when you’re competing against companies with million-dollar marketing budgets and national name recognition. 

Digital Marketing With PHOS

It’s a joy to work with a local business that people resonate with and enjoy shopping at. We’re always learning more about digital marketing through our clients and their respective industries.

Whether you’re a local grocery store or a national brand, we want to partner with you. If you’re interested in being a light in your industry, connect with us! We’d love to chat.

Bailey Revis

Bailey is dedicated to infusing joy into every single touchpoint she has at PHOS with team members, clients, and our community. As Director of Marketing, she oversees our incredible team of marketers, supporting them as they foster great relationships and exceed our clients’ goals.

Outside of PHOS, you’ll likely find Bailey talking non-stop about Taylor Swift, enjoying an abundant amount of cold brew, curating incredibly niche Spotify playlists, or chasing sunsets.