The Ultimate Guide to Grocery Store SMS Marketing

As a society, we generally don't think about grocery stores much at all. Not how many there are, not why we choose the ones to shop at, and certainly not the ways that supermarkets use technology for marketing. But grocery store marketing as a whole has been ahead of its time in regards to targeted advertising and subscribers. In some cases, grocery stores were the first places most of us first enjoyed the benefits of having a member account.

Grocery stores don’t seem like an industry that is ripe with competitiveness. But when you consider that each one sells pretty much the same goods, you realize that everything about supermarket marketing has to do with the customers: 

  • How to get them

  • How to retain them

  • How to build loyalty

  • How to stay competitive  

Appointible offers a complete range of text message marketing services for everyone from “mom and pop” grocers to multi-state chain stores. Read on to discover the many ways you can use SMS messaging to get the word out, develop loyalty among your customers, and remain relevant in an unbelievably competitive field.

Texting to your advantage

Grocery stores have a unique leg up on other businesses when it comes to text marketing. Since the large chains already have a web presence and high percentages of app use, integrating SMS into their system is relatively easy; the infrastructure already exists. But small local chains and individually-owned stores may not have that framework. Those owners may wonder what text marketing can do for them.

Text marketing can lead to significant gains in many areas. Some of these improvements are:  

  • Higher offer redemption 

Consumers are often overwhelmed by coupons, discounts, and offers. Most of the time, they end up buying things just because they are on sale and not because they actually need them, or they just don’t use coupons at all. But SMS can turn those habits on their heads. By associating customers with what they buy, stores can then offer exclusive discounts on those products, all in a text that shows up on a customer’s phone.

  • Better brand awareness 

Build customer loyalty by highlighting your brand. Whether this takes the form of friendly employees, a particular niche product, or your ability to special order items for your customers, take advantage of this. Brand recognition keeps customers coming in, and every customer in the door equals revenue in your pocket. So market yourself and your brand well.  

  • Getting a jump on the competition 

Some of the large grocery chains have incorporated texting into their marketing endeavors, but only as it involves texts from the store. You can’t reply to them, even if it involves an order. Instead, the process of approving changes and replacements is cumbersome. You can’t just text your big chain store to find out if they have cornmeal or a specific type of apples in stock. But imagine if your customers could do that? You would stand apart from your competitors and be well on your way to building a reputation as a consumer-friendly shop.

  • Heightened focus on engaged customers 

Print ads and coupons are expensive to produce every week, and the majority of them end up in the trash. This is a waste of good advertising money and resources. Even if you maintain a web presence or an email marketing list, you have no way of knowing who or how many of your subscribers actually engage with your content. Text marketing requires express written consent for receiving automated messages, so the people who sign up are the ones most likely to be your most active and engaged patrons. 

Areas grocery stores can use text messaging

Some of these ideas for when and how to use text messaging may seem like no-brainers. But others might be marketing concepts your store has never considered. New advertising ideas are the lifeblood of marketing, so take a look to see if any of these are places where your store can start to develop its brand. 

Coupons

Digital coupons are all the rage and have been for a few years. But using them still requires consumers to sit down with the paper ads, the store app, or both, make their list, and then add the coupons to their digital account. The process is time-consuming, and the multiple steps can leave some consumers overwhelmed. But texting coupons and other deals right to your subscribers’ cell phones is fast and easy for both you and your customers. 

Seasonal product announcements

If your store sells specific products at certain times of the year, use text messaging to announce their arrival. Highlight your seasonal offerings from local produce to kosher or parve for Passover and specialty Christmas goods. 

Recipe sharing

Promote your signature and unique products with recipes! Suggest an item your customers should try, and send a recipe for that item. Maybe include a small discount for the purchase of all the ingredients. Recipes are a great, low-effort way to solidify your following. 

Weekly price cuts and discounts

The big chains run their specials from Wednesday through Tuesday or offer special three-day deals on the weekends. Having set days and times when you send out weekly promotions means that you are reliable and consistent. 

Loyalty programs

If you don’t already have one, start a loyalty program. How you offer rewards is up to you. Some grocery stores offer fuel discounts after a specific amount of spending. Others provide free groceries or percentages off purchases over a certain amount. Earning rewards is fun for your customers, and if they have a bonus, they are more likely to return. Your customers use opt-in keywords to join, and you can automate messages to make the process simple. 

Customer recognition

Customers love being appreciated and recognized. By collecting user data for your loyalty program, you can target special discounts like the one below for your most loyal consumers:

“FoodieMarket: Happy birthday, Suki! Please take 20% off your next purchase on us. Text STOP to opt-out.” 

Pickup and delivery updates

During the course of the pandemic, more and more stores began offering pickup and delivery services. Some of these were great from the start, and others needed a little bit of tweaking. Use texting to update your customers on the status of their orders, potential delivery times, and more. An example of such a text is below:

“Marshall Family Grocery: Dear Derek, we wanted to inform you that your order is on its way to 555 Union Way. It is estimated to arrive today at 4:25 pm. Thank you for your order.”

Getting your grocery store started with text marketing

Be sure to do your research when picking a text messaging service. There are plenty out there, so pick the best one that meets your needs. At Appointible, we offer a complete range of SMS services for your grocery stores. If you’re interested in trying our service, visit our website today to start a free 30-day trial. You’ll get $10 in free credits with no payment, contract, or obligation required. Read on to learn more about what we offer and how to set up text messaging with us. 

1. Select a number

The first step is to choose your phone number. Since you’re mostly tending to a local market, we recommend either a local 10-digit phone number, called a 10DLC, or text-enabling your current number. New businesses without an established brand or following will be fine with a 10DLC. Find our more about 10DLC registration & compliance.

If you’ve used your number for years or it’s heavily associated with your brand, go with text-enabling. It’s easy to do, and because text messaging runs through Appointible’s servers, it doesn’t affect your ability to make and receive phone calls. If you’re finding that your niche market means you do a lot of multi-state business, you might want to choose a toll-free 1-800 number instead. 

2. Select keywords

Keywords are the lifelines of business texting. They are unique words that customers can text to you to join your subscriber list. A keyword can be your shop name, a product, or even a location if you have more than one store. By texting a keyword, customers are providing you with the written consent you need to be able to send automated messages. Responding to keyword messages is best done by automatic text – you can customize each reply to coordinate with your different keywords. 

3. Advertise your texting abilities

It might feel strange, but you need to advertise your new text messaging service. People can only subscribe when they are aware that you offer texting, so go a little bit wild. Post to your social media, put a sign-up form on your website, or even add keywords to the bottom of your receipts. You can also put QR codes on posters and print ads that your customers just need to scan to subscribe.

Final thoughts

SMS messaging isn’t just the future for large grocery store chains – it is for small, locally-oriented ones, too. In fact, some might argue that text messaging can have more of an impact on small shops. Investing in a text marketing service is a smart way to build your customer base, promote your brand, grow your customer loyalty, and increase revenue. So invest in your grocery business today, and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of text marketing!

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