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Content Marketing: How grocery stores do it right

In an article published by David Moth, Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy, a community of marketing and ecommerce professionals, explains why it is hugely important to attract new customers and generate traffic to cope with the increase in the trend of online grocery shopping.

Buying one’s food and other commodities via the internet is a highly competitive business lately, due to almost everyone having a computer, and the millennial generation wanting to shop without the hassle of pushing a trolley around their local supermarket. To attract new customers and keep the loyal ones, stores are now as keen as mustard about using content marketing. While Tesco does it best, we have also included Waitrose, Wegmans and Whole Foods who all deserve honorable mentions. Here’s how they go about it.

Interactive recipes allow you to buy from the recipe page

Tesco has a whole sub-domain where it presents its food-related content, known as “Tesco Real Food”. The latter opens with a slideshow of six scrumptious dishes, some with probably models or Tesco customers elatedly contemplating them. They know how to make your mouth water, and that’s all right, because in one click, you can get the same dish too, or at least its exact ingredients.

Indeed, Tesco makes it easy for customers to shop directly from the recipes page. When you click on the “recipes” tab, a new window opens, which is full of highly inspirational content. From cuisine types to cooking courses, ingredient lists, menus for people on a budget or for vegans, there is a massive amount of things to look at and to choose from. Every recipe includes photographs of the finished product, ingredient lists, star ratings and nutrition information.

Users even have the ability to send the recipe in a text or email, or add it to a meal plan in their personal virtual binder, while making notes regarding personal preferences. The most impressive part is that you can even order all the ingredients from the list through the online shopping portal, direct from the recipe page. With the more common ingredients, the site nudges you with a “you probably already have these” next to them. If the customer wishes to buy more, though, that is up to them. When you select the “buy ingredients” button, the full ingredient list – with the exception of the ones that you already have which you unchecked, is added to your cart for you to purchase online.

Meal planners help you program food for the whole week

It’s easy to be at a loss for inspiration when you come home worn out after hours at work and on the subway. Tesco simplifies your life with its list of pre-set menus for a whole week generated from your preferences. For families on a budget particularly, it can be really useful. No more need for several trips to the grocery store where you can hardly keep track of your expenses. With one click, you can view what you will have at breakfast, lunch and dinner for the five or seven days ahead, and buy the necessary ingredients on the spot if you wish it.  Moreover, the recipes show the amount of nutrients and calories you are absorbing at every meal so that it gives you a hand if you are on a diet. If you are concerned about food waste, Tesco even caters about your surplus foodstuffs, thanks to its convenient leftovers tool. You only have to enter the ingredients you need to vacate from your fridge and the website will generate a list of recipes out of these. How not to buy from Tesco when it gives you so much convenience? This is content marketing strategy at its best.

Tesco’s videos are clear and cheerful to watch

The Tesco site also includes videos of recipe ideas, cooking tips and promotional videos for the various products in their ranges. Short and cheerful, they are easy to follow and simple to understand. It also hosts a range of videos from one of of its partners, SORTEDfood, a hugely popular YouTube channel for food enthusiasts. However, although it is a good idea to promote Tesco outside its normal target audience, the videos are not conspicuous enough to be very effective yet. Nevertheless, the very idea of partnering with yet another popular crew is the way to go.

Waitrose’s videos features celebrities catapulting its popularity

Including celebrities in your content strategy is a sure way to soak up some of their fame. This is true for the videos on Waitrose’s site. The clips themselves are of excellent quality, and are clear and easy to understand. At under four minutes, and with a chef or presenter to walk you through the recipe, the videos are hugely appealing. They even have celebrity chefs hosting some of the recipes, which comprised of British television host and cookbook writer Delia Smith, or the gastronomy giant Heston Blumenthal.

However, while Waitrose has obviously invested a lot in their videos and lifestyle content, the link from video to cart is inconsistent, and more could be done to convince the prospective customer to “buy it now” directly from the recipe pages just as Tesco does. But still, this is a very good start.

Wegmans sends you free recipe books each quarter

They are certainly not the biggest grocery store out there. In fact, they are a very modest one but they are one of the world’s most loved retailers. Beyond the excellent customer service, and being one of the best places to work, their marketing strategy is astounding. One of them is their magazine called “Menu”. With 130 pages packed with recipes, articles and details of in-store offers, it is regularly picked up by shoppers as they leave the store. It is also sent to its club members every three months for free. Everyone likes free stuff, especially when it is so well presented as in Menu. This is moreover an excellent piece of content marketing as even though you might not like to cook, yet you might try some recipes because they are at hand. If you do so, you will need to go to the grocer’s and that might well be Wegmans to be sure you get the correct ingredients.

Besides, the magazine perfectly complements their online marketing as well. Along food and recipes, the website contains articles such as, the “Tastes of…” series, which currently features food from Asia, Mexico and Italy. There are also ideas for the season, with the current feature being the winter warmers, and articles of general interest such as the sustainability of sea food.  In short, every page ties in perfectly with either a service or product offered by the store.

Whole foods creates content that helps its audience

Whole foods is one grocery store that has worked hard to establish its excellent reputation. Instead of wantonly promoting its products, its blog called “The Whole Story”, provides tips on how to eat healthily. The brand has principles and its content marketing does an excellent job of showcasing this. They seem to truly believe that they can help people make the choice of healthy living, and the content they create, revolving around helping their audience, shows that. For instance, its first navigation button links to helpful subjects such as “4 Ways to a Healthier You”, or “Simple Changes for Lifelong Health”. Their website has articles about how to save money while still eating a balanced diet or articles of public interest such as “Everyday superfood: Why you need to eat more salmon?”Add to that items on changing your diet to benefit yourself, and they have a whole, inclusive lifestyle and products package.

Their blog does contain information on the supermarket and its products, but this is located demurely in a corner of the website.

[Econsultancy]

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