Safeway shifts shopping to discovery

2 September 2014

NEW YORK: Safeway, the supermarket chain, is seeking to engage US consumers – and help drive sales – by moving customers from a "shopping mode" to a more involved "discovery mode" when they are in its stores.

Chris Almeida, the retailer's vp/shopper marketing, core business and loyalty, discussed some of its current priorities at the Brand Activation Association's (BAA) event, Marketing to the Omni-Channel Shopper: EAST 2014.

And Almeida reported that stocking innovative new products was a strategy that promised to actively stimulate customers during a visit to its stores – a trip normally lasting just 15 minutes.

"Fifteen minutes is not a lot of time to get a bunch of items in their basket," Almeida told the conference delegates.

"But the goal is not necessarily to expand the 15 minutes: it's a pretty set amount of time. (For more, including Safeway's research into the target audience for new products, read Warc's exclusive report: Safeway cracks the marketing code for new products.)

"You can actually get more products in their basket by changing them from this 'shopping mode' to a 'discovery mode'. And that's what we think new items help us to do."

As part of this process, the company has introduced the "Discover what's new" campaign, adding that label to in-store marketing collateral promoting new lines for 120 days, and on parts of its website, too.

"This icon is important for a number of reasons. One: the 'new' comes throughout the whole, entire path to purchase in store," said Almeida.

"It's [also] about feeding that notion of discovery, the treasure hunt ... We want shoppers to come in today, find the new items throughout the store, and we'll make it easy for you."

Research firm IRI reported that 190,000 new universal product codes and 9,500 brands were unveiled in the American consumer packaged goods sector in 2013.

Figures from Safeway also suggest that around 280 new offerings are launched every hour on average, typically costing approximately $15m apiece for manufacturers.

Roughly 80% of these products do not last more than six months on store shelves – a statistic that has encouraged Safeway to work closely with numerous brand owners on marketing campaigns for such items.

These manufacturers have included companies like Starbucks, for its K-Cups line, and Unilever, on an effort supporting a variant of Breyers ice cream.

Data sourced from Warc