Grocery Stores Making Lasting Impact with New Mover Direct Mail Programs
Warm gift certificate packages welcome new residents and shape new shopping habits
Millions of Americans, 40 million a year according to the most recent Census, move each year and are forced to develop a relationship with their new “go-to” grocery store. More important than their staple pizza joint or dry cleaner, their grocery store is like their home away from home – it’s where they get food for their family, prescriptions to make it through the day…heck, some even do their banking there. It’s a one-stop shop to knock out the honey-do list, so it’s important to find the store that “fits” the family.
Similarly, local grocery stores must find replacements for the countless loyal customers who skip town each year and there’s no better target than impressionable new movers. Where can store managers’ turn to make an impact on this new group of residents in order to replace the $954 in average monthly expenditures that departs with each loyal customer that moves away?
Surprisingly enough, it’s not the inbox – it’s the mailbox.
Like many others who operate local businesses these days, many store managers have tried e-mail marketing, including e-mail related daily deal tactics. They have been underwhelmed by the results of those efforts as those initiatives reach many existing residents who have established loyalties to other stores. However, they’ve been more impressed with targeted and trackable new mover direct mail programs that welcome new residents to town and inspire long term customer loyalty.
In fact, direct mail programs like this have helped grocery store general managers, like Brad McAnally and Susan Jones of Hy-Vee, cultivate relationships with countless new movers for a fraction of the cost of most marketing programs.
“I remember what it was like when I moved to this small town – I didn’t know where to go or what to do and the people who were first to reach out caught my attention,” says Brad who operates the HyVee location in St. Joseph, MO. “I never forgot that, so I was receptive when our direct marketing partner, Our Town America, approached us in 2008. Their program allows us to welcome new movers to town in the old-fashioned ‘welcome to the neighborhood’
In just under four years, Brad has experienced an overall response rate of 21.83%. Each month, he offers a free incentive, like $10 off a grocery order, and is informed of the amount of certificates redeemed and comments received during each campaign via a direct e-mail from Our Town America corporate.
Susan, who operates the Hy-Vee in Shawnee, KS, has shared a similarly positive experience (a 27.4% overall response rate in 16 months) with Our Town America, and says the key to the program’s success is its intimacy and thoroughness.
“At Hy-Vee, we set ourselves apart with unique service offerings and superior customer care,” says Susan. “Through our new mover direct mail effort, we’ve been able to relay that message to new movers and it’s made a big difference. For example, many new movers who visit our store are floored by our $25 offer on new or transferred prescriptions. Many of them truly appreciated the convenience of taking care of their groceries and prescriptions in the same place and all of them felt appreciated when they received the offer. Without Our Town America’s detailed reporting and warm welcoming packages, we would have never been able to make that impact and our business would have suffered.”
This focused direct marketing approach is working because the grocery store landscape is changing. People are becoming busier and busier and all grocery stores are adapting to the needs of their customers - so much so that most are turning into convenient one-stop-shops that allow consumers to knock out their shopping list at one place. As a result, as Our Town America’s CEO Michael Plummer suggests, it’s the grocery stores that make the first impression and make customers feel comfortable who win the pivotal battle for the hearts of new movers.
“Our new mover welcoming packages work particularly well for grocery stores because choosing a grocer is such an emotional decision for consumers,” says Michael Plummer, CEO of Our Town America. “The grocery store has become the modern day market – it’s a place to socialize and a place to knock out all of your important purchases for the day. Thus, customers need to feel welcomed and appreciated. Our gift certificates help make that impression immediately when they come to town and it inspires long term relationships.”
For More Information on Our Town America visit their website at www.ourtownamerica.com.
About Our Town America:
For 40 years, Our Town America has been providing new movers with traditional hospitality by mailing warm gifts from neighborhood businesses in a premium gift certificate package. Since the company started franchising in 2005, Our Town America has consistently been placed in the Franchise Top 50, ranking #8 in 2010 for franchisee satisfaction.
One of the catalysts for this success has been Our Town America’s dedication to the “sponsor exclusivity”
Due in large part to Our Town America’s devotion to those concepts, thousands of satisfied business owners throughout the United States attest to the success and effectiveness of the program. Additionally, dozens of locally owned franchises validate Our Town America’s concept as a viable business opportunity.
It is Our Town America’s mission to assist new movers adjusting to their community, help businesses gain new and loyal customers and provide franchisees with an excellent opportunity. The eight million households who received Our Town America’s welcoming envelopes over the last year prove that Our Town America is committed to following through on that mission statement.
For more information, visit the Our Town America website at www.ourtownamerica.com.