Innovation Drives Private Brand Promotions

Christopher Durham Jan 31, 2011 0

This week the weekly supermarket trade magazine Supermarket News features this great article on the Top 10 Private Brand promotions from retailers all across the country. Each of the retailers and their promotions have been featured here, however the list is a nice way to see best practices. The list includes: Bi-Lo, Brookshire Grocery, Family Dollar, Food Lion, Hannaford, HEB, Lowes Foods, Safeway, Sav-A-Lot and Winn-Dixie.

Leadership Qualities: Top 10 Store-Brand Promotions

A car giveaway and free baseball tickets are just a few of the inventive ways retailers are building store-brand loyalty. SN recognizes the Top 10 promotional efforts

If store associates believe in a brand, chances are their support will rub off on shoppers.

That’s the thinking behind a ground-breaking, private-brand promotion Family Dollar conducted last year.

The retailer sent coupons for its new Family Gourmet cookies to 48 stores so that employees could try them. Several weeks later, it ran a contest to see which stores could sell the most cookies. Those that did won cash prizes.

The event generated such a large sales lift that Family Dollar rolled out the cookie contest chainwide. The sales lift was equally as good.

“We wanted to incentivize our team members to drive sales of the cookies to foster greater trial among our shoppers,” said Mary Rachide, Family Dollar’s private-brand divisional vice president. Rachide did not divulge the sales lift.

The effort is why Family Dollar is one of 10 retailers SN is recognizing in its second annual Top 10 list of distinguished store-brand promotions.

Indeed, retailers recognize that private-label success relies on more than just product innovation. It also requires a marketing plan that gets consumers interested in and excited about the brand.

As a result, companies are beefing up promotional activity, running everything from high-value sweepstakes like car giveaways to delivering free bags of groceries filled with private-label foods directly to consumers’ homes.

SN selected the following initiatives based on a variety of criteria, including originality; high-value prizes; ability to generate consumer excitement about and engagement with the brand; Web-centric capabilities; and ties to a cause-marketing platform. All programs were executed over the last 18 months.

They appear in alphabetical order.

1. Bi-Lo Goes Out to the Ball Game

MAULDIN, S.C. — Bi-Lo tapped into America’s pastime to stimulate trial of its store brands last spring.

Consumers who purchased four participating Southern Home and/or Top Care items in one transaction with their loyalty card received a voucher valid for two free tickets to a 2010 South Carolina Gamecocks or Clemson Tigers home game at Carolina Stadium in Columbia, S.C., or Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Vouchers were redeemed at the stadium.

Bi-Lo distributed about 2,500 tickets in the so-called “No Dough” promotion, according to Katie Batista, Bi-Lo’s events and sports marketing manager.

The goal was to drive sales in its private-label division, while rewarding customers with something out of the ordinary just for shopping with Bi-Lo.

Store-brand loyalty comes from product trial, so finding ways to motivate shoppers to make a private-label purchase is critical, Batista told SN.

“The Bi-Lo No Dough promotion allowed our customers to try something that they may never try on their own,” Batista said. “They were able to taste a great product and realized that their pocketbook was not being hit as hard.”

Bi-Lo hopes that next time shoppers are in the store, they’ll purchase a store brand over a national brand, even when they’re not given baseball tickets to do so.

2. Brookshire’s Grocery Camaro Giveaway

TYLER, Texas — Brookshire Grocery Co. leveraged its sponsorship of the Texas Motor Speedway to promote its Food Club brand.

Brookshire’s loyalty card data show that households that never purchased a store brand try its brands for the first time during a promotion.

While it frequently offers such incentives, it went a step further last year when it designed a high-value sweepstakes: a car giveaway.

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 12, shoppers earned an automatic entry to win a 2010 Camaro 2SS by purchasing any three Food Club items.

The goal of the promo, called Three to Get Ready, was to encourage non-buyers to try its brands, and current purchasers to try something new.

“We wanted to drive awareness of our [Texas Motor Speedway] partnership, while stimulating trial of our store brands,” said Chris Hardin, Brookshire’s director of corporate brands and category management.

The retailer designed the promotion to be fun and exciting, as well as engage shoppers and build larger shopping baskets.

“It really doubled as a means to induce trial, and display our involvement in lifestyle activities that our customers are connected with,” Hardin said.

While Brookshire has been the official grocery store of Texas Motor Speedway for five years, this is the first time that it connected the partnership to a store-brand promotion.

Hardin said the initiative was a success, citing loyalty card data showing a 14% increase in transactions that had three or more Food Club items during the promotion.

3. Family Dollar Targets Employees

CHARLOTTE — As an employer of 45,000 people, discount chain Family Dollar Stores knows how valuable store associates can be in promoting brand awareness.

That’s why it targeted them in a promo supporting the launch of its new Family Gourmet edible grocery line.

It sent coupons for free boxes of Family Gourmet cookies to stores so that employees could try them. Soon after, it ran a contest to see which stores could sell the most. Those that did won cash prizes.

“The Family Gourmet brand is new, and we wanted to encourage our store team members to try the products,” said Mary Rachide, Family Dollar’s private-brand divisional vice president.

The contest started out as a 48-store test. Sales of the cookies increased so much that Family Dollar expanded it chainwide.

Store participation was high, and sales results were strong, according to Rachide.

Under another program, called “Taste of Family Dollar,” employees at the chain’s corporate office in Matthews, N.C., were served lunch made completely from store brands.

Such efforts are designed to position employees as brand champions, according to Rachide.

“We believe that our store team members are uniquely positioned to be in-store ambassadors for our brands,” said Rachide.

Its employees are some of its most loyal shoppers, and customers look to them for their advice about the products sold in its stores, said Rachide.

“If we can encourage our store team members to try our products and have good experiences with them, they will share those experiences with their families and friends, and be much more likely to proactively recommend them to other shoppers in our stores,” said Rachide.

4. Stock-Up Sale at Food Lion

SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion motivated shoppers to buy not just one, but dozens of store brands when it ran its private-brand “Super Sale” early last year.

Shoppers earned $10 in savings redeemable on a future trip when they stocked up on 40 of its Food Lion- or Home 360-brand products.

Those who bought less were also rewarded. Shoppers who had four items earned $1 in savings; six, $1.50; eight, $2; 10, $2.50; and 20, $5.

The purpose of the Private Brand Super Sale was to offer Food Lion and Bloom customers additional savings, drive brand awareness and invite potential new shoppers to try its private-brand products, said Food Lion spokeswoman Tenisha Waldo.

“In today’s economy, customers are looking for the best quality and value. By offering a financial incentive for shoppers, we were able to reward our loyal customers and put money back in their pockets,” said Waldo.

Meanwhile, Food Lion is on the leading edge when it comes to private-label mobile promotions. For instance, it ran a “Breakfast Club” mobile offer good for $1 off Food Lion-brand instant oatmeal.

The temporary offer was given to all those who texted “oatmeal” to 467467. Savings were automatically downloaded to shopper loyalty cards.

Separately, when Food Lion opened a new store in Wilmington, Del., the first 100 customers who entered the store received a free Food Lion reusable bag filled with private-label products.

Read the entire article and learn about the remaining six promotions.

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Christopher Durham

Vice President of Retail Brands at Theory House

Christopher Durham is the founder of My Private Brand and the VP of retail brands at Theory House, the branding and retail marketing agency. He is a consultant, strategist and retailer with close to 20 years of real-world retail and corporate experience creating, launching and building billion dollar Private Brands.

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