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Elevating The Supermarket Experience With In-Store Media

Elevating the Supermarket Experience with In-Store Media

Earning customer loyalty and bringing customers back to your location every week is no simple feat, especially in today’s hyper-competitive grocery industry. As if an oversaturated marketplace wasn’t enough of a challenge, today’s grocers are also forced to fulfill the ever-growing demand for online and omnichannel shopping, curbside pickup and delivery, as well as providing a safe environment for shoppers.

For decades the recipe for lasting customer loyalty included four simple ingredients:

  • Great prices
  • Strong inventory/low OOS
  • Consistent quality
  • Attentive customer service

Today, those ingredients alone will make for a relatively bland loaf of bread, so to speak. The game has changed drastically in the past decade, and your customers expect something more than a pleasant greeting and great deals. And while having a clean, open and inviting store was once one of the highest objectives, today those qualities are merely an essential starting point of an experience that brings customers back.


A Multi-Sensory Experience Matters, Now More Than Ever

To reach a higher level of loyalty and win over today’s shoppers, you need to begin engaging them on an emotional, multi-sensory level and appeal to their preferences for in-store experiences. For example, if we know that appealing to the sense of taste with trendy elements such as larger food courts and wine bars is an effective way to bring customers back, then what other senses can we engage to achieve this same objective? The answer: all of them.

That’s where in-store media solutions come into the picture, and effective and strategic use of them can be instrumental in laying the roots for lasting brand loyalty. When you play the music they love and captivate them with digital signage, for example – that’s when today’s customers feel like your store is their kind of place. When you use the right scents in the right places, you help trigger positive memories and create new ones that your customers will associate with your brand experience. When you use these elements to make shopping feel like less of a chore and more of a fun way for a couple to spend an hour or so together, that’s when customers start referring to your stores as “where we shop.”

In this article, we’ll break down how you can properly leverage in-store media to inspire that necessary level of customer loyalty – and transform your store into “their store.”


#1: Play the Right Music.

Music has always been – and always will be – an essential element of the shopping experience. For years the common practice in this industry has been to play something relatively neutral, such as Pop or Orchestral, depending on the type of ambiance you’re aiming to create. However, music means more to today’s clientele than ever before, and generic programming isn’t going to do much to engage your shoppers or differentiate your business.

On the other hand, playing a custom program – or programs – is the ticket to connecting with your unique clientele on a deeper emotional level, while providing a sound that they won’t hear at any other business. When you work with an experienced custom music designer, they’ll take the time to learn about your brand, your core values and the type of experience you want to create. They’ll also want to know specifics about the lifestyle and demographics of your target clientele. These are the factors that will enable the designer to curate a truly branded program that your shoppers will love – and talk about.

Steer clear of consumer-based streaming platforms that leverage algorithms to generate your programming. Algorithms may seem smart, but they can’t provide the level of customization and nuance that will enable you to give your shoppers a true sense of belonging. Additionally, the music that these B2C platforms provide is not commercially licensed for business use, which means you can’t legally use them. If caught, fines can be quite staggering and detrimental to your business.

#2: Drive Results With Digital Signage.

It’s a fact that humans are visual by nature. That’s why more and more leading grocery brands are leveraging various types of digital signage to enhance the shopping experience, improve efficiency and drive huge sales results. For example, Mood conducted a 60-day case study at an Earth Fare location in Charlotte, NC, during which they saw a 10% increase in “Eat In” food sales after adding Mood’s digital signage solutions to their café.

The typical supermarket offers endless applications for digital signage, including:

  • Full-service departments
  • Customer service (e.g., interactive kiosks)
  • Café & food service (e.g., digital signage, menu boards and short-form TV)
  • Dairy, frozen food and other perishable departments
  • Foyer and entrance areas

Additionally, center store is also prime real estate for digital signage, thanks to a revolutionary new application called Smart Digital Shelving. Digital shelving can drive outstanding results in the aisles and on endcaps and wings, enabling you to promote products more effectively than with traditional shelf talkers.

Digital signage also empowers you to ensure your customers are fully aware of all safety measures in place throughout your grocery store, giving you the ability to update communications and regulations quickly and effectively as they continue to change.

Finally, digital signage is also an outstanding tool in break rooms or back-of-house warehouse areas for employee engagement, recognition and training. You can provide safety tips, post job listings, display training videos and much more. Of course, one of the most attractive benefits of digital signage for marketers is that you can update it automatically when it’s backed by a web-based content management system. From that single benefit, you’ll also be able to reduce your reliance on traditional static signage, which in turn means lower print costs.

Keep in mind that while digital signage is still relatively new to the grocery industry, it’s no longer a trend to the rest of the world. Your customers expect to see it at the businesses they visit– and your business is no exception. Digital signage is an absolute must for any supermarket looking to take the next steps forward in their effort to captivate their customers, drive sales and improve efficiencies.

To learn more about implementing digital signage at scale, read Digital Signage for National & Global Brands. This comprehensive guide explores the essentials you’ll need to know for developing and implementing an effective digital signage strategy across your organization.

#3: Get the Messaging Right.

Even with the rise of digital signage and the ever-changing nature of the in-store experience, on-hold and overhead messaging remain highly effective tools for enhancing the shopping experience and driving sales. Leaving callers on-hold in silence is deadly – and asking employees to manually record on-hold messages and make live overhead announcements over the PA system is not an effective or consistent approach. At a minimum, your messaging should:

  • Have a professional voice that sounds like your brand
  • Welcome shoppers
  • Highlight specials
  • Smoothly transition in and out of music
  • Provide up-to-date, useful and relevant information for callers
  • Drive traffic to specific areas of the store, e.g. deli, seafood counter promotions, etc.

Implementing informative and reassuring in-store audio messaging can also help ease the transition back into your grocery store, guiding customers and providing an overall enjoyable experience to those who are perhaps still wary of returning in-stores.

While you want a consistent voice and some consistent core messages, having localized, store specific messaging is also recommended to create an even more personalized, local experience. We recommend working with a professional messaging provider to ensure that your messaging solutions fulfill these requirements.


#4: Leverage Scent Marketing.

The power of scent in a grocery store is undeniable. For the most part, the scents we perceive while shopping are those that occur naturally (e.g., the aroma of baked bread or freshly brewed coffee). However, you can also supplement your organic approach to scent marketing with a Scent Diffusion system to further enhance the shopping experience, promote additional products and drive more traffic to specific departments.

For example, you can incorporate a subtle aroma of hickory smoke near the entrance to the store if you want to drive traffic to the meat department or the food court area. Or you can enhance the smell of freshly baked cookies to boost your bakery sales. Pair these scents with promotional digital signage near the entrance as well and you’ll be cooking up some solid numbers.

Additionally, you’ll also want to leverage scent marketing to keep the restrooms smelling fresh between cleanings. The additional touch will go a long way to making a great impression on your customers. Learn more about the many possibilities and potential of Scent Marketing to create an even more memorable sensory experience.


#5: Don’t Cut Corners on AV Systems.

AV Systems may seem utilitarian, but it’s not ideal to cut corners on these components. Commercial-grade speakers and screens are essential for ensuring that your Music, Messaging, Digital Signage and paging system are effective.

Speaking specifically of screens, remember that the consumer-grade screens you use at home aren’t designed for use in business environments. They’re not made to run for 12-15 consecutive hours a day and they don’t have structural casing in place to withstand the excessive dust and high temperatures that exist in a grocery store. On the other hand, commercial-grade screens are designed to run all day, and they have protective casing that blocks grease and dust. They also come with robust warranties that you don’t get with consumer products.

We recommend working with a professional AV provider that also offers local service and installation. In the event that a speaker or screen goes down, you want to have the peace of mind of knowing that you can have such issues resolved in a timely fashion.


In closing, don’t think of your media solutions as separate tools on parallel paths. Make sure that they’re integrated, aligned and working together towards similar objectives – boosting sales, improving efficiencies and elevating the shopping experience to drive greater customer loyalty.

To learn more about elevating the experience at your stores, contact us today. We help dozens of leading grocery brands across the globe enhance the shopping experience and generate lasting customer loyalty– and we have the expertise and affordable solutions to help you do the same.


Contact us today and elevate the customer experience at your business.


Contact us today and elevate the customer experience at your business.

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