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Helping Shoppers When it Comes to "Substitutability"

Author: Steve Bishop

The Independent View

Steve Bishop

Helping Shoppers When it Comes to "Substitutability"  

 November 29, 2012 


I was talking with Brian Todd of The Food Institute recently about the fact that people are literally spending less on food these days when we came to the idea of "substitutability." As in: food is a very substitutable product. When times get tough—or prices rise—people can substitute beans for meat, store brands for name brands, a product on sale for one that isn't, or buy bulk goods instead of packaged goods. They might even shift spending to a "cheaper" store. No doubt about it, there's a high degree of "substitutability" in food purchasing.

This got us to wondering how retailers might be able to use technology to help shoppers make the substitutions they need. A few things came to mind related to IGA retailers, who have some of the best web-based technology out there through the IGALink digital media platform. So, IGA retailers, consider these ideas:

  • Tout your IGA Exclusive Brand line. Your IGA Exclusive Brand line is a great draw for value and quality-conscious shoppers alike, so don't forget to advertise IGA Brand on your website. Make sure a good sampling of IGA Exclusive Brand products get in your ad each week, then post that ad to your site. You can draw extra attention on your website homepage by using IGA Exclusive Brand product images in your IGALink "gliders" or using premade gliders from the Alliance site.

  • Use your website to feature "everyday low prices." Don't limit your web advertising to weekly specials—take advantage of this popular media to spread the word about your everyday low prices as well. It can be as simple as a list posted to your site, or with IGALink, you can work with Webstop to create an integrated page that links to other features like recipes and shopping list.

  • Let shoppers know about coupons. If you're using IGALink, you already have hundreds of print-at-home coupons from Coupons.com built into your site—but it's up to you to make sure shoppers know about them. Be sure coupons are mentioned in your print advertising, in-store signs and in your newsletters to shoppers.

With prices expected to rise next year due to the drought in the Midwest, now's a good time to start using technology to highlight value-conscious choices. It's true that you'll never beat Walmart on price, but what you can do is help your shoppers make smart substitutions that will keep them loyal to your store.


Steve Bishop

To read the full blog visit http://www.brickmeetsclick.com/food-prices--substitutability--and-shoppers.