Jonathan Rushing Store: Edward's IGA Location: Rockingham, NC Department: Whole Store Difficulty: Easy Store Specs: 10,200 sq foot, $3 million annual sales
“Because we have seven competitors within a five-mile radius of our store, it is difficult to compete on price. On top of this, the economic situation in our area isn’t very good, so price is a big factor. We had to come up with some ideas to give ourselves a competitive edge and keep people coming into the store."
"Three years ago, we started a new program to give away $50 in groceries each week. For the giveaway, we set up a basic drawing system. We place a box by the cash registers with pieces of paper and a pen. You don’t have to purchase anything to enter. All you need is a phone number and a name. Every Saturday, we hold a drawing, which we capture on video and put up on Facebook."
"The popularity of this weekly drawing has succeeded in bringing in lots of people who have never been to the store before or may not have come in several years. Although they don’t always, they usually buy a few items while they are here. But, even more importantly, once they are in the store, we have a great opportunity to show them how well we treat our customers by asking them if they are finding everything okay and learning their names. The drawing gets them in the door, and our staff makes sure that they come back.”
3 Years running the promotion
$2,600 given away per year
15-20% increase in sales
WHY IT WORKS
For Our Shoppers
Chance to Win Free Groceries In a low economic area where people don’t have a lot of money, it is particularly important for our store to give back.
Thankful Customers Several people who have won the drawing have private messaged us and thanked us for doing the drawing because expenses can be really hard on people. The majority who entered can really use that money.
Friendly Shopping Experience Customers who had previously been shopping at a big box store because of the low prices really appreciate the personal touches and the customer service we offer at our store. A simple "hello" can make a big difference.
For Our Store
Grow Social Outreach The drawings have become so popular, we have people waiting for it online. In fact, there was one week that we had technical issues, and we received about 20 calls asking when the drawing was going to be broadcast.
Encourages Community Interaction Although we always call the winner to let him or her know that they can come claim their prize, more often than not, another customer has already tagged them in the post before we get the chance.
Sales Growth Being able to get more customers through the door has resulted in sales growth since we started offering the drawings.
It is free to enter the drawing; no purchase necessary.
Place a box near the cash registers at the front of the store so that it is highly visible both when somebody is checking out and when they first enter the store. Make sure that there is always a pen and paper handy so that you can get as many people as possible to enter.
A few minutes before the drawing, announce to the store that you are about to choose the winner. Then, ask a customer to select the name.
Film the drawing with a camera or smartphone and then upload it to Facebook. We don’t like to stream it live because we want to make sure that we don’t have any technical issues. Once, for example, we accidentally covered the mic while filming and there was no sound. Because we weren’t live, we had the chance to correct the issue.
Call the winner and provide instructions for claiming the gift certificate. We also post the name of the winner in the next week’s ad.
Shake the box really well before drawing. I have seen people put their name in several times. While we don’t want to put a limit on it, we do want to make it as fair as possible.
Throughout the year, we make some drawings extra special. For example, on Thanksgiving we also give away a free turkey and on Easter we give away a ham. This helps us spread the word even more.
Use the drawing location to promote current sales. For example, if we have a big sale on produce, we will host the drawing in the produce section, so people can see the signage for the sales in the background of the video.
Put reasonable limitations on the gift card. For our customers, you have one week to use the gift card and all $50 must be spent in one trip.
Have a best practice of your own? We want to hear it!