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5 Predictions for 2010

by Ryan Joy — December 31, 2009

Two of my favorite things about late December are the year-end lists and the predictions for the upcoming year. It’s December 31, and we couldn’t resist giving you our “Top 5 List” of marketing predictions for supermarkets in 2010.

  1. Value shoppers are here to stay.If there is one long-term lesson retailers should take from 2009, it is the importance of a strong value positioning strategy. Value shouldn’t be the central focus of most brands, but it needs to play a part in any supermarket’s overall strategy. Retailers who have maintained a well-crafted value message through the years reaped the rewards during this economic downturn. Stores that neglected this part of their positioning strategy are now working hard to convince customers of their low prices, as they should. There are a lot more coupon clippers and ad shoppers than there were two years ago, and the new frugality is here to stay. Like generations before them, consumers have been changed by this difficult time, and will remember these lessons throughout a lifetime.
  2. Digital signage will become a mainstream marketing solution.Since hardware prices have dropped, the return on investment that digital signage provides makes it a no-brainer for most supermarkets. Digital signage will continue to spread as retailers find proven providers, run pilot programs, and discover the benefits.
  3. Social media will be adopted by most brands, to mixed results.Facebook users grew from 150 million to 350 million this past year, and the average age is now slightly over 50. Users now expect to interact with their favorite brands on fan pages. Successful media strategies will transition from one-way websites to an emphasis on interacting. They will focus on authentic, inventive ways to listen to and have fun with customers. Unsuccessful strategies will feature one-way communication on quickly created Facebook and Twitter pages. These will be the companies who say in 2011, “We tried social media, but there’s just no ROI.”
  4. Private labels will continue to evolve into fully realized brands.Considering the current state of the economy, an increase in private label sales is no surprise; what’s unexpected is the transition of many private label products into true brands. This new crop of private labels maintains the private label value perception, and has personal meaning to customers in a way that generic store brands never could. Brands like Target’s “Archer Farms”, Safeway’s “Eating Right” and “O” (and most of the products on the shelves of Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy) connect to a customer’s lifestyle, and own a strong quality perception. Look for more stores to focus on the development of their private labels in 2010.
  5. Stores with strong brands continue to dominate the market.This is cheating, since strong brands have always dominated the market, but it’s a valuable reminder. The recent economic strain has already eliminated many stores with weak brands, and solidified the hold of those stores who have invested in their brands. The market leaders will be those with a unique identity, who relate to customers emotionally and make a compelling, rational argument for shopping at their store.

If you’re interested in help with your value positioning, digital signage, social media strategy, private label, or brand development, let us know.

Wishing you a prosperous year in 2010!

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