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Study: Grocery retailers missing out by not keeping up with social media


San Antonio -- The grocery industry, for the most part, lags in using online shopper insights for shopper and competitive advantage, according to a study developed in partnership with BeaconUnited, a national grocery broker, and ArchPoint Consulting, and powered by business intelligence firm Black Pearl Intelligence. Grocery-related social media conversations are now estimated at 10 million annually, yet many grocers are still slow to respond, the study found.

“Consumers can benefit as more grocers, brokers and manufacturers proactively engage customers online,” said Jesse Edelman, chief marketing officer, BeaconUnited. “The key is giving the industry resources to access, understand and proactively respond to the rich social media insights.”

The study, Grocery Study: Social Media as a Competitive Advantage, identifies digital data opportunities to drive sales for retailers or manufacturers and reveal real-time emerging trends on a national, regional and local level — or geo-focusing. The study reveals how vocal customers are in sharing what they love, hate and have gotten at a bargain at grocery stores.

The study identified a few grocery chains that are already social media conversation influencers. Using the social media Klout score, a measurement of influence on a zero to 100-point scale based on ability to drive action in social networks, the category leader was Whole Foods Market, with a Klout score of 86. Kroger has a score of 49. Publix has a Klout score of 53. Leading regional grocery chains, like Meijer and H-E-B and many others, have Klout scores of 0.

In the study, one customer’s bad review of kitty litter received 89 hits. With 89 other individuals engaged in a conversation about kitty litter, potential for negative product reviews increased significantly. Such intelligence provides manufacturers with priceless insights into how to improve the product and alerts the grocer to respond.

“Responding proactively to customer social media comments is not an option anymore for the grocery industry. It’s an imperative,” Edelman said.

The study identifies opportunities for the grocery category to use digital data with customized dashboards and to model and geo-focus on emerging trends at either the national, regional and local level.

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