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By Joel M. Albrizio, President

"Age Based Marketing Philosophies"

An interesting conversation is taking place across retail America. In supermarket meeting rooms the debate continues on how the customer age affects how the retailer might reach the customer or better yet the potential customer.

Every food retailer today understands there is a customer acquisition cost. This is to be expected in acquiring increased customer counts and basket size. How will the retailer get the best return on the marketing investment?

That single decision and its marketing implementation has become the latest debate. The retailer must make the right choices if they expect to drive growth for a sustainable enterprise through its marketing platform.

Stop & Shop a division of Ahold has held steadfast to its printed ad 

Its 100% A.D.I. circulation is used to hammer home its own version of the high low retail. While employing some broadcast media Stop & Shop must believe its vendors and shopper still find the printed circular the most comfortable/familiar vehicle to hold its weekly sale item discussion.

Whole Foods by contrast has a Twitter feeds

Into each retail location Whole Foods chooses to hold a digital discussion ongoing with its customer base in hopes of attracting the more digitally oriented customer.

Whole Foods also employs retail P.O.P. employees in it's locations to best further entice its huge customer base as they shop the store in hopes of larger basket sizes.

Trader Joe's capitalizes on some digital but offers the customer a unique in store shopping experience.

Trader Joe's relies on developing a following different from any other looking for trusted products endorsed by Trader Joe's and their products very unique existence on the shelves.

The truth is there is no absolute advertising or marketing vehicle

To satisfy both the vendor community and this evolving customer base while monitoring customer acquisition costs each retailer must find it's own way with its marketing strategy.

We live in a time where almost every retail location of any shape and size, regardless of its primary retail motivation to shop sells food.

Everyone sells food either consumed immediately or almost anything imaginable to take hame and prepare. Add to that casual dining in every ethnicity that has taken over anywhere we go.

Based on that we believe Stop & Shops concept of 100% distribution makes sense while employing a balanced digital platform. While every retailer must invite its present customer every week with its specials the younger shopper enjoys digital.

Whether on the train, in the gym or at your own dinner table with anyone 40 and under most information is available digitally, on a seconds notice. That said, the younger shopper in his or her 30-50 age range with a family is migrating to digital more and more.

Anything from over orders to in store specials can be made available immediately and drive sales in minutes.

We all need to recognize the digital information age is here to stay.

Our best advice to to employ a scalable yet affordable digital platform placed just in front of a generation who will never read the newspaper and watch the magic over the next few years.

Thanks for all of the positive response, Joel