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By Joel Albrizio, President, Adlife Marketing & Communications

How will communication in the future look? Lets take a look at Kroger today.

"Kroger Is Digital Communication Personified & Perhaps Almost On Steroids"

Kroger while communicating quietly has invited you, the customer to engage with Kroger digitally thought every aspect of touch. When we say touch we refer to touching the customer. Great customer communication is all about the amount of touches.

Whether Kroger invites you to use the Community Rewards Card, inviting you to give and share with the community or any communication with any department Kroger invites the customer to e-mail.

Need assistance, E-mail us your comments. Kroger rewards, sign in with your e-mail address. Workplace flu vaccinations, e-mail us. Community rewards distribution? Email us with your customer number to open the conversation.

Guess What...Kroger Wants Your E-mail...All Of You & All Of Your E-mails!

So whats the big deal? Really nothing if your Kroger, Shop Rite, Publix or Albertsons. However, what happens if you're an independent or mid sized chain and a step or two behind on your e-mail collection. What happens if you rely on the customer to sign up for programs in store as we all have for so many years?

"Without Proprietary Customer Retail Food E-mail Lists You're Dead"

To the consumer, rather quietly the chains are building proprietary e-mail lists. These lists are not only opted into voluntarily they have become your means of communication with your favorite chain store. Every day digitally, the retailer speaks to us and we reply.

Slipping in here and there, ideas, specials, programs, conveniences, the chain is evolving toward a predictable "North Star" of digital distribution of the weekly ad. So here is the dilemma for those a half step behind. Whenever your competition, the more astute retailer, decides to move quickly to e-mail as a means of pure merchandising/weekly ad communication you're dead.

Without groups of weekly printed ads there is no shared mail. There is no circular package in the newspaper. The chain competitor who is one step ahead of others will have sent the weekly ad out digitally and to your customer.

The concept behind shared mail or newspaper distribution is a group of weekly retailers, depending primarily on supermarket retailers, distributing their circulars on the same day every week to drive a lower cost of distribution per retail location.

"Even Worse, The Competition Has Your Specials In Advance Of The Ad Release"

Thats right, with the ability to change the ad online with a moments notice the more advanced or astute retailer can now see your ad in print before they have released their digital version. Now you have centered your merchandising conversation in print with an average older shopper with a smaller basket size while the competition has attracted the millennial with a larger basket size and GUESS WHAT?

"That Older Shopper Is Quite Likely Digital As Well"

As we walk the supermarkets today the most often heard complaint from retailers is... "My Shopper Keeps Getting Older" OK then, lets jump aboard and communicate to all of our potential shoppers often, digitally and ask them to do the same to open that line of communication both ways.

Don't get caught with limited access to circular distribution or the inability to attract the younger, larger basket size. Successful marketing is all about balance. It is about taking the discussion to the masses, not to just a few in print. When you tell us your not really digital and your shopper isn't a digital customer keep in mind where you read this article.

If you read online so does your customer. Our suggestion to you as a retailer...give your customer or potential customer the opportunity to hear from you digitally. Customers today don't go looking for retailers....retailers go looking for customers!

Many have asked why I choose to write about what I see in the supermarket industry today and my ideas. At PreparedFoodPhotos.com & Adlife we believe great ideas and the resulting branding will give new life and direction to any company. So for that reason we chose to open the discussion.

Yes, I understand I probably misspelled something or butchered the English language is a few places, the goal however was to open your minds to new ideas.

Joel Albrizio, President PreparedFoodPhotos.com & Adlife

Follow Me On Twitter @joelalbrizio or right here on LinkedIn!

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