Food retailers are hoping to increase their sales volume of locally sourced goods. This strategy can improve customer loyalty as the stores tap into the growing desire to ‘eat local’. However, marketers will need to carefully craft their messages to gain creditability with shoppers.
One surprising detail from the new A.T. Kearney study on local foods is that 70% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for local food than organic food. Nearly 1/3 of shoppers also say that they’ll take their business elsewhere if their favorite grocery store doesn’t carry local foods. This commitment to buying local extends across all income groups though shoppers who earn less also buy less.
Consumers have been paying attention to the media focus on food sourcing and tell researchers their interest in local is all about:
- Helping the local economy 66%
- Contributing to sustainability 68%
- Eating healthier 45%
Retailers can address these concerns in their marketing messages, but they face a bigger issue — trust. These marketers may define local sources as being within a 400-mile radius while the consumer is likely to think that buying local means supporting the farmer who lives 20 miles away. And, on a national scale, large retailers must also grapple with the reality that stores in specific regions will carry unique products. As a result, their marketing messages will require some customization to the local region. To connect with shoppers, the stores much communicate what they are selling, where it’s from and promote the benefits of these products.
Done right, this strategy could increase sales and loyalty.[Source: Harper, Roseanne. Shoppers Loyal to Local. Supermarketnews.com. 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013]