Retailers — It’s Time to Get Creative With Loss Leaders

Loss leaders have been the bread-and-butter (so to speak) of grocery retail marketing. But frequently the items that make the loss leader list are standard mundane staples: eggs, milk, chicken breasts…. The idea is to get people coming back over and over for bargains on the food they buy most. The problem is that many retailers have gotten kind of stuck in their thinking about loss leaders and haven’t kept up with the myriad changes and increased competition when it comes to what brings shoppers in. Now might be time to do something new and out of the box to attract new customers—especially Millennial customers (just ask Tony Stallone about his berries and avocados theory). If you want to set yourself apart you need to start getting creative with your loss leaders.

Luring the Health Conscious

There are many directions to go with loss leaders but one promising strategy is to focus on the growing trend toward somewhat exotic approaches to better health. So if you’re still scooping up the chicken leg crowd, your competitors might be getting the folks who are willing to buy all kinds of new products in the name of health.

For example, for 2018, the hottest food craze is expected to be fermented foods, among them, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. The benefit of fermented foods is that they help create diverse bacteria in your gut that produces all kinds of health benefits. You don’t even really have to market them very aggressively since all the talk shows and magazines are doing the marketing for you. You just have to become the place to go to find foods consumers are already looking for.

In addition to fermented foods, many people are looking for deals on those foods touted as “Super Foods” including strawberries, avocados, avocado oil, mushrooms, along with hemp, chia, and ashwanga.

In fact, research shows that the market for so-called Super Foods is slated to grow more than 15 percent between 2018 and 2022.

So while there’s still a market for the staples, if you’re looking to attract a new crowd—especially among younger people—offering great discounts on the foods people are trying to find may make you the go-to retailer for shoppers who are looking for healthy foods but aren’t necessarily ready to go wholesale to healthfood oriented retail establishments.

Signature Loss Leaders

Offering unique loss leaders is most effective, though, if you can keep it up week after week to keep those new and health-conscious customers coming back. Sprouts, for example, offers vegetables of the week, which encourages the epicurious. Using your store’s app to push recipes featuring that week’s loss leader gives that much more power to your efforts.

And if you do use staples like eggs as your loss leader, try to make that special too. Think about it: everybody has eggs. ALDI has really, really cheap eggs. So your loss leader eggs should be unique—brown eggs or cage-free organic eggs or cruelty-free eggs.

As retailers know better than anyone, consumers eat differently these days. Being the place that makes that easy and inexpensive is a key step to building consumer loyalty.

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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.